True crime and trial opinions from a layman's perspective
After the lunch break Nel establishes that Oscar has read many statements over the course of the past year but he wants to know from Oscar what he remembers and not what was reconstructed from records. Oscar says it would be very hard for him to do that after reading so many statements, hard to know which are his memories and which are reconstructions. Van Aardt’s expression as he says this.
He remembers everything from the time he went to sleep on Feb 13 to the time he shot the gun on Feb 14, except for how many shots there were. And there it is again, selective memory. Let’s take a tally of what he doesn’t remember. I put to you that these are very telling moments in the night that he doesn’t want to discuss:
1. He can’t remember how many shots he fired.
2. He can’t remember speaking to Netcare, but he clearly remembers them telling him to drive Reeva to the hospital himself (they never arrived from his phone call.)
3. He remembers very clearly how hard it was to pick her up, but doesn’t remember carrying her down the hallway or the top part of the stairs. His memory miraculously kicked in on the landing of the stairs.
4. He doesn’t remember calling Baba or speaking to Baba and saying “everything is fine.”
5. He doesn’t remember getting the plastic bags, rope and/or tape.
6. He doesn’t remember speaking to Justin Devaris.
This is what I think about each of these specific moments that he magically can’t remember:
1. Firing 4 shots, rather than 1, greatly implies that you had intent to kill that person. It also implies that you knew what you were doing and it wasn’t accidental. He doesn’t want to admit or explain why 4 and not 1.
2. He doesn’t want to tell anybody what he said to Netcare. The reason Netcare never sent an ambulance is because Oscar probably gave them some BS story about the nature of Reeva’s injuries. I’m sure he realized that if there wasn’t record of him calling for medical help it would look really bad OR Johan Stander may have told him to call. I don’t know a single ambulance company that after hearing somebody was shot 3 times, including one in the head, would not send an ambulance and suggest that you drive the injured person yourself. That’s ludicrous.
3. There is an arterial spurt pattern seen randomly between the bathroom and the top of the stairway landing that also hit some of the furniture down below. That is the EXACT location that Oscar’s memory disappears and then magically reappears as soon as it hits the middle landing. He was very specific about that detail. WHY? What happened in that section of the home that he doesn’t want us to know? If there is spurt, her heart was beating there. I feel very confident that he was intentionally holding off medical help and waiting for her to die. Baba testified that when he arrived at Oscar’s front door along with the Standers, Oscar was standing at the top of the stairs with Reeva in his arms. He didn’t start walking down the stairs until he saw them. Oscar was not expecting the security guards or Dr. Stipp… he was only expecting the Standers. I think he had a big “oh shit” moment when he saw Baba and company. At that point he had to kick it in to gear and get Reeva down the stairs and pretend that he was helping her.
4. The Baba phone calls are a no brainer. Why does he not remember saying “everything is fine” to Baba? Because how in the world could he possibly explain that statement.
5. This one is a no brainer too. I can’t blame him for not wanting to be associated with plastic bags, rope and tape at a crime scene. Yea, that looks pretty bad. He and Clarice were using large plastic garbage bags to stop Reeva’s bleeding. Have you ever heard of anybody using a plastic bag to stop bleeding? They had towels right there at their disposal. The only things that plastic bags are good for at a crime scene are disposal and cover-up. There is no way that Oscar was going to peg himself as the one who suggested to grab bags, rope and tape. He says that Clarice asked for the rope and tape and he just can’t possibly remember who went to get them. I think that Oscar grabbed these items on his trip downstairs when he supposedly went down there to open the front door. What was he going to do with them? I shudder to think about it.
6. The Justin Devaris phone call took place at 3:55am. I’m not totally sure on this one because Justin has not testified but I’m guessing that Oscar may have made comments to him that now don’t fit his story, hence not wanting to have to explain them.
Nel wants Oscar to tell the court what happened after he arrived at his estate just after 6pm on February 13. He states he went in to the house, chatted with Reeva, went upstairs, came downstairs and they had dinner.
Nel wants to go through it in more detail.
Oscar says they had dinner just shortly after 7pm. Nel establishes from Oscar that this is the last time both of them ate. Reeva prepared chicken stir fry for dinner. Neither Oscar nor Reeva had anything else to eat that night. Nel says this is roughly 7 hours before she was killed and Oscar says it was roughly 8 hours. Not sure why he would want to make it even longer because at 8 hours there would definitely be nothing left in her stomach. Remember, the Medical Examiner, Saayman, testified that based on the food in her stomach she could have eaten within 2 hours prior to her death.
Nel asks if it’s possible that she got up to eat without Oscar knowing it and he says he doesn’t think so.
That night, Oscar was surfing the net on his iPad, texting on his phone and he made a phone call to his cousin as well. While Oscar was on the phone with his cousin, Reeva was doing yoga exercises on the carpet.
Reeva then got up and went to the bathroom and she called him to brush his teeth. She was just finishing and went back in to the bedroom and got in to bed. Oscar brushed his teeth and went back in to the bedroom as well. The TV was on and Reeva had her phone with her.
Oscar climbed in to bed on the left hand side (closest to the bathroom.) This side is not his usual side. He was sleeping on that side because he had a shoulder injury and couldn’t place weight on his right shoulder. Oscar says he was mostly been sleeping on this side since he hurt his shoulder. When Reeva wasn’t sleeping over he slept in the middle of the bed. When she was sleeping over, he slept on the left side so he could face her.
Nel asks Oscar if he was the one who put the fans in the doorway and he says yes. The large fan had one leg outside and the front two legs were inside. The small plastic fan was beneath that fan between the two legs. Oscar’s prosthetic legs were placed next to the bed on the right side, closest to the balcony. They were lying flat on the ground, one on top of the other. Oscar then got in to bed and that’s when he started texting his cousin.
Nel wants to go back to when he got in to bed after brushing his teeth. Reeva was watching TV and they were looking at Reeva’s phone together. They were looking at pictures of homes. Oscar was on his iPad finishing some things up or looking at some things. The TV was playing and they were just kind of chatting. Nel asks him “so you were on your iPad after you phoned your cousin?” and Oscar says “I remember that, my Lady.”
Oscar then grew tired. He was telling Reeva that he was falling asleep. She was still showing him pictures on her phone. He asked her if she was tired and she said no she wasn’t so he asked her when she went to sleep would she bring the fans in and close the doors and she said yes. He laid on her stomach and had his arm around her legs and he fell asleep.
Nel asks him if she was ever on his iPad that evening. He remembers that they had a conversation about if they could each have 5 of their favorite cars in the world what would they be and they were googling and sharing pictures of those cars.
Oscar says that when he got home it was only him on his iPad but when they got in to bed that night, they were looking at things on her phone and his iPad together.
Nel asks him if he’s aware that the iPad was found on the floor and he is aware of that. Nel asks him where and Oscar says on the right hand side where Reeva was sleeping. Nel asks him why it would be there. Oscar says that’s where she would have placed it. He fell asleep with the iPad and she must have put it there.
Nel asks what woke Oscar up that night. He thinks because it was humid and hot. Nel asks him if he ever told anybody he woke up in a cold sweat because he heard a noise. Oscar says he never said that to anybody.
Oscar then said he sat up in bed, rubbed his face, Reeva asked him if he couldn’t sleep and he said he can’t. He got out of bed and was feeling around the side of the bed as he walked around. He brought the small fan in first, then the big fan. He closed the doors, locked the doors and drew the curtains.
Nel asks if Reeva was wide awake when Oscar spoke to her. He’s not sure but they establish that she spoke to him first and called him baba. She said “can’t you sleep, baba”. Nel asks “you can still remember that?” And Oscar says yes.
Oscar then replied to her “No, I can’t.” He says there was no other conversation. Nel asks him if they discussed that she hadn’t brought in the fans and Oscar says no.
Nel asks what was the position of the lights? Oscar says the lights were off. Nel says the balcony light was on and Oscar agrees.
Nel then says so you could see inside the room at that point and Oscar says there was a little bit of light in the room but the curtains were closed and draped around the sides of the fans which eliminated much of the light. Oscar states “the room was by no means light.”
He had enough light to see the fans and bring them in but when he drew the curtains it was pitch black. Nel asks if he could see Reeva when he woke up. Oscar says he didn’t look at her. When he woke up he had his head in his hands, rubbing his face.
Nel asks him if it was easy for him to close the curtains. Oscar says yes, he used the heavy curtains to balance himself. It also was not hard for him to close the sliding doors. There was nothing in the way.
Nel inquires, Reeva didn’t say a word after that and Oscar says no she didn’t. And Oscar didn’t see her get up. Nel asks him why. Oscar says his back was to the room, he was busy bringing in the fans and closing the doors.
Nel points out, considering she is on the right side, she is a maximum of 2 meters away from you. Nels says “you are telling the court you didn’t see her get up?”
Oscar gets defensive, says he’s only 5 feet tall without his legs on (I’m not sure what that has to do with anything as he can still see up over the bed at that height) and he was looking in the opposite direction placing the fans. He doesn’t know how she got up out of bed and considers that maybe she walked out at the foot of the bed.
Nel asks him if he will agree with him that it’s strange that Oscar didn’t see her and he does not agree. He says it was pitch black and she was behind him so it’s not strange at all.
Nel points out then that she must have gotten up only when he closed the curtains because prior to that it wasn’t pitch black. Oscar says he doesn’t know when she got up.
Nel wants to know if he heard her get up and Oscar says no, he had the fans blowing in his face and he didn’t have his legs on and the fan was at the same level as his face.
Oscar is getting frustrated. Nel is trying to establish when she got up. It would have to be sometime in the short timeframe that she spoke to him, he got out of bed, moved the fans and closed the curtains. Oscar goes on to say the only light that could be seen in the room after the curtains were closed was the LED light on the amplifier. Oscar states again he could barely see anything in the bedroom. Nel asks, but you can see the denim. And Oscar says yes.
Nel points out that his evidence in chief was different. He testified with Roux that he was able to see the denim because of the light from the balcony. Oscar says he first saw the denim when he originally got up out of bed and walked to move the fans. Nel points out to him that when he would have bent to pick up the denim, he would have been facing the passageway. Oscar doesn’t agree.
Nel then asks him if he walked over the duvet to get to the denim. And Oscar says no, the duvet was not on the floor.
Nel asks him how it got there and Oscar says he’s not sure. He did not put it on the floor at any time. Nel then asks, so if it wasn’t you or Reeva that put it on the floor, who was it?
The police who were there that morning all gave evidence that it was on the floor. Nel wants to know if they were all lying. Oscar reminds the court that in Hilton Botha’s first statement he said that the bedding was on the one side of the bed. He said it in Afrikaans. And Oscar remembers it being on the bed.
Nel tells him no, the statement was made in Afrikaans, Oscar didn’t understand it. Botha stated that it was on the carpet on the one side of the bed. Oscar disagrees.
At this point Oldwage made a comment that could be heard by Nel and Nel says to the Judge that if the Defense would like to object they can stand up. Oldwage says he was discussing it with Roux and they very well may object. The Judge tells him it’s not proper to be whispering while Nel’s on the floor.
Nel says that Van Rensburg was the first on the scene, before Hilton Botha got there, and he testified that the scene was the same as the photo.
Roux stands up for objection. He points out that Van Rensburg said it was the same as in the photo in direct but in cross examination he had difficulties remembering. Nel disagrees and says if the Defense wants to make an objection they should read the record. The Judge agrees. Roux is going to find it and they will come back to it. Nel moves on.
Nel asks Oscar if Van Staden is to be believed that he saw the scene the way it is shown in the photo, then somebody else on the scene prior to him arriving had to have moved the duvet. Oscar agrees.
Nel challenges him, so a policeman put the duvet there? Oscar doesn’t know, he just knows that it wasn’t on the floor.
Nel reminds Oscar that yesterday he asked him if there was anything wrong with the photograph and Oscar said no. Oscar doesn’t remember speaking about this photo yesterday.
Nel wants to know where Oscar remembers the duvet being last. He says on the bed. Nel asks if Reeva was under the duvet and Oscar says yes. Nel says “so you saw that?” Oscar says that he didn’t have the duvet on him at all. Reeva had the duvet over the bottom part of her legs. Nel says “that’s interesting.. so, I didn’t see Reeva but I can now tell the court that the duvet was covering the bottom part of her legs.”
Oscar goes in to another bizarre explanation that he knows she had the duvet because he pushed it to that side. Nel asks him again if he had the duvet on him and he says no. So why then did he need to push it to the side? He says because he had to rotate his legs to get out. It still doesn’t make sense. If there’s no duvet on him, he doesn’t have to push it anywhere to get out of the bed.
So Nel wants to get on record as fact that Oscar could see that Reeva’s legs were under the duvet. Now all of a sudden he doesn’t want to say that exactly. He says he saw the duvet going up, a silhouette, so he assumed it was her legs. Nel tells him that he is once again adapting. First he said he didn’t see because his face was in his hands and now he’s saying he can remember seeing a silhouette. “You are adapting your version.”
Oscar’s response is fantastic. Here is his quote:
“When I got out of bed, I wasn’t holding my face until after I got out of bed, I rubbed my face and then I turned to get out of the bed. When I moved the duvet I saw that the duvet went up and from that I can deduct that Reeva at least her legs were under the duvet.”
This is almost as good as the story about the Valentine’s Day present he bought for her.
Nel establishes with Oscar that he did see the duvet being pushed up by Reeva’s legs. While he was getting out of the left side of the bed and walking around the bed, Reeva could not have gotten up at that time otherwise he would have seen her. He agrees to all of that. Oscar is able to exclude that she got up out of bed on the right side. Nel then says according to your version, we have to remove the duvet from the floor and Oscar agrees.
Nel then asks Oscar was there any other time after that in which he saw the duvet on the bed. Oscar says yes, when he sat on the bed to put on his prosthetics after he had opened the balcony door.
Nel looks at the photo again with Oscar and asks him what else is wrong with it. What else shouldn’t be where it is? Oscar says the fan couldn’t possibly have been where it is because it’s in the way of the balcony door opening.
Remember, after the shooting, and after discovering the toilet door was locked, (according to Oscar’s version) he ran back to the bedroom and opened the curtains and door and yelled for help. There’s no way he could have done that with the fan (and the duvet) where it is.
Nel says, “indeed.” Oscars response, it must have been moved. Nel says, it never happened. Oscar also points out that he wouldn’t have been able to open the curtains that much if he was in a hurry, so clearly the curtains were moved by the police too. Nel tells Oscar, “your version’s a lie. You never closed the curtains in the first instance and that’s why you have to come up with things.”
So Nel wants to confirm, we now have the police moving the duvet to the carpet, moving the big fan further to the left and opening the curtain wider. Oscar says that’s correct.
Nel asks him what else. Oscar says some of his watches went missing. Nel says “indeed” again.
Nel points out that Roux never challenged Van Rensburg or Van Staden on them moving these items. Oscar doesn’t remember if they were or not. Nel points out that in them doing this, they would make his defense difficult. He wants to know from Oscar if he’s right. Oscar doesn’t agree with that comment.
Nel says “That door was open when you and the deceased got in an argument, the fan was just there, the duvet was there and the curtains in that exact same position.”
Roux objects Nel stating the argument between Oscar and Reeva as fact. It hasn’t been entered in evidence as such. Roux wants that on the record.
Nel says “I will build my case to say that when you got up, you had an argument, that’s why she ran away screaming.”
Roux wants it phrased as an assumption. Nel says its circumstantial evidence. The State has evidence of screaming. They cannot rely on eyewitness evidence because the one witness they would need is dead. Nel states circumstantial evidence is evidence and Roux knows that. Nel says that the only reasonable inference that can be made from the screams is an argument and the Judge wants him to refer to it as a reasonable inference.
Nel then says to Oscar “My inference is, as the only reasonable inference, that the deceased ran screaming from there, that’s why we heard screams, and that door was never closed.” Oscar says “that’s not true, my Lady.”
Nel goes back to the photo and asks what else is missing. Oscar says nothing comes to mind. Nel says he’s going to help him out. The smaller fan. Nel wants to know why he forgot about that fan, that’s important to the story. Oscar is no longer arguing and just saying “that’s correct.”
So now we are up to four items that the police would have had to move. They would have had to move the small fan further to the right, so that they could put the duvet on the floor, and then move the big fan to the left and open the curtains wider. Oscar agrees that is correct. He wants the court to believe that all of these items were moved in this manner by the police.
Nel wants to know if this is a conspiracy. Why would they do all this to you? Oscar doesn’t know. Nel says one thing they know they can exclude is that the police didn’t move the items based on his version because they didn’t know his version at the time. Oscar says he doesn’t know what you can include or exclude but the fact is that things were moved and things were placed.
Oscar points out that the light is on in this photo and the light was not on that morning. He says that as fact. So Nel asks him if he ever switched on the light. Oscar says he doesn’t remember switching it on. So Nel asks the obvious, how can you state as fact that it was off if you don’t remember if you turned it on? Furthermore, why wouldn’t it be on.
According to his version of events, wouldn’t he have switched a light on after the shooting when he was running around the room putting his legs on, getting the bat, etc. It just makes sense.
Oscar says there was enough light with the balcony door open. I didn’t have time to think about switching on a light.
Oscar states that his next point is very important… he was putting on his prosthetic legs on the right side of the bed where they were laying and there’s no way the fan could have been where it was if he needed room to put on his legs.
So Nel says, you show us where the fan was when you brought it in. Oscar says it was in the fixed (not swivel) position, facing the bed right where the duvet is in the picture. The smaller fan was to the right of it, also facing the bed.
But Oscar makes a point to say that his back was facing the bed the whole time.
Nel points out that yesterday when they discussed that same photograph Oscar never said anything about the fans being in that position.
Oscar says he’s not sure it came up in questioning.
Nel points out that if the white extension cord plug remained in the position that it’s in on the photo, the fan could not have been where Oscar says he put it.
Oscar says he doesn’t know how long the cord is. Nel says look at the cord, it’s not possible.
Nel tells Oscar, “your version is so improbable that nobody would ever think it’s reasonably possibly true.” Nel asks Oscar if he would like to comment on that and he doesn’t so they move on.
Nel wraps up the day by showing Oscar a picture of the small fan and points out that it looks like the cord is underneath the speaker. Oscar says that’s not true. On the photo that he has in front of him he can see the cord in front of it. Nel says they will look at it over night and resume tomorrow.