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February 21, 2013 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-02-21

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6A - Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Police admit mistakes in
Pistorius investigation

Authorities now
have no evidence
challenging
Olympians claims
PRETORIA, South Africa
(AP) - The prosecution case
against Oscar Pistorius began
to unravel Wednesday with
revelations of a series of police
blunders and the lead investiga-
tor's admission that authorities
have no evidence challenging
the double-amputee Olympian's
claim he killed his girlfriend
accidentally.
Detective Hilton Botha's
often confused testimony left
prosecutors rubbing their heads
in frustration as he misjudged
distances and said testosterone
- banned for professional ath-
letes in some cases - was found
at the scene, onlyto be later con-
tradicted by the prosecutor's
office.
The second day of what was
supposed to be a mere bail hear-
ing almost resembled a full-
blown trial for the 26-year-old
runner, with his lawyer, Barry
Roux, tearing into Botha's testi-
mony step by step during cross
examination.
Police, Botha acknowledged,
left a 9 mm slug from the bar-
rage that killed Reeva Steen-
kamp inside a toilet and lost
track of illegal ammunition
found inside the house. And
the detective himself walked
through the crime scene with-
out wearing protective shoe
covers, potentially contaminat-
ing the area.
Authorities, Roux asserted,
were selectively taking "every
piece of evidence to try to
extract the most possibly nega-
tive connotation and present it
to the court."
The case has riveted South
Africa, with journalists and the
curious crowding into the brick-
walled courtroom where Pisto-
rius, dubbed the Blade Runner'
for his prosthetic legs, faces a
charge of premeditated murder
in the Valentine's Day slaying.
Pistorius says he mistook

Steenkamp for an intruder and
shot her out of fear, while prose-
cutors say he planned the killing
and attacked her as she cowered
behind a locked bathroom door.
The day seemed to start out
well for the prosecution, with
Botha offering new details of
the shooting that appeared to
call into question Pistorius'
account of the moments leading
up to the 29-year-old model's
death.
Ballistic evidence, he said,
showed the bullets that killed
her had been fired from aheight,
supporting the prosecution's
assertion that Pistorius was
wearing prosthetic legs when
he took aim at the bathroom
door. The athlete has main-
tained he was standing only on
his stumps, and felt vulnerable
and frightened as he opened fire
from a low position.
Projecting a diagram of the
bedroom and the bathroom,
prosecutor Gerrie Nel said it
showed Pistorius had to walk
past his bed to get to the bath-
room and could not have done
so without seeing that Steen-
kamp was not asleep there.
"There's no other way of get-
ting there," Nel said in disputing
Pistorius' claim that he had no
idea Steenkamp was no longer
in bed when he pumped four
bullets into the bathroom door,
striking her with three.
Botha backed the prosecutor
up, saying the holster for Pis-
torius' 9 mm pistol was found
under the left side of the bed,
where Steenkamp slept, and it
would have been impossible for
Pistorius to get the gun without
checking to see if she was there.
"I believe that he knew that
Reeva was in the bathroom and
he shot four shots through the
door," the detective said.
Botha described how bullets
struck Steenkamp in the head
and shattered her right arm and
hip, eliciting sobs from Pisto-
rius, who held his head in hands.
However, when asked if
Steenkamp's body showed "any
pattern of defensive wounds" or
bruising from an assault, Botha
said "no." He again responded
"no"when asked if investigators

found anything inconsistent
with Pistorius'version of events,
though he later said nothing
contradicted the police version
either.
Testimony began with the
prosecutor tellingthe court that
before the shooting, a neigh-
bor heard "nonstop" shouting
between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. at Pis-
torius' upscale home in a gated
community in the capital, Pre-
toria.
However, Botha later said
under cross examination that
the witness was in a house 600
yards (550 meters) away, pos-
sibly out of earshot. He cut that
estimate in half when ques-
tioned again by the prosecutor,
as confusion reigned for much
of his testimony.
At one point, Botha told the
court that police found syringes
and two boxes of testosterone in
Pistorius' bedroom - testimony
the prosecution later withdrew,
saying it was too early to identi-
fy the substance, which was still
being tested.
"It is not certain (what it is)
until the forensics" are complet-
ed, Medupe Simasiku, a spokes-
man for South Africa's National
Prosecution Agency, told The
Associated Press. It's not clear if
it was "alegal or an illegal medi-
cation for now."
The defense also disputed the
claim. "It is an herbal remedy,"
Roux said. "It is not ... a banned
substance."
Still, Botha offered poten-
tially damaging details about
Pistorius' past, saying the ath-
lete was once involved in an
accidental shooting at a restau-
rant in Johannesburg and asked
someone else "to take the rap."
The runner also threatened
men on two separate occasions,
Botha said, allegedly telling one
he'd "break his legs."
The detective said police
found two iPhones in Pistorius'
bathroom and two BlackBerrys
in his bedroom, and none had
been used to phone for help.
Guards at the gated commu-
nity did call the athlete, Botha
said, and all he said was: "I'm
all right," as he wept uncontrol-
lably.

AP PHtOTO/File
Egyptian army soldiers arresta woman protester during clashes with military police near Cairo's downtown Tahrir Square on
February 16.
Egyptian militarygrowing
restless w1th young regime

a

Military intervention
a growing possibility
as critiques pour in
CAIRO (AP) - Egypt's pow-
erful military is showing signs
of growing impatience with the
country's Islamist leaders, indi-
rectly criticizing their policies
and issuing thinly veiled threats
that it might seize power again.
The tension is raising the spec-
ter of another military interven-
tion much like the one in 2011,
when generals replaced long-
time authoritarian leader Hosni
Mubarak after they sided with
anti-regime protesters in their
18-day popular uprising.
The strains come at a time
when many Egyptians are
despairing of an imminent end
to the crippling political impasse
between President Mohammed
Morsi and his Muslim Brother-
hood group on one side, and the
mostly secular and liberal oppo-
sition on the other.
The tug of war between the
two camps is being waged against
a grim backdrop of spreading
unrest, rising crime and a wors-
ening economy.
"In essence, the military will

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Email:1

RELEASE DATE-Thursday, February 21, 2013
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
ACROSS 6 Yellowish shade 38 Hesitant 51 Western loop
1 It'staken incourt 7Chasesflies utterances 52 Nimrods
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King Harald Ill 9 Unlock'd 41 Wedge ina mojito bad!"
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21 Exhort 18 Enjoys the beach ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE:
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wrong crowd, say 24 Trip to the dry T 0 0 T H P A S T E H I N D
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39*Kobe, notably 33 Areaconquered R E M E L T S C O L D
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44Agendabullets 351996Olympic
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(c)2013 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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not allow national stability or its In another provocative com-
>wn institutional privileges to ment earlier this month, el-Sissi
:ome under threat from a break- was quoted as saying he would
down in Egypt's social fabric or never allow the armed forces
a broad-based civil strife," said to be dominated by the Broth-
Michael W. Hanna, an Egypt erhood, or any other group,
expert from the New York-based stressing the military's national
Century Foundation. identity.
"This is not an ideological A Brotherhood spokesman,
ormy or one that seeks to desta- Yasser Mehrez, dismissed claims
>ilize civilian governance. ... But that the group sought to bring
it is also not an army that will sit the military under its sway. "This
>y while the country reaches the is old talk that has been repeated
tipping point on the path to civil over and over again," he said.
strife." The rumor about el-Sissi's dis-
The latest friction began when missal was widely suspected to
a rumor circulated that Morsi be a trial balloon floated by the
planned to replace Gen. Abdel- Muslim Brotherhood to gauge
Fattah el-Sissi, his defense min- military and public reaction.
ister and the army chief, because The military did not offi-
if his resistance to bringing the cially respond. But widely pub-
military under the sway of the lished comments attributed to
Brotherhood-dominated govern- an anonymous military source
nent. threatened that any attempt to
EI-Sissi may have angered remove the military's top com-
Morsi last month when he sig- manders would be "suicide" for
naled the military's readiness to the government and spoke of
step in, warning that the state widespread anger within the
would collapse if no solution armed forces.
was found to the political crisis. The source was quoted as say-
Pointedly, he also spoke of how ing the public will not accept any
the military faces a dilemma in meddling in the military and will
marrying the task of protecting close ranks to counter any pres-
state installations in restive loca- sures or challenges.
tions with its resolve not to harm The military distanced itself
peaceful protesters. from the comments on a state-
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deemed serious enough for Mor-
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