Oscar Pistorius Removes Artificial Legs in Court to Demonstrate He 'Was Vulnerable Because of His Disability,' Lawyer Argues
At the behest of his defense team, Oscar Pistorious walked around a South African courtroom without help of his prostheses during his sentencing hearing for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Wednesday, according to multiple reports.
Removing his artificial legs, Pistorius moved – mostly without aide – across the room on only his stumps in an effort by the defense to show how difficult it would have been for the amputee to confront an intruder, according to Reuters.
Pistorius was initially charged with manslaughter for Steenkamp’s February 2013 death, but an appeals court overturned the conviction and changed it to murder last year. Pistorius has continually said that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he fired four shots through a bathroom down in his home, killing the model.
“The accused was vulnerable because of his disability,” his defense lawyer Barry Roux said in court, Reuters reported. “His failure to conduct a rational thought process does not negate his vulnerability.”
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The scene marked the end of three days of testimony and arguments in Pistorius’s sentencing hearing in Pretoria, reported the Associated Press. Judge Thokozile Masipa will make a final sentencing decision on July 6.
Pistorius – who already served one year in prison on the manslaughter charge and is currently on house arrest – is facing up to 15 years in jail.
Pistorius’s lawyers have argued that the former Paralympian was confused when he shot Steenkamp, according to the New York Times. Prosecutors charged, however, that Pistorius has not shown genuine remorse for the crime.
Also on Wednesday, Judge Maspia agreed to release photographs of Steenkamp’s body taken by crime scene investigators, the Times said. The images include a photo of Steenkamp’s severe head wound and were only released after a request from the victims’ father.