Pistorius walks on stumps ahead of murder sentencing

first_imgA sobbing Oscar Pistorius walked hesitantly on his stumps around court Wednesday in a dramatic demonstration of his disability ahead of his sentencing for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.Wearing shorts, the double-amputee removed his prosthetic limbs at the request of his lawyer Barry Roux as he made a final plea for Pistorius, who faces 15 years in jail.The Paralympic athlete held onto wooden benches for support as he hobbled in front of the judge, and appeared in distress as a cushion was provided for him to rest on.Roux and state lawyer Gerrie Nel set out their concluding arguments at the High Court in Pretoria, three years after Steenkamp’s death.#Pistorius walking w/out prosthetic legs to garner sympathy+show vulnerability.Wasn’t vulnerable with gun in hand killing #Reeva w/out legs.— Adam P (@adampogonowski) June 15, 2016Pistorius, 29, shot his girlfriend in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013, claiming he mistook her for a burglar when he fired four times through the door of his bedroom toilet.“It is three o’clock in the morning, it is dark, he is on his stumps,” Roux said, stressing his client’s vulnerability.“His balance is seriously compromised and… he would not be able to defend himself. He was anxious, he was frightened.“His perception that he and the deceased were in danger was fortified by finding the open bathroom window. He believed the person in the toilet was an intruder and deceased was at the time in the bed,” Roux said.In March, the Supreme Court of Appeal found Pistorius guilty of murder — irrespective of who was behind the door when he opened fire with a pistol he kept under his bed.The standard jail term for murder in South Africa is 15 years, but Pistorius’s sentence may be reduced due to the year he has already spent in prison and mitigating factors, including his disability.Murder convictionRoux urged judge Thokozile Masipa to “entertain the correct facts and not to be drowned by the many perceptions” whirling around the case that attracted years of intense public scrutiny.“The accused has lost everything. He can never ever resume his career,” Roux said. Pistorius labours to walk on stumps in court during his sentence hearing. Photo via @Reuters “He lost his future… he has paid physically, he is the shadow of the man he was. He is a broken man, he has paid financially, he has paid socially. He is paying constantly.”State lawyer Gerrie Nel started his arguments to push for a severe penalty.“He knew there was someone behind the door,” he said.“Using a lethal weapon, a loaded firearm, the accused fired not one but four shots to the toilet door,” Nel said. “He failed to provide any acceptable version for his conduct.”Pistorius was originally convicted of culpable homicide — the equivalent of manslaughter — until the appeal court upgraded his crime to murder.Judge Masipa, who gave the original verdict, is due to hand down a new sentence for murder after final arguments are completed.Thursday is a national holiday in South Africa, and the sentence could be given on Friday — with Pistorius facing an immediate return to jail.Earlier, Kim Martin, Reeva Steenkamp’s cousin, gave the last state evidence in the hearing.“I never ever heard him say that ‘I apologise for shooting, murdering Reeva behind that door’,” she told the court.“We just wanted the truth.”She added that she was uncertain whether Pistorius and Steenkamp were in a truly loving relationship.Barry Steenkamp, 73,  Reeva’s father, had broken down in court on Tuesday as he said Pistorius must “pay for his crime” of shooting Reeva, 29, a model and law graduate.Pistorius was released from jail last October to live under house arrest at his uncle’s mansion in Pretoria after serving one year of his five-year sentence for culpable homicide.He has always denied killing Steenkamp in a rage and, during his seven-month trial in 2014, vomited in the dock as details of his lover’s death were examined in excruciating detail.The year before he killed Steenkamp, Pistorius became the first double-amputee to race at Olympic level when he appeared at the London 2012 games.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Steelers vs. Bengals Recap: Don’t play the ‘if’ game

first_imgRunning back Le’Veon Bell (26) runs towards Cincinnati Bengals strong safety George Iloka (43) in the third quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)After the Steelers manhandled the Bengals on Sunday Night, many were left wondering what could have been. What if the Steelers had played this well all year? What if Pouncey and Foote and others hadn’t been hurt? What if they didn’t start 0-4?Well, those are all the wrong questions to ponder, there are no if’s and re do’s in the world.  The reality of the situation is this, none of those things occurred this year and the team is in the situation they’re in because they didn’t have a backup plan for the “if’s”.The black and gold looked great on Sunday Night, they looked like the team trying to clinch a playoff spot and not a team desperately clinging to their lives. The exposition that Big Ben and Antonio Brown put on was one that proves those two are the best players this team has, without them they’d be vying for the number one pick.On the defensive side of the ball, players like Jason Worilds and Lawrence Timmons stepped up to the plate and were impactful in determining the outcome of the football game. They showed they can be the two centerpieces of the defense moving into 2014 and beyond (if the team can re up Worilds).This game was about pride, it was about seeing who has the competitive fires burning inside them to win a largely meaningless game.  This was an audition for the guys wearing the black and gold to see who was worth keeping next year and who the team should part ways with.It was all of those things but the one thing it was not was the display of a team that should be looked at as a contender who had things go wrong because this or that happened or a team that should be looked at in the ‘what if’ mode.They are what they are; a 6-8 ball club after that win.  They’re a team in the middle of the pack. Middle of the pack teams can on occasion beat good teams but will also lose to the bad ones (see the Oakland, Minnesota and Tennessee games).  Middle of the pack teams play inconsistently, see the Dolphins game just last week and the turnaround the team had this week.  Or just look at the 0-4 start, to winning five of seven to now being 6-8.This team has its flaws this season and that’s ok. All teams go through a rebuild, the failure often comes when a team can’t form an identity and recognize who they really are. That’s what struck this team this year.While they thought they were still a contender this year, they decided to move forward with some aging, overpriced veterans. They should have cut ties with more of the older guys and implemented playing time for the younger generation to gain experience.   The front office refused to accept or believe this team needed a rebuild but classified it as a transition.  In essence they put everything back a year. What should have happened this year will need to happen next.The game last night should be looked upon fondly as it was a great win for the black and gold and very well could have been the final big game several of the old school veterans have together in a Steeler uniform. Just don’t look at it as ‘what if’, look at it as ‘what is’.Mike Pelaia hosts the website Steel Nation Association www.steelnationassociation.com- Covering the Steelers and helping Children’s Hospital All Day Everyday. You can e-mail him at [email protected]last_img read more