- Associated Press - Friday, April 11, 2014

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - Did Reeva Steenkamp scream before she was killed by Oscar Pistorius or was she silent? Was the duvet thrown on the floor by lovers fighting or by the police? A look at the main points of contention at Pistorius‘ murder trial:



Prosecutors say that the testimonies from several neighbors who said they heard a woman scream before and during the fatal gunshots shows that Pistorius and Steenkamp were fighting in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14, 2013. Prosecutors assert that the double-amputee Olympic athlete is lying about mistaking his girlfriend for an intruder and that she ran to bathroom yelling before she was shot.

Pistorius‘ defense says the argument never happened and will call closer neighbors who did not hear a woman scream.

The athlete says Steenkamp never screamed or even spoke to him to let him know where she was in the moments leading up to the fatal shooting through a closed toilet door.

But the double-amputee Olympian also stated during his testimony that the first of four shots he fired caused his ears to ring and he couldn’t hear anything. Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel pounced on the detail as proof Pistorius couldn’t claim Steenkamp never screamed during the shots - even according to his own story - because he wouldn’t have heard her anyway.



Key to Pistorius‘ defense is that he never saw or heard Steenkamp get up from the bed to go to the bathroom and therefore Pistorius did not know she was in the toilet stall when he fired with his 9 mm pistol, hitting the model in the hip, arm and head. Prosecutor Nel challenged that claim by referring to a small light that was on in the bedroom, saying he would have noticed her movement if, as Pistorius says, the light was bright enough to disturb his sleeping. Nel also argued that if he heard a bathroom window sliding open, alerting him to a possible intruder, he would have also heard Steenkamp first move from the bed because that was much closer to him.



Prosecutors say a duvet shown lying on the bedroom floor in police photos indicates the couple were fighting and not in bed as Pistorius claims. Pistorius says the duvet was moved off the bed by police investigators after the shooting. Contamination of the scene by police is one of the defense’s main arguments. Nel says the positions of the duvet, a pair of jeans partially on top of it, a fan in front of the balcony doors and the curtains wide open all are problematic for his story, which police didn’t know at the time, and claiming evidence tampering to that extent is far-fetched.



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