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At the start of closing arguments in his murder trial, Oscar Pistorius has been accused of being a “deceitful witness” who dropped the “baton of truth”.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel began his concluding remarks on Thursday, with the defense due to follow on Friday.
Oscar Pistorius denies murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The South African athlete says he mistook her for an intruder, but the prosecution says he deliberately shot her after a row.
Reeva Steenkamp was killed at Oscar Pistorius’ home in Pretoria on February 14, 2013.
The long-running trial was adjourned last month ahead of closing arguments.
Oscar Pistorius denies murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp (photo Reuters)
At the court in Pretoria, Gerrie Nel began his closing argument by accusing the athlete’s lawyers of presenting two lines of defense that “can never be reconciled”.
Oscar Pistorius, 27, said he had fired both involuntarily and also out of fear, Gerrie Nel argued, insisting the court had to choose only one of his defenses.
He said the court “should have no difficulty in rejecting” the athlete’s version of events because it was “devoid of any truth”.
Gerrie Nel also attacked Oscar Pistorius for presenting himself as “a victim of circumstance”.
Oscar Pistorius’ estranged father, Henke, was in the packed courtroom for the first time during the trial. It was also the first time that Barry Steenkamp, Reeva’s father, had attended.
The prosecution is convinced Oscar Pistorius gave conflicting accounts of how and why the double amputee shot Reeva Steenkamp four times through his toilet door.
Judge Thokozile Masipa is now likely to intervene more and her questions could well provide hints about a future verdict.
Oscar Pistorius’s lawyer, Barry Roux, will give his closing remarks after Gerrie Nel, in what correspondents say is the final showdown between two of South Africa’s top legal minds.
The judge is expected to adjourn the trial after hearing the arguments to consider her ruling, a process that analysts say will take in between a week to a month.
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O.J. Simpson murder trial evidence has been unveiled after 20 years.
AP court reporter Linda Deutsch got an up-close look at the infamous gloves and other evidence in the O.J. Simpson murder trial that riveted the US twenty years ago.
The leather gloves were the Rosetta stone of the Simpson murder trial. One was discovered at each of the two crime scenes. Of all the physical evidence that had been gathered and catalogued that day, the gloves were, perhaps, the most tangible.
O.J. Simpson murder trial evidence has been unveiled after 20 years
They were unique articles of apparel and the prosecution had linked together an imposing evidence chain connecting them to the defendant.
The gloves were dark brown leather, cashmere lined, size extra large. Manufactured by Aris Gloves, a subsidiary of Consolidated Food Corporation, the Isotoner Lights brand, style number 70263, were part of a small batch of only 300 pairs that had been sold exclusively by Bloomingdale’s Department Store on 3rd Avenue in New York between 1989 and 1992. The store sold 240 pairs and returned the rest to the manufacturer. On December 20th, 1990, Nicole Brown Simpson had purchased two pairs of these gloves for $110. The gloves had a distinctive stitching and V pattern in the palm and were very identifiable. The prosecution assembled press photographs and videotapes of O.J. Simpson wearing this type of leather gloves during football game telecasts in 1993 and 1994.
On April 3 1995, the prosecution produced evidence that the glove found behind the bungalow on O.J. Simpson’s Rockingham estate had a mixture of blood from Nicole Brown Simpson, Ronald Lyle Goldman and Simpson.
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Oscar Pistorius has said he was “besotted” with his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, as he gave evidence at his murder trial.
The athlete said he and Reeva Steenkamp had been talking about “future plans” together.
He also read out messages they had sent each other, including one where she said he scared her sometimes.
Oscar Pistorius denies deliberately shooting dead Reeva Steenkamp in his home on Valentine’s Day last year, arguing he mistook her for an intruder.
On his first day on the stand, the athlete made a tearful apology to Reeva Steenkamp’s family.
The trial was adjourned on Monday after he was overcome with emotion.
Responding to his questioning by his lawyer Barry Roux, Oscar Pistorius said that in January 2013: “I was very keen on Reeva. If anything I was more keen than she was.”
He said they had a shared interest in cars and had spent Christmas together after meeting on November 4, 2012.
Oscar Pistorius has said he was “besotted” with his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, as he gave evidence at his murder trial
“I let her just take her space – it wasn’t always easy I was besotted with her… the relationship built up to a point in December, January that we really needed, we started caring about each other, we start talking about future plans.”
Barry Roux has also asked him to comment on “tensions” in their relationship and on WhatsApp messages Reeva Steenkamp sent him in which she expresses disquiet about his attitude towards her, accusing him of “double standards”.
Tears streamed down the athlete’s face as he read out the messages sent to him by Reeva Steenkamp during his testimony, which is not being filmed.
On Monday, Oscar Pistorius told Reeva Steenkamp’s relatives that there “hasn’t been a moment since this tragedy happened that I haven’t thought about your family”.
He said: “I can’t imagine the pain and the sorrow and the emptiness that I’ve caused you and your family.”
“I was simply trying to protect Reeva. I can promise that when she went to bed that night she felt loved.”
Reeva Steenkamp’s mother, June, sat stony-faced while Oscar Pistorius spoke.
The athlete admitted to taking anti-depressants and sleeping pills, saying he was “scared to sleep” and suffered from “terrible nightmares”.
He also told the court that he had regularly been confronted with violence, including break-ins and assaults, while he was growing up.
Oscar Pistorius became emotional when he detailed how important religion had been to him and Reeva Steenkamp. His counsel eventually asked for an adjournment.
Prior to Oscar Pistorius’ appearance, the trial had already heard 15 days of prosecution-led testimony, which relied on accounts from neighbors and specialist ballistics experts, as well forensic and mobile phone evidence.
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Oscar Pistorius murder trial will now run until the middle of May after both sides agreed to an extension.
The South African Paralympic champion trial in Pretoria has already overrun its initial timeframe with the prosecution not yet completing its case.
Oscar Pistorius, 27, denies intentionally shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013, saying he mistook her for an intruder.
Oscar Pistorius denies intentionally shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013
Last week the athlete said he would sell his home to fund legal costs.
The court in Guateng province said that the trial would continue until 4 April, then adjourn for one week before resuming until May 16.
The trial will enter its fourth week on Monday, with five more witnesses expected to be called by the prosecution.
The court had been adjourned to allow the defense team to finish preparing its case.
The trial was initially estimated to have taken three weeks in total, but so far that deadline has passed with only 18 witnesses out of a possible 107 have been heard.
There has been intense media interest in the case in South Africa and beyond because of Oscar Pistorius’ status as a national sporting hero.
Double amputee Oscar Pistorius holds six Paralympic medals and also competed in the 2012 Olympic Games.
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Jodi Arias swapped the prim collared shirts and business-like attire that she sported throughout her lengthy murder trial for the standard issue stripes now that she is behind bars as a convicted murderer of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander.
Jodi Arias, 32, made her first court appearance since the jury was dismissed after they were unable to decide whether she deserved life in prison for the murder of Travis Alexander or if she should be given a death sentence.
The procedural hearing lacked the sizzle of the five-month trial that attracted a global following and had spectators waiting in line in the middle of the night to get a coveted seat in the courtroom.
Last week, the courtroom was about two-thirds full, the hearing was not televised, and there were no arguments in open court.
That verdict will come even later than previously expected, as the judge ruled today that the next hearing is scheduled for July 18.
Jury selection alone could take weeks, given the difficulty of seating an impartial panel in the high-profile case.
Jodi Arias tries the prison stripes and shackles look instead of her skirts and blouses in court appearance
Prosecutors have the option of taking the death penalty off the table, and Judge Sherry Stephens would then sentence Jodi Arias to one of two punishments: life in prison or the more unlikely life in prison with the possibility of release after 25 years.
If prosecutors do pursue death, a new panel must be seated to determine a sentence.
If another deadlock occurs, the death penalty would automatically be removed, leaving the judge to sentence Jodi Arias to one of the life-in-prison options.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said last week his office continues to prepare for a retrial aimed at securing a death sentence.
He had previously said he is confident an impartial jury can be seated to determine Jody Arias’ punishment but added that he is open to input from defense lawyers and the victim’s family about possibly scrapping a new trial in favor of a life sentence for Arias.
Meanwhile, after losing motions for mistrials, appeals to higher courts and efforts to quit the case altogether, Jodi Arias’ attorneys tried a new tactic this month, appealing to the court of public opinion while hoping to influence Bill Montgomery’s decision.
“It is solely for them to determine if continuing to pursue a death sentence upon Ms. Arias, who is already facing a mandatory life sentence, is a good and proper use of taxpayer resources,” defense attorneys Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott wrote in a statement provided to The Arizona Republic.
Taxpayers footed the bill for Jodi Arias’ court-appointed attorneys at a cost so far of nearly $1.7 million, a price tag that will only balloon if the case moves forward.
Jodi Arias admitted she killed Travis Alexander, but claimed it was self-defense after he attacked her.
Prosecutors argued it was premeditated murder carried out in a jealous rage after the victim wanted to end their affair and planned a trip to Mexico with another woman.
Jodi Arias gave a surprise jailhouse interview just hours after a jury began deliberating her fate, speaking out about her murder trial, her many fights with her legal team and her belief that she “deserves a second chance at freedom someday”.
Jodi Arias repeated many of her claims from previous interviews, testimony on the witness stand and her statements to the jury earlier on Tuesday as she pleaded for mercy.
Her further stints of self-promotion came as the jury were unable to reach a decision on Wednesday on whether she should be sentenced to death.
The judge sent the jury back out to deliberate until 4.30 p.m. (MST). If jurors are unable to agree, then the judge will declare a mistrial for death penalty phase only and a new jury will be brought in.
Jodi Arias also provided some new information about her case and how she believed her lawyers let her down by not calling more witnesses who could have bolstered her claims that she was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of Travis Alexander.
She was convicted last week of first-degree murder in the June 2008 stabbing and shooting death of her one-time lover in what prosecutors described as a cold, calculated killing carried out in a jealous rage. Jodi Arias has maintained all along it was self-defense.
The jury began deliberating Tuesday as they worked to determine whether she should live or die for her crime. If the jury opts for a life sentence, the judge will have the option of determining whether she spends the rest of her days behind bars or is eligible for release after 25 years.
Jodi Arias acknowledged it was unlikely she would ever be released, but believed she deserves a second chance.
Following her conviction last week, Jodi arias told a local TV station that she preferred the death penalty.
She said on Tuesday night that she changed her mind after a tearful meeting with family members that same day, realizing that her death would only cause them more pain.
“I felt like by asking for death, it’s like asking for assisted suicide and I didn’t want to do that to my family,” Jodi Arias said.
Jodi Arias said she fought from the beginning to keep cameras out of the courtroom to limit the media spectacle, and believes that the jury should have been sequestered. She stated flatly that she did not receive a fair trial.
“The prosecutor has accused me of wanting to be famous, which is not true,” she said.
However, Jodi Arias has sought the spotlight at every turn, providing TV interviews and even using a third-party to tweet throughout the trial.
Jodi Arias repeated her claims that she never wanted to go to trial in the first place but instead wanted to reach a deal with prosecutors on a second-degree murder count that would have carried a maximum of 22 years in prison. However, she said, “no deal was offered”.
Jodi Arias gave a surprise jailhouse interview just hours after a jury began deliberating her fate
She gave the interviews on Tuesday after the judge lifted an order barring jail officials from arranging any media requests.
The judge did not elaborate on the reason for the ruling, but Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office quickly began making the media arrangements that lasted late into the night.
A shackled Jodi Arias wore makeup for the interviews and showed up in a jail classroom with a comb in hand as she fixed her hair for the cameras. When pressed for details on some of her conflicting stories, she was mostly evasive, citing advice from her attorneys and possible pending appeals.
She was also asked about the conflicts she had had with her two court-appointed lawyers, Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott.
Jodi Arias said she wanted at least three people called as witnesses who could have testified to having seen bruises on her neck “when I was choked out” by Travis Alexander but she said she was rebuffed by her lawyers.
The prosecutor insisted her claims of self-defense were an exaggerated attempt to avoid being convicted.
Jodi Arias said her lawyers “felt a little betrayed” and blindsided by her post-conviction interview but that they gave their blessings for Tuesday night’s interviews, warning her to be cautious.
She said she sometimes wishes she’d never met Alexander, “just because of how ultimately everything ended and I say that for his sake and mine – not just a selfish thing”.
Jodi Arias said if the attack never occurred and she never crossed paths with the victim, she would likely now be a happily married 32-year-old with children, good finances and a successful wedding photography business.
Earlier on Tuesday, Jodi Arias told jurors she planned to use her time in prison to bring about positive changes, including donating her hair to be made into wigs for cancer victims, helping establish prison recycling programs and designing T-shirts to raise money for domestic abuse victims.
Jodi Arias became emotional as she displayed for jurors photos of her friends, boyfriends and family members, including newborn relatives she has met only from behind bars.
She asked jurors to reject the death penalty for the sake of her family.
“I’m asking you to please, please don’t do that to them. I’ve already hurt them so badly, along with so many other people,” she said.
“I want everyone’s healing to begin, and I want everyone’s pain to stop.”
Jodi Arias stabbed and slashed Travis Alexander nearly 30 times, shot in him in the forehead and slit his throat, nearly decapitating him, before leaving his body in his shower to be found by friends about five days later.
“To this day, I can hardly believe I was capable of such violence. But I know that I was,” Jodi Arias told jurors.
“And for that, I’m going to be sorry for the rest of my life.”
Her speech to jurors came a day after her attorneys asked to be removed from the case, saying the five-month trial had become a witch hunt that prompted death threats against a key witness in the penalty phase. They also argued for a mistrial. The judge denied both requests.
Travis Alexander’s family showed little emotion as Jodi Arias’ mother, father and sister looked on from the other side of the gallery and cried.
After Jodi Arias finished speaking, Judge Sherry Stephens explained to jurors that their finding would be final
The jury heard closing arguments later on Tuesday, with Jennifer Willmott citing Jodi Arias’ mental health problems and lack of a criminal record among the reasons to spare her life.
“The question now before you is: Do you kill her? Do you kill her for the one act that she did, the one horrible act, or can you see that there is a reason to let her live? Can you see that there is value in her life?” she said.
Prosecutor Juan Martinez said that despite Jodi Arias’ claims, there were no factors in the case that would warrant a sentence other than death.
He implored jurors to look at the “whole panorama” of the case, not just Jodi Arias’ statement on Tuesday, and explained how Travis Alexander’s family will live with the pain of their loss for the rest of their lives.
“They can’t forget that what happened on that afternoon, Travis Victor Alexander suffered immense physical pain,” Juan Martinez said.
“They can’t forget that.”
The family who now lives in the home where Jodi Arias killed her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander is treated to a constant stream of unwanted visitors who drive past the home because of their morbid fascination about the case.
Travis Alexander’s home was sold in foreclosure in 2009, the year after he was stabbed nearly 30 times and shot by Jodi Arias.
“I was a little nervous about it. My husband, though, it didn’t bother him. He said, <<This is a good deal. It’s a beautiful home. It’s in a great school district>>,” the homeowner told USA Today.
“When we signed the papers, we didn’t realize this was going to be that big of a case.”
The couple and their three sons, who are not releasing their name, have had to adapt to a lurid following of people from mostly outside of Arizona who have become enthralled with the case.
The murder trial, which began on January 2, 2013, is just now beginning to wind down with the closing arguments expected later this week.
That said, the jury could deliberate for weeks, causing the spectacle around the murder- and in turn, this home- to continue for many.
“A lot of people came by the house on their spring break – it was really bad with people showing up around that time,” the homeowner said to USA Today.
Travis Alexander’s home was sold in foreclosure in 2009, the year after he was stabbed nearly 30 times and shot by Jodi Arias
“There was a lady who drove up from Casa Grande and said she wanted to talk to me so she could get <<closure>>.”
The family that bought the home did so after seeing more than 150 others in their search, including a number of vandalized abandoned homes.
As such, it came as little surprise when parts of the carpet were missing along with faucets and the shower.
At the time, the family didn’t realized that they had been collected as evidence by investigators trying to piece together who had stabbed Travis Alexander, and left his dead body in his shower for five days before anyone called the police.
That said, the murder kept the price of the home down meaning that the family paid $206,000 for it in 2009, as compared to the $250,000 that Travis Alexander had paid for it in 2004.
The family’s offer on the house was accepted before they learned about the murder, but they still decided to go ahead with the deal once they were informed by the realtor and read up on the circumstances of the 30-year-old’s death.
The family’s three boys- and massive redesign inside the home- now reportedly give it a “cozy” feel, and while the homeowner will not release photos of the new decorating scheme, she says it looks nothing like the crime scene photos presented to the jury (and the public) during the lengthy trial.
The case has reignited interest in the case and now the family has to deal with a steady stream of self-guided tours.
“We’ve had people pull in our driveway and stop and park and get their cell phones out and take pictures of the house,” the homeowner told CNN.
“I am hoping that once this trial is over this can kind of become our home instead of Jodi Arias’ home or Travis Alexander’s old home.”
A 911 recording captured the moment millionaire Patrick A. Evans, former Jabil Circuit vice president, shot dead his wife and her boyfriend at close range in their home.
The 911 recording was presented yesterday to the court during Patrick A. Evans murder trial.
Patrick A. Evans, 44, a Fortune 500 executive with a six-figure salary, a private plane and a million-dollar waterfront home, faces the death penalty if convicted of the murders of Elizabeth K. Evans, 44, and her friend, Jerry B. Taylor, 43.
A 911 recording captured the moment millionaire Patrick A. Evans, former Jabil Circuit vice president, shot dead his wife and her boyfriend at close range in their home
During the opening statement yesterday, Assistant State Attorney Christopher LaBruzzo told jurors about the unique and key piece of evidence that will persuade them to find Patrick A. Evans guilty.
Attorney Christopher LaBruzzo said: “Ladies and gentlemen, it is rare in cases in America where a murder is actually captured on a 911 call.”
On the night of 20 December, 2008, someone called 911 from Elizabeth Evans’ Gulfport condominium but did not hang up.
Attorney Christopher LaBruzzo said Patrick A. Evans arrived at the condominium with a handgun. On the tape, which will be played for the jury, Patrick A. Evans can be herad telling his estranged wife: “Sit on the bed.”
Her wife, Elizabeth K. Evans replies to him “no”. A third voice – of Jerry B. Taylor – says: “Put the gun down” before a gunshot is heard.
Attorney Christopher LaBruzzo told jurors: “Boom, you will hear a gunshot, a single shot, close range, striking Mr Taylor in the throat. Causing internal damage which ultimately resulted in his death.
Seeing hearing and witnessing this gunshot, Elizabeth Evans shouts, <<Are you out of your f***ing…>>. Boom, second shot.”
TampaBay.com reported Attorney Christopher LaBruzzo told the jury Elizabeth K. Evans and Patrick A. Evans had been having marital difficulties. Patrick A. Evans filed for divorce, changed his mind, then she filed for divorce.
As well as the recording police matched shell casing fired from Patrick A. Evans’ Glock handgun to those fired from the crime scene.
After the shootings, Patrick A. Evans was stopped by sheriff’s deputies and brought in for questioning.
A recording was made of that conversation, though it may not be played for the jury.
Patrick A. Evans’ defense attorney, David Parry, did not make an opening statement on Tuesday.
Patrick A. Evans murder trial continues.