Police offer confused testimony in Pistorius case

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 20, 2013 at 10:38 am •  Published: February 20, 2013
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Nel projected a plan of the bedroom and bathroom in the courtroom and argued that Pistorius had to walk past his bed to get to the bathroom and could not have done so without realizing that Steenkamp was not in the bed.

"There's no other way of getting there," Nel said.

Botha said the trajectory of the bullets showed the gun was fired pointed down and from a height. This seems to conflict with Pistorius' statement Tuesday, because the athlete said that he did not have on his prosthetics and on his stumps and feeling vulnerable because he was in a low position when he opened fired.

Officers also found .38-caliber pistol rounds in a safe, which Botha said Pistorius owned illegally and for which he said the athlete would be charged with a crime. However, Botha also acknowledged investigators didn't take photographs of the ammunition and let Pistorius' supporters at the crime scene take them away.

Botha said the holster for the 9 mm pistol was found under the left side of the bed, the side on which Steenkamp slept. He also implied it would have been impossible for Pistorius to get the gun without checking to see if Steenkamp was there. Roux later argued that Pistorius had suffered an injury to his right shoulder and wore a "medical patch" the night of the killing which forced him to sleep on the left side of the bed.

Steenkamp was shot in the head over her right ear and in her right elbow and hip, breaking her arm and hip, Botha said. However, Roux later asked Botha if Steenkamp's body showed "any pattern of defensive wounds." The detective said no.

Botha also said the shots were fired from 1.5 meters (five feet), and that police found three spent cartridges in the bathroom and one in the hallway connecting the bathroom to the bedroom. However, later on cross-examination by the defense, Botha said he wasn't a forensics expert and couldn't answer some questions.

Police also found two iPhones in the bathroom and two BlackBerrys in the bedroom, Botha said, adding that none had been used to phone for help. Roux later suggested that a fifth phone, not collected by the police, was used by Pistorius to make calls for a hospital and help. After the hearing, Roux told journalists that Pistorius' defense team had the phone, but did not elaborate.

Guards at the gated community where Pistorius lives did call the athlete, Botha said. The detective said that all the athlete said was: "I'm all right."

He didn't hang up, Botha said, and the guards heard him uncontrollably weep.

"Was it part of his premeditated plan, not to switch off the phone and cry?" Roux asked sarcastically.

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Gerald Imray reported from Johannesburg. Associated Press writer Michelle Faul in Johannesburg contributed to this report.

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Jon Gambrell can be reached at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP. Gerald Imray can be reached at www.twitter.com/geraldimrayAP.

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