News / Africa

    Anesthetist, Social Worker Testify in Pistorius Murder Trial

    South African Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock during his murder trial in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa,  May 8, 2014.
    South African Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock during his murder trial in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, May 8, 2014.

    Multimedia

    VOA News
    Oscar Pistorius' defense team called an anesthetist to testify at the double-amputee runner's murder trial on Thursday, and, later, a social worker assigned to Pistorius’ case described him as heartbroken over the shooting.

    Professor Aina Christina Lundgren was called in an attempt to counter prosecution claims that Pistorius is lying about the timeline of events on the night he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

    Lundgren was questioned on her expertise regarding how long it takes a person to digest food after eating.

    The testimony relates to an autopsy report on Steenkamp's body that said she still had food in her stomach after she was killed by Pistorius, leading prosecutors to challenge his story that the couple last ate around eight hours before he shot her through a toilet door.

    Food digestion

    An expert testifying for the prosecution said a person's stomach is normally empty of food six hours after eating and claimed Steenkamp ate much later on the night of the killing and not in line with Pistorius' story.

    Prosecutors say that's because the couple were up arguing late into the night before Pistorius shot Steenkamp multiple times in the midst of a heated fight through a toilet stall door in his bathroom.

    Lundgren, who described herself as a specialist anesthetist, testified that there were a number of factors that could have delayed the digestion process in Steenkamp to explain the food found in her stomach, including that she was a pre-menopausal woman and had been sleeping.

    Pistorius has denied the murder charge, saying he killed Steenkamp by mistake on Feb. 14, 2013, thinking she was an intruder when he shot her multiple times.

    Also testifying Thursday, Yvette Schalkwyk, who has been visiting Pistorius since Steenkamp's death, dismissed suggestions that Pistorius, who has broken down repeatedly in court, was using his emotions to deflect tough questioning.

    "I was very upset when I read that people were saying that Oscar took acting lessons," she told the Pretoria High Court. "I wanted to come and give my observation of what I saw."

    Schalkwyk said Pistorius, 27, had told her he missed Steenkamp, 29, a law graduate and model, a great deal and was crying "80 percent of the time.”

    Steenkamp died almost instantly after being hit by four hollow-point 9mm rounds fired through a toilet door.

    Pistorius says it was a tragic mistake after he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder who had broken into his luxury Pretoria home. The state alleges that he shot her in a fit of rage after the couple had an argument.

    Testimony found relevant

    Prosecutor Gerrie Nel criticized Schalkwyk's evidence as irrelevant, but judge Thokozile Masipa said her views were valid, especially because Nel had accused the athlete of breaking down whenever he came under pressure on the witness stand.

    If convicted of murder, Pistorius faces life in prison.

    The trial, which has been running since early March, has drawn huge interest internationally and in South Africa, where it has been broadcast live on a dedicated cable television channel.

    Before the shooting, Pistorius, who had his lower legs amputated as a baby, was one of the most recognized names in athletics, competing against able-bodied sprinters on carbon-fibre prosthetics.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora