"Blade Runner" or "Blade Gunner"?

By Dylan Mathwig

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Brief Background:

Oscar Pistorius is South America's golden boy and the symbol for young disabled athletes everywhere. Through the use of prosthetic legs, he became the first double legged amputee to race in the Olympic Games. In 2012, he began dating Reeva Steenkamp, an upcoming model and law student. The couple was the media's favorite in South Africa. The two seemed madly in love. After three months of dating, on Thursday, February 14th in 2013, Pistorius shot Reeva Steenkamp and shocked the world. The following statement was given by Pistorius at his first trial. The basis of the entire trial is based on the description of events provided by this testimony.

Oscar Pistorius Trial Testimony:

"By about 22h00 on 13 February 2013 we were in our bedroom. She was doing her yoga exercises and I was in bed watching television. My prosthetic legs were off. We were deeply in love and I could not be happier. I know she felt the same way. She had given me a present for Valentine's Day but asked me only to open it the next day.

After Reeva finished her yoga exercises she got into bed and we both fell asleep.

I am acutely aware of violent crime being committed by intruders entering homes with a view to commit crime, including violent crime. I have received death threats before. I have also been a victim of violence and of burglaries before. For that reason I kept my firearm, a 9mm Parabellum, underneath my bed when I went to bed at night. During the early morning hours of 14 February 2013, I woke up, went on to the balcony to bring the fan in and closed the sliding doors, the blinds and the curtains. I heard a noise in the bathroom and realized that someone was in the bathroom. I felt a sense of terror rushing over me. There are no burglar bars across the bathroom window and I knew that contractors who worked at my house had left the ladders outside. Although I did not have my prosthetic legs on I have mobility on my stumps. I believed that someone had entered my house. I was too scared to switch a light on. I grabbed my 9mm pistol from underneath my bed. On my way to the bathroom I screamed words to the effect for him/them to get out of my house and for Reeva to phone the police. It was pitch dark in the bedroom and I thought Reeva was in bed. I noticed that the bathroom window was open. I realized that the intruder/s was/were in the toilet because the toilet door was closed and I did not see anyone in the bathroom. I heard movement inside the toilet. The toilet is inside the bathroom and has a separate door. It filled me with horror and fear of an intruder or intruders being inside the toilet. I thought he or they must have entered through the unprotected window. As I did not have my prosthetic legs on and felt extremely vulnerable, I knew I had to protect Reeva and myself. I believed that when the intruder/s came out of the toilet we would be in grave danger. I felt trapped as my bedroom door was locked and I have limited mobility on my stumps. I fired shots at the toilet door and shouted to Reeva to phone the police. She did not respond and I moved backwards out of the bathroom, keeping my eyes on the bathroom entrance. Everything was pitch dark in the bedroom and I was still too scared to switch on a light. Reeva was not responding. When I reached the bed, I realized that Reeva was not in bed. That is when it dawned on me that it could have been Reeva who was in the toilet. I returned to the bathroom calling her name. I tried to open the toilet door but it was locked. I rushed back into the bedroom and opened the sliding door exiting on to the balcony and screamed for help. I put on my prosthetic legs, ran back to the bathroom and tried to kick the toilet door open. I think I must then have turned on the lights. I went back into the bedroom and grabbed my cricket bat to bash open the toilet door. A panel or panels broke off and I found the key on the floor and unlocked and opened the door. Reeva was slumped over but alive. I battled to get her out of the toilet and pulled her into the bathroom. I phoned Johan Stander who was involved in the administration of the estate and asked him to phone the ambulance. I phoned Netcare and asked for help. I went downstairs to open the front door. I returned to the bathroom and picked Reeva up as I had been told not to wait for the paramedics, but to take her to hospital. I carried her downstairs in order to take her to the hospital. On my way down Stander arrived. A doctor who lives in the complex also arrived. Downstairs, I tried to render the assistance to Reeva that I could, but she died in my arms. I am absolutely mortified by the events and the devastating loss of my beloved Reeva. With the benefit of hindsight I believe that Reeva went to the toilet when I went out on the balcony to bring the fan in. I cannot bear to think of the suffering I have caused her and her family, knowing how much she was loved. I also know that the events of that tragic night were as I have described them and that in due course I have no doubt the police and expert investigators will bear this out."

Analysis of Testimony and Questions Raised:

The result of this testimony led to a series of unusual questions:

1) How dark was it in the room after Oscar closed the blinds?

2) Why did Oscar not check to see if Reeva was in bed before grabbing his gun?

3) Why didn't Oscar realize that Reeva wasn't in bed?

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This crime has been investigated by a few people. Other than authorities that arrived on the scene the day of, a detective was hired to solve this case. Current investigations are run by one detective but the name is not available to the public due to the controversy of this case. The judge of this case, Thokozile Masipa, has had police protection continuously since this trial began. The murder of Reeva Steenkamp has also been thoroughly analyzed on television with multiple experiments and recreations of this event by Pistorius' testimony.

History of the Time Period:

In South Africa, burglaries are not uncommon and neither is owning fire arms. The average South American home has some form of fire arm and Pistorius was no exception. This took place fairly recent in 2013 so all of the modern forensics techniques were available to the investigators. The Forensics report is not available to the public, but there was a forensics witness in Pistorius' trial called to give testimony. The death of Reeva Steenkamp took place in the early hours of Thursday, February 14th, 2013.

List of Suspects, Their Backgrounds and Alibis:

Oscar Pistorius:

  • Reeva Steenkamps boyfriend at the time
  • Grew up in a Christian home with a normal family
  • Was born with fibular hemimelia and had his legs amputated after only 11 months
  • Despite bad legs, Oscar played rugby, water polo, tennis, and ran track
  • Has specially fitted prosthetic legs.

Motives: It is believed that Oscar killed Steeva in a fit of rage after an argument, but this does not match up with his testimony.

Opportunity: Killed Reeva through the door while she going to wash her hands.

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Psychological Profile of a Suspect

Oscar Pistorius does not have any unusual psychological problems that could factor into this shooting. There is a concern that Pistorius might be a victim of not coping with being a celebrity well. He did have previous instance in a restaurant a few years earlier where he fired his pistol and frequently enjoyed thrill seeing activities. Pistorius' coach said that this behavior is not abnormal of an Olympian athlete. The Prosecution also attempted to prove Pistorius was not in love with Reeva through an investigation into his cell phone and although he did have some flirtatious text, it was not a substantial amount to prove he killed Reeva with intent.

Forensic Evidence:

Most of the forensics evidence used in this investigation consisted of ballistics to prove whether or not Pistorius was wearing his legs when he killed Reeva. The following was evidence provided by a forensics expert "The forensic geologist spoke to the court yesterday about wounds caused by splinters of wood on Reeva's hip and shoulder, which suggested she was standing close to the bathroom door when she was shot. He also talked about marks found of her back, which he said would be consistent with her falling on a magazine rack." This testimony proved that there was not a struggle and that Reeva would not have been trying to escape Pistorius. The ballistics analysis also included the door between Pistorius and Reeva when he shot her. The door was heavily analyzed to see if Oscar really did or did not have his prosthetic legs attached when he fired his pistol, a 9mm Parabellum.
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Oscar was exchanging flirtatious texts with another girl at this time and Reeva was having issues with her ex boyfriend as well. The prosecution has made an extraordinary effort to use this to incriminate Pistorius. The detective of this case personally flew to Apple to get into the phones.


Oscar Pistorius received a prison sentence of 5 years maximum for culpable homicide on October 21st, 2014. The sentence can be served under correctional observation after he has served 10 months in prison. Pistorius also received a three year sentence a separate reckless endangerment conviction prior to the murder.

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