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Defense Likens Pistorius to Abused Wife

But because of his disability, not actual abuse; verdict next month
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2014 11:49 AM CDT

(Newser) – Oscar Pistorius will know next month whether he's going to prison for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Closing arguments finished today, and Judge Thokozile Masipa said she would announce her verdict on Sept. 11, the AP reports. After prosecutor Gerrie Nel ripped into the defense's case yesterday, Pistorius' lawyer took to the floor today to describe the double-amputee athlete as vulnerable and insecure because of his lifelong disability. Attorney Barry Roux went so far as to compare him to a wife who kills her partner after years of abuse, reports the Telegraph. The "slow burn of insecurities," paired with his athletic training, caused him to snap when he felt his life was in danger, said Roux. Prosecutors are pushing for 25 years to life for premeditated murder, though the judge has a range of lesser penalties at her disposal, along with exoneration.

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Roux also said that Pistorius' behavior following the shooting—including calling for help—shows that it was a tragic mistake, not a murder. As for his poor memory on the stand? Roux linked it to Pistorius' "severe depression." And though the prosecution argued Steenkamp's stomach contents indicated the couple stayed up arguing after Pistorius said they went to bed, Roux said the judge "cannot exclude" the possibility that Steenkamp woke up for a late-night snack. He also said that a security guard who passed Pistorius' house and heard no argument when the prosecution said it took place is "fatal to the state's case." Roux did, however, admit Pistorius is guilty of a gun charge related to an incident at a Johannesburg restaurant. (Read more Oscar Pistorius stories.)

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