Pistorius walks on stumps in court as seeks to avoid jail

Wed Jun 15, 2016 12:59pm EDT
 
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By TJ Strydom and Tanisha Heiberg

PRETORIA (Reuters) - Oscar Pistorius shuffled through a Pretoria court without his prosthetic legs on Wednesday to show how vulnerable he is as the Paralympian seeks to avoid prison for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The 29-year-old faces a minimum 15-year jail term for the Valentine's Day killing in 2013 in a case that has attracted worldwide interest and divided South Africa. He will be sentenced on July 6.

Pistorius has always said he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he fired four shots through a locked toilet door in his Pretoria home, killing her almost instantly.

During his closing arguments, defense lawyer Barry Roux asked the gold medalist, known as the "Blade Runner" for his carbon-fibre prosthetics, to walk on his stumps to show the difficulty he faced dealing with the threat of an intruder.

The lower part of his legs were amputated when he was a baby.

His body shaking with emotion, Pistorius removed his prosthetics and stood on his stumps for about five minutes in front of the court television camera, wiping away tears with a tissue.

"The accused was vulnerable because of his disability," Roux said. "His failure to conduct a rational thought process does not negate his vulnerability."

The defense says Pistorius did not deliberately kill model and law graduate Steenkamp and was "a broken man", calling for a non-custodial sentence that includes community service.   Continued...

 
Paralympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius walks across the courtroom without his prosthetic legs during the third day of the resentencing hearing for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, at Pretoria High Court, South Africa June 15, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko