Sunday, April 20, 2014

Oscar Trial - Speculations of what REALLY happened, a new contextual timeline and the best graphic yet of the crime scene



This is the best graphic I've seen thus far of the crime scene at Pistorius' Silver Woods Country Estate.

A few things that stand out:
1. Notice the television cabinet in relation to the passage to the bathroom.  Remember, in Pistorius' version Reeva slept on the left side.
2. Notice where her bag (fully packed) and shoes are lying (on the right side).
3. Notice where the jeans are lying.

A few statements I'd like to highlight from Pistorius' testimony:

1. When asked by Barry Roux if he consciously pulled the trigger, or not, he answered - somewhat cryptically - 'Not'.

2. Pistorius described the terror of not being able to defend himself, yet that's exactly what he did.  If there had been an intruder there, Pistorius would have succeeded - with flying colours - at defending himself.

3. Have you thought about how Reeva felt?  "I've thought about it (not Reeva) many times...in my own...answering of the question."  This is a wildly bizarre response to Nel's question!

4. When Nel specifically asks Pistorius whether Reeva wanted to leave he dodges the question.  He never answers it directly.

And two hypotheticals:

1. In the reality of Pistorius' version, having just fired 4 shots and after screaming, why would Pistorius expect to find Reeva lying in bed.  After shooting through the door he says he retreated to the bed, and she wasn't there.  By why would she be.  If you hear an intruder and gunshots in your house, will you simply lie inert in bed?

Here's a quoted comment (off a news story) referencing the same idea:

He walks backwards to the bedroom on his stumps still in darkness, and only when he doesn't feel her in the bed, that's the FIRST time it crosses his mind that it could have been her in the toilet! Really?? I would argue that this is the LEAST possible time I would expect to find her in bed. He just fired 4 shots a few meters away from the bed she was supposedly sleeping in! He expected her to still be fast asleep or sitting in bed? 

2. In the reality of Pistorius' version, wouldn't the easiest and quickest way to open the locked door be to shoot the lock? By firing from the opposite angle, at an angle close to parallel with the wall,  you'd minimise harm to the occupant. Perhaps not, perhaps there's a danger of a ricochet both to the shooter and the occupant.  At face value though, it does seem a little odd to fire four rounds through a door and then to try to open the door with a wooden bat.

A Timeline of Circumstantial Evidence:

Wednesday 14:45.  Reeva meets her management team at Capacity Relations in Woodmead, Sandton. Simphiwe Majola, her manager says she was excited about upcoming projects.

Capacity Relations has already admitted that they did not consider a public relationship with Pistorius beneficial to Reeva's brand.  

Reeva also said in her messages to Pistorius that she wanted to give her career precedence in terms of their relationship.  In terms of her/their decision to stall Heat magazine's expose about their relationship (Heat wanted the couple in a Valentine's Day splash) this would confirm a specific strategy aimed at trying to protect her brand.
She leaves the offices at around 15:40.


It's likely that immediately after this meeting, on the way to Pistorius' house, Reeva called her mother.

According to June Steenkamp, Reeva's mother: On the night she died, when she was on her way to Oscar's house, we talked about her sending us money to pay our cable television bill.

At 16:45 : Reeva emails Nimue Skin Technology SA. She is an ambassador for them and apologises that she won't be attending the announcement of a new jewellary line.  Reeva's email reads: “I would like to wish Sarah all the best for her launch later today if you could please pass on my blessings! Reeves.”

Reeva's last tweet: “I’m there like a ­bear!!! Yayyyy!!!! X” after an invitation from Candy McKenna (general manager at Mini's Sandton-branch) to have cupcakes at Sandton Mini Cooper on Thursday (Valentine's Day).

Now considers Reeva's mindspace:

1. She's hard at work managing her brand
2. Her ex-boyfriend, though putting on a brave face, is still insecure and still not over her.
3. Her parents are struggling financially and she is trying her utmost to assist them.
4. She's had encouraging news from her management company of upcoming projects.  It's likely that they've reinforced the notion that her relationship with Pistorius must be placed on the 'backburner', and somewhat out of the public eye.  Given that neither Reeva nor Pistorius publically say they are spending Valentine's Day together, or even publically interact on twitter or facebook, this may have irked Pistorius.  Extremely aware of his personal brand, it's likely he saw Reeva as someone who could help his brand, leverage his celebrity.  For her to request that they keep their brands separate, and worse, refuse to publically mention him was tantamount to sabotage.  It was her not endorsing his global brand and it was not helping, and it's likely this came up over dinner.
"So how did your meeting go with Capacity Relations?"

Now, given the facts above, let's draw a few inferences. Let's speculate, let's imagine, let's intuit what could conceivably have happened given the information we have.

1. According to Pistorius they had dinner at 7pm and were done after about 20 minutes.  It's unfortunate that Nel didn't ask Pistorius to talk about what he and Reeva discussed over dinner.  That said, Pistorius probably would have said "I don't remember." It's possible though that an argument may have started at this point in the evening, which led to Reeva not eating or not finishing her dinner (hence she was still hungry a few hours later).

When asked to explain Saayman's (the pathologist's) assessment, Pistorius admitted that he couldn't.

Gert Saayman said Steenkamp had eaten about two hours before her death, around the time a neighbour heard an argument at the house. Pistorius, who claimed they were both asleep at that time, admitted: “I don't have an explanation for it.” 

Read more: http://www.theweek.co.uk/world-news/oscar-pistorius/53387/oscar-pistorius-trial-reeva-had-no-time-scream#ixzz2zQZz4REo


Since Pistorius was helping Reeva with her contracts, he would have known exactly what was happening in her career, and crucially, how that affected him, and his brand.

2. They could have argued over a range of topics, among them Capacity Relations strategy to keep Reeva's relationship with Pistorius under wraps.  Pistorius wouldn't have liked that.  Another possible issue: Reeva's meeting with ex-boyfriend Warren Lahoud 36 hours before she was shot to death.  During that meeting Pistorius called her twice in 20 minutes, prompting Lahoud to ask if everything was okay. Look carefully at Lahoud's last tweet before Reeva's death. It was on the same day of his meeting with her:

Sometimes, all you have to do is forget what you feel and remember what you deserve!

What does Lahoud tweet after he finds out she is dead? Miss you Reeves you didn't deserve this #ReevaSteenkamp. (so he was clearly referring to her in that post-coffee tweet.)

But consider the significance of these tweets by Lahoud:

“Do not chase people. Be you and do your own thing and work hard. The right people who belong in your life will come to you. And stay,” Lahoud wrote on Nov. 27, 2012.
“As long as there is a small flame the fire is never out!” he added on Dec. 2, just two months before Steenkamp’s death.

[Note: Incidentally but not insignificantly, Warren Lahoud's Twitter feed has since been protected.]
Reeva presents herself on social media, that afternoon and evening,  in a good mood.

On the 13th she tweets:

What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow??? #getexcited #ValentinesDay

But she doesn't mention Pistorius and Pistorius doesn't mention her.

On the same day she retweets this message: WEAR BLACK THIS FRIDAY IN SUPPORT AGAINST #RAPE AND WOMAN ABUSE #BLACKFRIDAY

Her second to last tweet is to punt a ‘sneak peak’ of her appearance in the reality show, Tropika Islands of Treasure.

Previous whatsapp messages highlight Pistorius' insecurity about her trip to the island.  Her response is that she's not a 'ho'.  Her appearance on TV is a big breakthrough for her, while at the same time Pistorius' face is splashed across Johannesburg as part of a MNET 'Oscar' (as in Academy Awards) campaign.  Pistorius' last tweet on February 13 is a retweet about exactly that:

Tonight’s movie is The Town which is written, directed and stars Ben Affleck.

A further possibility for an argument may have come from her final message on facebook.  Which was to say ‘Thank you’.
Thank you Tim Tim Hulme-Photo and People Mag for an amazing shoot! Just in time for Valentines Day :)

This may have reminded Pistorius that instead of the couple appearing together on Valentine's Day, Reeva would be appearing on her own.  He may have resented this 'one-upmanship' in the media, and felt he wasn't 'getting the goods' he needed for his brand and image.

3. Now, did Reeva intend to spend the night of the 13th at Pistorius' home?  Given the clothing she was found in, hardly pajamas, this seems, on the face of it, unlikely. The short pants she was wearing, it has been established, were Pistorius'.  Recall she had an overnight bag with her, but she'd slept the previous night at his home, and possibly only intended cooking him dinner before going home.  If she did not intend to sleep over on the 13th, specifically to 'slow down' the relationship, it's possible she slept over on the 12th in order to ward off any possible resentment for not sleeping over on the 13th.  The fact that she had a meeting scheduled that same night may also have impacted her decision on whether to stay over, or not.  

In her final text message, Reeva SMS’s best friend Gina Myers and Cecil Myers (her 'Joburg dad') a man who thinks of Reeva as his own daughter. Her message reads: "Hi guys, I’m too tired. It’s too far to drive. I’m sleeping at Oscar’s tonight. See you tomorrow."

This SMS, if one compares it to the exuberance and exclamation marks of her tweets, seems subdued. By saying 'I'm too tired' there's a hint that she's explaining a change of plan.  She's saying in effect why she's not returning home as planned/arranged.  Gina could comment on this.  On the other hand, even if she had intended to stay all along, at that late stage of the evening Reeva may also have felt tired and drained from arguing.

It's possible that after an extended period of bickering and arguing going on through the night, Reeva changed her mind.  She wanted to leave, said so, and this caused Pistorius to snap.  A night he'd hoped would produce romance and intimacy besides dinner (rather than a discussion about her career, her TV appearances and her commitments) may have been a devastating and disappointing blow to him.  Had she had a change of heart?   Was Lahoud back in the picture? No, he wasn't interested in reading her card, or opening her gift.  Well, where was his gift to her?

Then it only escalated.  At one point, later in the evening, following her late night SMS, Reeva ate something. Possibly she felt trapped, wanting to leave, wanting to sleep, but Pistorius couldn't settle down, and wouldn't calm down. Possibly neither could sleep after the initial argument. Possibly she was in two minds about leaving, but he wouldn't stop arguing with her. She would have tried to avoid an argument, avoid confronting him.  When Reeva finally told him she wanted to go home, Pistorius may have shouted "Get the fuck out of my house."

After Reeva packed her things she struggled with Pistorius, trying to get dressed.  At this point he may have wrestled with her or hit her. Then, realising she couldn't get away, Reeva fled to the toilet and locked herself in it.  At this stage he was in a vicious rage, and Reeva was terrified. She was screaming for help.  To cover himself (still very aware of his reputation, and a possible incident in the media) Pistorius went to the balcony and also shouted help.  But what could he do now?  How could he prevent this story from coming out?

What was worse, Reeva had her phone with her in the toilet and he had no way of knowing whether she was about to send a message that would mean the collapse of his celebrity house of cards.

This (Reeva with her phone behind a closed door, whilst arguing) may well have made Pistorius feel trapped and terrified. Reeva may even have said, "If you don't let me go, if you don't stop, I'm calling the police."  If Reeva were to tell the media (or anyone) about the catastrophic evening his brand would suffer a colossal blow.  He would have felt like he couldn't afford that. All his carefully co-ordinated efforts to craft his image would be undone.  Based on a quick assessment, the only way to silence her was to kill her and then cover it up somehow.  At least then his brand would have a chance, because there'd only be his story, and he could tailor it any way he wanted.  A calculated risk, and took it.

Reeva isn't going to help my brand anyway...as it is...he may have rationalized.
It's three o' clock in the morning, no one's going to be sure what they heard.
Half the plots of land around me are vacant, so no eye witnesses. 
I'll buy off the neighbours, gardeners, whoever I need to...The Hawks will help with that.

The fact that he shot her whilst on his stumps is interesting.  It suggests a spontaneous, impulsive act, but it's also possible with her behind the door, he had a chance to think, and when the intention formed to murder her, so did the idea of an intruder.  It's possible that he was on his prosthesis all along, but with her behind the door, he removed his prosthesis when he shot her, specifically to give merit to his I-was-a-helpless-victim-I-thought-she-was-a-burglar charade.

Of course the testimony of witnesses such as Ms Burger has been devastating to his case.

“I heard her voice just after the last shot,’’ Ms Burger said. “It faded away.’’

If it was intentional, once he discovered her body, still alive in the toilet, he would have to make sure she died before anyone arrived.  This meant he needed time, but at the time needed to appear to be trying to help her.  
It's possible that in that moment, seeing her bloodied body, he regretted his actions (personally I doubt it). Instead of calling the ambulance himself Pistorius calls the estate manager and tells him to call an ambulance. This buys him some time.  When security calls him he says, "Everything's fine."  For the same reason.
When the paramedics arrive, he has a last chance to run upstairs and change the scene the way he wants it to look.  This may include putting her bag on the chair, deleting phone messages etc.

Given Pistorius' behaviour since the incident (going to a party in April 2013), and hooking up with a new girlfriend by December, it's likely that he feels fully entitled to a chance to resume his celebrity lifestyle.  Judge Masipa may think differently.


Postscript: Has it been fully and finally established on which side of the bed the pistol was?  In this graphic it suggests the left side (Reeva's side), but other information (including photos) suggest the right.  Either way, Pistorius has a problem when explaining the retrieval of the weapon and why he failed to confirm where Reeva was (when she ought to have been within a metre of less of his head).

In his version he needs a scenario that allows the room to be completely dark with his back turned to the bed, so as to allow Reeva the possibility of getting to the toilet unsighted.  And thus this is the only version Pistorius could come up with to explain how that might have happened.  But it's clearly improbable.

Read More:
1. The Untold Story Surrounding Reeva Steenkamp
2. Oscar and Our Denial
3. Motive - is this why he did it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow iam speechless