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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid