Police Expert: Pistorius Likely Not Wearing Prosthetics When Hitting Door

A South African police forensics analyst says Oscar Pistorius was probably not wearing his prosthetic legs when he used a cricket bat to hit the door through which he fatally shot his girlfriend, an assertion that counters claims made by the athlete.
 
In court testimony on Wednesday, Johannes Vermeulen said he believes Pistorius was on his stumps when he used the bat to try to break open the door after fatally shooting Reeva Steenkamp last year.
 
The door was set up in the courtroom as Vermeulen described how marks on the bat matched one smaller and one larger hole in the door.

"The marks on the door is actually consistent with him not having his legs on," Vermeulen said. "I suspect it must be similar to the, to the height he was when he fired the shots."

Oscar Pistorius arrives at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa on March 12, 2014. /AP Oscar Pistorius arrives at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa on March 12, 2014. /AP

Pistorius said in an affidavit during a bail hearing last year that he had put on the prosthetics prior to hitting the door with a cricket bat.
 
While cross-examining Vermeulen, defense lawyer Barry Roux said his team could show that Pistorius was in a standing position when he caused a mark on the door.
 
"We will present evidence that that mark was caused by the prosthesis kicking that door or making contact with that door, and the fabric of the sock was in fact still embedded and varnish of the door on the prosthesis," Roux said.
 
Roux also tried to cast doubt on the initial police investigation, saying there was evidence that a foot print on the door was made by a police officer's shoe.
 
Prosecutors accuse Pistorius of murdering Steenkamp after an argument, while he says he thought he was shooting at an intruder.
 
The runner has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, recklessly discharging a firearm, and illegally possessing ammunition. If convicted of premeditated murder, he faces a life sentence.
 
Pistorius is known as the "Blade Runner" because of his carbon-fiber prosthetic legs. In 2012, he became the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics.

VOA News / Mar. 13, 2014 08:22 KST