If the Oscar Pistorius trial were being held in America with a jury of twelve of his peers, the conversation in court on Tuesday, March 11, 2014--about him being a "gun lover," according to the LA Times--would not hold nearly as much weight as it will hold in South Africa, where a lone judge will decide his fate.
That's because Americans are passionate about the right to bear arms, and to defend themselves within their own homes. And some on the jury would be swayed by the possibility that the "Blade Runner," who is also a double amputee Olympic-winning athlete, might really have really feared for his life the night he took the life of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
However, Oscar's friend Darren Fresco is painting a portrait of a man the judge will not be able to separate from the same man who shot his girlfriend to death while she was in his bedroom bathroom on Valentine's Day. According to testimony from Fresco, Oscar felt that the police didn't have a right to question him about his gun use as early as September 2012, when the two men, along with Pistorius' former girlfriend Samantha Taylor, were stopped for speeding one day.
Fresco insisted on the witness stand at his former friend's murder trial that Oscar became "furious" when the officer touched his gun and looked at his gun license during the traffic stop.
You can't just touch another man's gun," Pistorius is alleged to have said to the officer that day. And Fresco said it was that passionate anger that resulted in the sprinter shooting the gun through Fresco's car roof as a result, a little later on.
Samantha Taylor has recounted her own version of Oscar discharging a weapon through the roof of a car, adding more credibility to the "trigger happy" term being used to describe the young male on trial for his life. But the defense hopes that the fact that Taylor was replaced by Steenkamp as the love interest of the paralympian will help him paint her as possibly holding a grudge against Oscar, clouding her testimony objectivity.
The South African judge who will decide the fate of the accused will consider the fact that in addition to posting photos of himself at shooting ranges on Lockerz.com, Oscar Pistorius has had multiple people confirm two dangerous gun incidents involving him less than six months before he shot and killed his girlfriend.
Fresco is also at the heart of the second controversial Pistorius gun incident. And it is one which followed the speeding car incident by four months. In fact, just one month before he shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp in his home bathroom on Valentine's Day 2013, Oscar discharged a weapon under a restaurant table with another friend, Kevin Lerena, barely escaping being shot in the foot.
That January 2013 event led the celebrated sports athlete to ask Darren Fresco to take the blame, since the gun was his and it was he who handed the loaded weapon to the athlete during the outing that day. Pistorius wanted to avoid undue publicity, according to Fresco's testimony, even though Oscar had been forewarned that a bullet was in the chamber.
There is too much media hype around me at the moment, please can you take the rap for it?" Oscar allegedly asked Fresco.
The South African judge hearing the trial now into its seventh day could conceivably consider that the famous but handicapped runner might have feared enough for his own life to open fire on a closed door bathroom in his home if there were no other gun issues in this case. But the fact that this particular individual has had two dangerous gun incidents (and both less than six months before the fatal shooting, with one friend insisting that Oscar "had a big love for firearms"), will force this judge to consider other glaring inconsistencies in this murder trial case as well.
One of those inconsistencies is the fact that the security guard at the gated community where Oscar lives has testified that the runner told him "everything is fine" the night of Steenkamp's death. Yet it clearly wasn't. In addition, the testimony about shouting and arguing heard by witnesses who lived nearby, and prior to the gunshots actually being heard fired, hints at a lover's quarrel preceding the shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp.
If the accused was disoriented due to alcohol or drug use the night of the fatal shooting on February 14, 2013, his best defense would have been to admit it at the time. As it is, now the pathologist appears to have caught him in an inconsistency about the exact time he says he and Reeva ate and went to bed. And that further complicates the judge from giving him the benefit of the doubt in this case, as the professional autopsy findings will trump anything a man accused of murder will have to say in his defense.
The Atlanta Crime Examiner Radell Smith has a degree in criminal justice and behavioral forensics. And like Reeva Steenkamp's family, she has lost a loved one to gun violence by a defendant who claimed he didn't do it, but a medical examiner's autopsy findings proved otherwise.