Oscar Pistorius Indicted for Murder of Girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp ~ Devon Maylie, Speakeasy, WSJ.
PRETORIA – Oscar Pistorius stood in the middle of the courtroom holding back tears. Behind him to his right, family members sat with their arms wrapped around each other — every now and then breaking into impromptu prayer sessions. To his back left, the best friends of his slain girlfriend,Reeva Steenkamp, sat teary eyed.
Neither side spoke to one another. Although physically separated by only a foot-wide aisle, the distance between the two camps appeared much wider.
Mr. Pistorius, nicknamed the “Blade Runner” for his carbon fiber prosthesis, will return to court next March (2014) to face the charge of premeditated murder for the killing of Ms. Steenkamp. On Monday, the state submitted its indictment sheet—but he wasn’t formally charged.
Monday would have been Ms. Steenkamp’s 30th birthday.
The Myers family, close friends of the blonde fashion model and paralegal Ms. Steenkamp, made sure those in attendance didn’t forget the woman at the center of the case. As the Pistorius family filed out of court, the Myers family lawyer read out a statement.
“Not a day has gone by that anyone who ever came into contact with Reeva Steenkamp hasn’t thought about her,” the Myers family said. Instead of celebrating her birthday, they said, the day “will now mark a court appearance relating to her untimely passing six months ago.”
Little was said during the 10 minute court appearance. Judge Desmond Nair asked how the athlete was doing.
“I’m OK under the circumstances, your honor,” Mr. Pistorius replied in a hushed voice absent of all the confidence he once exuded on the track. The Olympic and Paralympic athlete Monday looked tired, less fit and – like many others in the courtroom — ready to cry. Mr. Pistorius sobbed through his first court appearance in February, after the Valentine’s Day shooting.
Ms. Steenkamp was killed by three of four bullets Mr. Pistorius fired through the bathroom door. Mr. Pistorius said at the time he believed a burglar was inside. The state said in its indictment sheet Monday that it has witnesses who heard a woman screaming, followed by the sound of gunshots.
The usual media crowds showed up for the latest chapter of the Pistorius saga, the unlikely story of how a 26-year old runner with no legs became famous and rich through sponsorship deals – and how it all came crashing down with the shooting of his girlfriend. Cameramen clamored on top of one another to push their lenses within a few inches of “Blade Runner’s” face.
But the frenzy had died down.
Six months ago, reporters elbowed their way past burly security guards for a coveted seat in the tiny Pretoria Magistrate Court courtroom C. Some came away with black eyes. On Monday, the courtroom was full, but no one had to fight for a space. Fewer international media flew in for the court appearance.
The Pistorius family said it’s eager to move forward – even if it’s toward a trial that will bring more intense media scrutiny. “We are grateful that a trial date has been set and that we can now start preparing for the court case,” his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said later in the day.
Meanwhile, Ms. Steenkamp’s closest friends gathered to remember her at the Meyers’ home in Johannesburg, opening a bottle of champagne in a quiet gathering, the family’s lawyer Ian Levitt said. He said Ms. Steenkamp had wanted to be in Las Vegas for her 30th birthday.
- Oscar Pistorius Formally Charged With Reeva Steenkamp Murder (marieclaire.co.uk)
- Oscar Pistorius due to be indicted over killing of Reeva Steenkamp (cnn.com)
- Oscar Pistorius’s brother Carl pays tribute to Reeva Steenkamp (sportsmole.co.uk)
- Oscar Pistorius in court to be charged with murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp (metro.co.uk)
- Oscar Pistorius arrives in South African court (news.yahoo.com)
- Pistorius indicted on charge of murdering girlfriend (cbssports.com)
- Oscar Pistorius indicted on murder charge for killing of girlfriend (globalnews.ca)
- Oscar Pistorius indicted on murder charge (timesleader.com)
- Oscar Pistorius arrives in South African court (kansascity.com)
- Oscar Pistorius arrives in South African court (sacbee.com)