As the murder trial of disgraced South African Olympic athlete, Oscar Pistorius, adjourns until May 5, the world has a few moments to stop and take stock of the details of the case. Which is a good thing, because there are a lot of details to cover.
Most of the world has become excruciatingly aware of those specifics, because the prosecution is using the case's minutiae to paint Pistorius as a liar. As the man they call "the blade runner" changes small details and adds others, the prosecution simply seems to be calmly poking holes in the Olympian's alibi.
According to Pistorius, he was having trouble sleeping on the night in question. After milling about for a while, Pistorius claims he heard a commotion from his bathroom. It was here that Pistorius claims he made two tragic assumptions.
The first assumption was that the noise in the bathroom was due to an unwelcome guest. The second assumption was that his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp was still tucked safely in bed. Grabbing his gun and moving down the hall, Pistorius claims he called out to Reeva to call the police. Pistorius approached the toilet, shouting for the intruder to reveal himself. Inside the door, he heard a shuffling. Pistorius claims, "before I knew it, I had fired four shots at the door". It was only later that the "intruder" turned out to be Steenkamp herself.
The prosecution has spent the last several weeks debunking this story down to the most discrete detail. Seriously, they've spent time grilling Pistorius about when they ate dinner, the placement of Steenkamp's jeans on the ground, even whether or not Pistorius moved one fan off the balcony or two.
Through all the sifting of minute details, however, the prosecution has torn some pretty compelling holes in Pistorius' case. Why would Pistorius lie about when the couple ate dinner? Why did a neighbor overhear arguments coming from the house? Why is it that seemingly important details about the couple's interaction prior to the murder are only cropping up now?
This intense dive into the case has become somewhat of a double-edged sword for the prosecution. Certainly, they're making some very fine points, but they're also borderline attacking the defense's witnesses, and all for a few inches of covered ground. It's true that in the last three days, for example, Pistorius' own expert witness slightly contradicted Pistorius' story. It turns out that their might be some suspicion surrounding the placement of a magazine rack.
And while that little bit of new evidence may help indicate that Pistorius is telling fibs, the outside observer has to wonder how the jury is interpreting the prosecution's methods. It seems to me that the jury might have a soft spot for a formerly beloved track star weeping uncontrollably at the thought of his lost love. It seems that they might be inclined to give this Olympic medal winner the benefit of the doubt when he says, "I blame myself for taking Reeva's life." After all, is it so far out of the realm of possibility to think that - if Steenkamp's murder truly was an accident - the torture Pistorius is inflicting on himself may outdo any punishment the state could hand down.
Without intending to declare the man guilty or innocent, I'm simply suggesting that a long, drawn out trial may, in the jury's minds, boil down to a series of images as opposed to a mountain of facts. Will those images of Pistorius' apparent remorse and of a prosecutor badgering anyone who gets within arm's reach do more to sway the jury than any amount of evidence?
It was only a matter of time before Pistorius' case was compared to that of O.J. Simpson. The similarities between the two men are undeniable. One will just have to wonder if those similarities bode well for "the blade runner" or if history is due for a severe course change.