Where Reeva Steenkamp died, Oscar PIstorius will find out his fate on Thursday. Photo of court reconstruction of toilet area in Pistorius's home where Steenkamp was killed.

Oscar Pistorius verdict due Thursday. The main question still not answered: Why didn’t the athlete make sure where Steenkamp was before unloading his weapon?
Photo of court reconstruction of toilet area in Pistorius’s home where Steenkamp was killed.

Oscar Pistorius did not intentionally kill his girlfriend in a 2013 shooting, a South African judge ruled, but the former Olympian could still be convicted of culpable homicide and other charges in verdict proceedings that resume Friday. [ABC News – UPDATE]

THE ENTIRE case that Oscar Pistorius allegedly murdered Reeva Steenkamp is circumstantial. It’s not even he said, she said, because she’s dead. Domestic violence rarely if ever comes with a casino video from the elevator where a deadly assault was caught on tape. From South Africa will come a different message, the fate of an internationally famous athlete as Judge Thokozile Masipa renders her Pistorius verdict tomorrow or Friday.

From the New York Times:

If Mr. Pistorius, a Paralympic champion and Olympic sprinter, is found guilty of premeditated murder, he faces a mandatory life sentence with a minimum 25-year jail term before he is permitted to seek parole. But sentencing could be more complicated.

William Booth, a South African defense lawyer, told the Cape Town Press Club this month that there was “quite a significant risk” that Mr. Pistorius could be convicted of murdering the intruder he thought was in his home. Anyone firing into such a confined space must have known the risks, Mr. Booth said.

The photos here are important, because there is a dead woman, Reeva Steenkamp, who has no voice, yet must be remembered. The violence that took her life witnessed. Steenkamp’s last moments part of the ever changing story Oscar Pistorius constructed during the trial, which I followed as best as was possible.

This could have been a horrific accident. Pistorius’s emotional breakdowns in court honest and real.

As someone who is part of a gun owning family, however, I’m haunted by the fact that Oscar Pistorius didn’t make sure where Reeva Steenkamp was before he fired his weapon. On Thursday, the judge said the same thing.

The verdict, whatever it may be, will never answer this question. Pistorius’s account simply untrustworthy to me, because it kept evolving. The history of firearm negligence says a lot about this man as well.

As the Times reports, Judge Thokozile Masipa’s “summing-up of the testimony” comes before the actual verdict is read, which could delay the ending of this tragedy until Friday. Then there’s the potential process of appeal.

South Africa‘s violent reality is also a mitigating aspect of the trial. Perhaps Pistorius was so scared, especially in his vulnerable physical state as a double-amputee, that he fired for fear of his life forgetting completely about Reeva Steenkamp.

In the U.S., estimates are that 48 women are shot to death by intimate partners every month.

It’s ironic that the Oscar Pistorius verdict will be read in South Africa just as the whirling NFL scandal of the violent Ray Rice video continues to reverberate.

Violence against women only gets wide press when there’s very bad news to report. Just maybe that’s starting to change, because the secret that’s normally kept hidden has broken out into the light.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline has seen an 84 percent increase in phone calls in the two days since a video leaked of former NFL player Ray Rice knocking his then-fiancée unconscious in an elevator. [Huffington Post]

The door through which Reeva Steenkamp was shot used as evidence and displayed during the Oscar Pistorius murder trial at the high court in Pretoria

“The door through which Reeva Steenkamp was shot used as evidence and displayed during the Oscar Pistorius murder trial at the high court in Pretoria.” [Independent]

Pistorius verdict: "Large fan and duvet would have blocked Pistorius's way en route to the balcony where he claims he called for help the night Reeva Steenkamp died. His defence claims the crime scene was contaminated and objects moved." [Independent]

Pistorius verdict: “Large fan and duvet would have blocked Pistorius’s way en route to the balcony where he claims he called for help the night Reeva Steenkamp died. His defence claims the crime scene was contaminated and objects moved.” [via Independent]

Thursday in court, as tweeted by the BBC’s Barry Bateman

From the Independent:

The prosecution says: Pistorius knew Reeva was behind the door. She was talking to him when he shot her. The bullet trajectory shows the first shot aimed towards the toilet. That he then changed position, and fired the next two in the direction of a magazine rack on the floor. The first bullet struck Reeva in the hip. Pistorius heard her fall, and then changed position.

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Original version posted on 9.10.