Judge Thokozile Masipa Rules Blade Runner Oscar Pistorius Not Guilty of Premeditated Murder in the Death of Girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp … Still Faces “Culpable Homicide”(Update: Pistorius Found Guilty of Culpable Homicide)
Oscar Pistorius Found Not Guilty of Murder in Death of Reeva Steenkamp … Say hello to South Africa’s O.J. Simpson.
This morning Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled the Blade Runner, Oscar Pistorius, was not guilty of premeditated murder in the shooting death of his girl friend Reeva Steenkamp. The shooting took place on Valentine’s Day 2013. The judge ruled that the prosecution’s evidence to support a charge of premeditated murder was “purely circumstantial.” and “the state clearly has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder.” The judge went on to say that “there are not enough facts.” However, Pistorius is hardly out of trouble as he only has been found “not guilty” of the most serious murder charge. He still faces the lesser charges of “culpable homicide” in the shooting death of his girlfriend.
The judge presiding over the trial of Oscar Pistorius, the Paralympic athlete, cleared him of the two most serious murder charges against him on Thursday, almost certainly sparing him a long prison sentence. But then, after appearing to be on the verge of declaring Mr. Pistorius guilty of a lesser crime, culpable homicide, in the shooting death of his girlfriend, the judge abruptly suspended court proceedings for the rest of the day.
“We’ll have to stop here and resume tomorrow morning,” the judge, Thokozile Matilda Masipa, said less than half an hour after the session had resumed after a lunch break. She did not explain the adjournment.
Judge Masipa then turned to the lesser charge of culpable homicide, which is comparable to involuntary manslaughter, and said Mr. Pistorius had failed three tests to be exonerated of the charge. One considers what a “reasonable” person would have done under the same circumstances.
Reuters – Africa: Pistorius cleared of murder, culpable homicide verdict to come.
“I am of the view that the accused acted too hastily and used excessive force. It is clear that his conduct was negligent,” she told the packed courtroom before adjourning until Friday. She also said he had not acted “reasonably”.
Earlier, Masipa ruled that prosecutors, led by the combative Gerrie Nel, had failed to prove the 27-year-old intended to kill Steenkamp after an argument.
The defence said Pistorius shot Steenkamp as a result of a tragic accident after mistaking her for an intruder hiding behind a locked toilet door.
As Masipa delivered her not-guilty decision on the primary charge of premeditated murder, Pistorius, who would have faced at least 25 years behind bars if convicted, sat sobbing in the dock, tears streaming down his cheeks.
Culpable homicide – the South African equivalent of Britain’s manslaughter – carries up to 15 years in prison but has no minimum sentence.
Although Masipa described Pistorius as a “very poor” and “evasive” witness, she said it did not mean he was necessarily guilty in a case heavily reliant on circumstantial evidence
ABC News: Judge Masipa called Pistorius a “very poor witness” during the murder trial and found he was at times vague and avoided answering some of the prosecution’s questions. Despite that, she says this does not necessarily indicate his guilt. From the wording of the judge’s decision in the not guilty verdict of murder and premeditated murder,m it seems almost a certainty that she will find him guilty of culpable homicide.
A verdict on the charge of culpable homicide, similar to manslaughter in the United States, still remains. Pistorius also faces two counts of discharging a gun in a public area, as well as illegal possession of ammunition.
If he is found guilty of murder without premeditation, or culpable homicide, he could receive a 15-year sentence as a first time offender. Mitigating factors, such as his emotional state, anxiety levels and disability could result in a lesser sentence.
The Guardian: LIVE updated coverage of the trial of Oscar Pistorius.
Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide on Friday, escaping the more serious charge of murder for the killing of his girlfriend, and will now battle to avoid going to prison.
The 27-year-old double amputee, who became one of the biggest names in world athletics, stood impassively in the dock, his hands folded in front of him, as Judge Thokozila Masipa delivered her verdict.
Pistorius was also convicted of firing a pistol under the table of a packed Johannesburg restaurant but cleared of two other firearms charges – illegal possession of ammunition and firing a pistol out of the sun-roof of a car.
The Murder Trial of South African Amputee Track Star Oscar Pistorius (The Blade Runner) Accused of Killing Girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp Begins Today … Neighbor Testifies, ‘Bloodcurdling Screams’ the Night of the Killing (LIVE FEED)
The long awaited murder trail of Oscar Pistorius begins today in South Africa …
This morning, South African amputee track star Oscar Pistorius, otherwise known as the “Blade Runner” pleaded not guilty in court to the murder of his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Oscar Pistorius has been charged with the Valentine’s Day 2013 murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Follow the murder trial HERE at the UK Telegraph.
CNN: Pistorius neighbor testimony - ‘Bloodcurdling screams’ the night of the killing.
Talk of “bloodcurdling screams” and shots in the night took center stage Monday in the first day of testimony in the murder trial of South African amputee track star Oscar Pistorius, who killed his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, last year.
“Something terrible was happening at that house,” Michelle Burger testified.
“Her shouts, her screams were petrifying,” she said later.
Burger was the only witness Monday in a trial that is expected to last a few weeks. Testimony was scheduled to resume Tuesday morning.
Under questioning by prosecutors, Burger told the court that she heard a woman’s screams and a man yelling for help.
“Just after 3, I woke up from a woman’s terrible screams,” she said. “Then I also heard a man screaming for help. Three times he yelled for help.”
UPDATE I: LIVE FEED OF TRIAL BELOW:
Daily Commentary – Wednesday, February 12, 2014 – Talk at the Sochi Olympics is All About Bob Costa’s Eyes
- Seems many are talking about Bob Costa’s pink eye which spread from his left eye to his right. Someone even created a Twitter account for Bob Costa’s Eyes
What was the #1 story leading up to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, other than a possible terrorist attack? It was Russia’s views and laws that were anti-discriminatory against Gays.
So then why did NBC edit out the one part of the IOC’s statement during the opening ceremony that was commenting about Russia’s anti-discrimination” policies? As Buzz Feed reports, IOC president Thomas Bach made a strong statement against “any form of discrimination” and in favor of tolerance; however, no one in America watching the games saw or heard them because NBC conveniently edited them out. But of course NBC is no stranger to editing out important parts of the news are they (George Zimmerman 911 call). Hmm, why edit something that spoke so directly to what was considered an important part of the games? Please, and I do not want to hear about it being edited for time. There was much more of his speak that could have found it’s way onto the editing room floor.
What would the Peacock say?
More from Deadspin more on the edits and both VIDEO’s, one edited, the other not.
Good evening, dear Athletes. Mr president of the Russian Federation, Mr Secretary General of the United Nations, Good evening Olympic friends and fans around the world! Welcome to the 22nd Olympic Winter Games! Tonight, we are writing a new page in Olympic history.
What has been achieved in seven years is a remarkable achievement. I would like it thank, in again, the president of the Russian Federation and his Government. The Sochi organizing committee. The Russian Olympic committee. And the IOC members in Russia.
Thank you to all the workers for your great contribution under sometimes difficult circumstances. Thank you to all the people of Sochi and the Krasnodar region. Thank you for your patience, thank you for your understanding during these years of transformation.
Now you are living in an Olympic Region. I am sure you will enjoy the benefits for many, many years to come. Thousands of volunteers have welcomed us with the well-known warm Russian hospitality. Many thanks to all the wonderful volunteers. Bolshoi spasiba, valantyoram! Thank you very much to everyone. Russia and the Russians have set the stage for you, the best winter athletes on our planet. From this moment on you are not only the best athletes, you are Olympic Athletes. You will inspire us with your outstanding sports performances. You have come here for sports. You have come here with your Olympic dream. The International Olympic Committee wants your Olympic Dream to come true. This is why we are investing almost all of our revenues in the development of sports. The universal Olympic rules apply to each and every athlete- no matter where you come from or what your background is. You are living together in the Olympic Village. You will celebrate victory with dignity and accept defeat with dignity. You are bringing the Olympic Values to life. In this way, the Olympic Games, wherever they take place, set an example for a peaceful society. Olympic Sport unites people. This is the Olympic Message the athletes spread to the host country and to the whole world. Yes, it is possible to strive even for the greatest victory with respect for the dignity of your competitors. Yes, Yes, it is possible – even as competitors – to live together under one roof in harmony, with tolerance and without any form of discrimination for whatever reason. Yes, it is possible – even as competitors – to listen, to understand and to give an example for a peaceful society.
Olympic Games are always about building bridges to bring people together. Olympic Games are never about erecting walls to keep people apart. Olympic Games are a sports festival embracing human diversity in great unity. Therefore, I say to the political leaders of the world – thank you for supporting your athletes. They are the best ambassadors of your country. Please respect their Olympic Message of goodwill, of tolerance, of excellence and of peace. Have the courage to address your disagreements in a peaceful, direct political dialogue and not on the backs of the athletes.
To all sports officials and sports fans I say – join and support our fight for fair play, the athletes deserve it. To you – my fellow Olympic Athletes – I say, respect the rules, play fair, be clean, respect your fellow athletes in and out of competition.
We all wish you joy in your Olympic effort and a wonderful Olympic experience. To all of you – Athletes, Officials, Fans and Spectators around our globe – I say, enjoy the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games! And now I have the honour of inviting the president of the Russian Federation, Mister Vladimir Putin, to declare open the 22nd Olympic Winter Games.
UPDATE I: An NBC spokesperson stated “The IOC President’s comments were edited for time, as were other speeches, but his message got across very clearly to viewers.
New Olympic Terror Threats Ahead of Sochi Winter Games … US Warns Airlines About Toothpaste Tube Bomb
Just ahead of the start of the Sochi Winter Olympics and a new terror threat …
The United States Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning to US and some foreign airlines travelers to Russia for the Sochi Olympic Games to be on the look out for tubes of toothpaste. According to the ABC report, that cited a senior U.S. official, intelligence has indicated that toothpaste tubes can hold ingredients that could be used to construct a bomb aboard a plane. The information “specifically targets flights to Russia.” This threat was also linked to the arrests of two women in France. The women, reportedly 23- and 30-years-old, were of Chechen descent. Leading up to the Olympics in Sochi, there have been many terror attacks in the region, concerns of black widows already being in the area, and promises by Chechen terrorists of delivering “surprise packages.”
The Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning to U.S. and some foreign airlines traveling to Russia for the Olympic Games to be on the lookout for toothpaste containers, which some intelligence indicates may actually hold ingredients that could be used to construct a bomb aboard a plane, a senior U.S. official told ABC News.
The official did not provide further details about the warning or the intelligence that prompted it, but an official with the Department of Homeland Security, while declining to discuss the specific warning, said the department “regularly shares relevant information with domestic and international partners, including those associated with international events such as the Sochi Olympics.”
“While we are not aware of a specific threat to the homeland at this time, this routine communication is an important part of our commitment to making sure we meet that priority,” the official said. “As always, our security apparatus includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, and DHS will continue to adjust security measures to fit an ever evolving threat environment.”
A federal law enforcement source said the information is largely intended for foreign carriers and the generic threat is not directed at the U.S. homeland. The Russian government has been informed, the source said.
Going to the Olympics, leave your toothpaste at home.
In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper last week, U.S. President Barack Obama said that he believes “Sochi is safe.” Great, this coming from the man who said, if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your health care plan. Some how this is hardly a vote of confidence for the Winter Olympic Games.
With Terror Threats Ahead of Sochi Winter Olympic Games, American Athletes and Americans Urged Not to Wear Anything that ID’s them as Americans in Public
Sorry, but if this is what the Olympics has come to, then the terrorists have won …
The Olympic represent the pinnacle of National pride for the host country and for the athletes who represent their own countries competing in the games. But as reported by CBS News, Americans might be hard pressed to find the stars and stripes and team USA logos in Sochi. The Olympic committee told the US athletes not to wear anything that identifies them as American in public. Sadly, the gutless Barack Obama/John Kerry State Department agrees. So athletes and fans are not supposed to show pride and patriotism in the US, they are supposed to cower in fear. Why even go if that is the case? This speaks volumes of our current federal government an namely Barack Obama, doesn’t it!!!
It would appear that the motto of the Olympics of Citius, Altius, Fortius (faster, higher, stronger) has been changed to take part in your sport under the cloak of anonymity and hide from those who would kill you.
So let’s understand this, the US is succumbing to the threats of terrorists? Really? We are allowing terrorists to dictate what we do and how we act? What a gutless government we have. Sorry, but if the Olympic committee was really serious about any of this they would have never granted the Winter Olympic games to be held in the middle of a terrorist hot bed. How bad is it that athletes who have trained their entire lives for this one moment in time have to ask their families to stay how for safety reasons? What the hell was the IOC thinking in granting these games in the first place? Hey, I say the Summer games should be held in Egypt, Syria or Iran next. It makes about as much sense.
Has anyone ever told the IOC, Barack Obama and the State Department that you do not appease bullies, you stand up to them? Terrorists pride themselves upon fear and sadly Obama is showing that he is just that weak.
Olympic Teams From Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Slovenia Get Terror Threat Ahead of Sochi Winter Games
Will the Sochi Winter Olympics be terror free or are wee about to see terrorism on a world state in real time with social media 24/7?
Ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics and with previous video threats of terror acts promised to take place and with Russian authorities on high alert, it is now being reported that teams from Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Slovenia have received terror threats not to send their athletes to the games. Authorities are already on the look out for “Black Widow’s” and other terrorists ahead of the games. Needless to say, talk about a dicey situation.
The Olympic teams of at least five countries said Wednesday that they had received emails threatening attacks at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, adding to mounting security fears two weeks before competition begins.
The International Olympic Committee told NBC News that it did not consider the threats credible and said that it appeared to be “a random message from a member of the public.”
The Olympic organizing committees of Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Slovenia reported getting threats.
According to Zsigmond Nagy, an official of the Hungarian Olympic Committee, he stated the following“I am very pleased to inform everyone that both the IOC and the Sochi organizing committee … declared after the analysis of the letter that this threat is not real,” “This person has been sending all kinds of messages to many members of the Olympic family.” Hmm, not sure how this individual is so sure.
UPDATE I: The International Olympic Committee said Wednesday that the letter sent to the HOC did not represent any threat to athletes. I guess it all depends on how one defines a threat to athletes. However, the German team described the email as a “terror warning” with words to the effect of “be careful out there in Sochi” and the Italian Olympic Committee described the email as containing “terrorist threats.” That sounds much different that the IOC looking to present a positive front.
“The IOC treats security issues very seriously and forwards any reliable information to the security services. However, it appears that in this case, the letter sent to the HOC does not contain any threat,” an IOC spokesperson told R-Sport.
The Sochi organizing committee also assessed the letter and said there is no real threat, and that the author has also been sending messages to other countries competing in the Olympics, HOC international relations director Zsigmond Nagy told Reuters.
Urgent Search for the ‘Black Widow’ Suicide Bomber, Ruzanna Ibragimova in Sochi Ahead of Olympics (Update: As Many as 4 ‘Black Widows’ May be in Sochi)
Be on the look out for the ‘Black Widow’ in Sochi …
Russian security services and police are looking for Ruzana Ibragimova, the ‘Black Widow’ suicide bomber, also known as Salima, the 22 year-old widow of an Islamic militant killed by Russian security forces last year.
Russian authorities distributed in pictures of the ‘Black Widow,’ Ruzana Ibragimova. The posters describe her as having a limp in her right leg, a left arm that does not bend at the elbow and a 4-inch scar on her cheek. It is believed that she may already be in Sochi. Now NBC News is reporting that there may be as many as four “black widows” dispatched to carry out terrorist attacks related to the Winter Olympics. It is believed that these terrorists may have already breached the so-called “ring of steel”.
Things that Make You Go Hmm … Just curious, there was discussion ahead of the Olympics that they should be boycotted by the USA because of Russia’s laws against gays, yet it sounds like attending the Sochi Olympics is like playing terrorism “Russian” roulette and not a word about not sending athletes for their own protection.
Flyer handed out by Russian Authorities – ‘Black Widow’ – Ruzanna Ibragimova
Police in Sochi have launched an urgent search for a possible female suicide bomber who may have already made it past the ring of security set up for the Olympic Games.
Hotel employees in Sochi told ABC News that posters with pictures and descriptions of a 22-year-old woman from nearby Dagestan were distributed over the weekend by authorities and a similar flyer was also seen posted at Sochi’s airport.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Olympic Committee reacted to the revelation by saying that the safety of Team USA is their “top priority.”
“As is always the case, we are working with the U.S. Department of State, the local organizers and the relevant law enforcement agencies in an effort to ensure that our delegation and other Americans traveling to Sochi are safe,” spokesperson Patrick Sandusky said.
The woman featured on the wanted posters is identified as Ruzanna Ibragimova, using the nickname Salima, the widow of a militant reportedly killed in a shoot-out with police last year in Dagestan.
She is described as being affiliated with the Caucasus Emirate, the terror group led by Doku Umarov that has threatened attacks against the Winter Games in Sochi.
Ibragimova is described as having a 10 centimeter scar across the left cheek, a pronounced limp, and a stiff left arm that doesn’t bend at the elbow.
VIDEO – CNN: Hunt for “black widow” bomber in Sochi.
This announcement comes on the foot-heals of the VIDEO tape received by the two individuals that were terrorist bombers who promised to a “surprise package” to be delivered during the Sochi Winter Olympics. The real question is, are the Olympics safe from terror and how in the hell was Sochi ever given the Olympics in the first place?
Not to worry, Barack Obama thinks that this is just the jayvee.
Police have killed a senior Islamist militant in a shootout in Russia’s North Caucasus ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the National Anti-terror Committee said on Tuesday.
The shooting of Eldar Magatov, a suspect in numerous attacks on Russian targets, at a house where he had taken refuge in the Dagestan region was part of an intensifying security clampdown as the Games approach.
Video Surfaces Threatening Terrorist “Surprise Package” for the Winter Olympics in Sochi … Are the Olympics Safe from Terrorism?
A new video was posted Sunday on a Chechen terrorist extremist web site threatening terror attacks for the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia. The video threatens jihad and that, “We’ll have a surprise package for you,” one of the men said in the militants’ video. “And those tourists that will come to you, for them, too, we have a surprise.” This comes on the foot-heals of two terrorist bombings in the Russian city of Volgograd. One was a suicide bombing at a train station killing 14, and the other aboard a trolley bus.
Citing a new “surprise package” for Russia and Olympic spectators, Islamist militants in the North Caucasus Sunday launched a new threat to the Sochi Olympics with a purported “martyrdom” video by two suicide bombers who attacked a transit hub 400 miles away.
The video posted on a Chechen extremist site considered a credible platform for militant statements featured two unidentified men before the black flag of jihad and cradling AKMS rifles.
The duo — dressed in street clothes and without the usual trappings of jihadis — casually explained that Russians and those attending the Winter Games next month will not be safe as long as forces sent by President Vladimir Putin occupy the North Caucasus region near Sochi, Russia.
“We’ll have a surprise package for you,” one of the men said in the militants’ video. “And those tourists that will come to you, for them, too, we have a surprise. If it happens [the Olympics], we’ll have a surprise for you. This is for all the Muslim blood that is shed every day around the world, be it in Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, all around the world. This will be our revenge.”
The American Thinker asks, Can the Russians pull off a terror-free Olympics? My personal opinion is I sure hope so; however, I have to agree with TAT, I don’t trust the Russians to be competent enough either. Also, these Muslim, Islamist, Chechen extremists are highly motivated and off the chain insane when it comes to martyrdom in the name of Allah.
I don’t trust the Russians to be competent enough to prevent attacks and protect the Olympics. To me, it’s not a question of “if” but “when” an attack will happen. People are willing to die to make Putin look bad. That does not bode well for the safety of tourists or athletes at the games.
The U.S. State Department today urged Americans traveling to the Winter Olympics in Sochi in southern Russia to be “vigilant and exercise good judgment” during the Games because of the continuing terrorist threat to the region.
The Russian government is devoting considerable resources to ensure the Sochi Olympics are safe and incident-free. Large-scale public events such as the Olympics present an attractive target for terrorists, as did the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996. Travelers should expect increased police presence and enhanced security measures in and around the Olympic venues.
Acts of terrorism, including bombings and hostage takings, continue to occur in Russia, particularly in the North Caucasus region. Additionally, between October 15 – December 30, 2013 there were three suicide bombings targeting public transportation in the city of Volgograd, two of which occurred within the same 24-hour period. Other bombings have occurred at Russian government buildings, airports, hotels, tourist sites, markets, entertainment venues, schools, and residential complexes. There have also been large-scale attacks on public transportation including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights.
UPDATE I: Putin pledges stepped up security.
Putin has pledged that visitors to Sochi for the Winter Olympics will be kept safe.
“We will try to make certain that the security measures are not intrusive or too conspicuous, so they are not too noticeable for the athletes, the Olympics’ guests or journalists,” Putin said, according to the interview transcript.
“But at the same time, we will do our utmost to ensure that they are effective.
UPDATE II: Just curious, how in the hell did Sochi actually get awarded the 2014 Winter Olympics when it was in such a terror rich environment? How does the Olympic comity even contemplate a place like this in a hot bed of terrorism as the location for an Olympics? Sochi is due west of Grozny, Chechnya, and is about a 13 hour drive. Also, the Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the ethnic Chechen brothers lived in Dagestan, which neighbors the Chechnya region in southern Russia. What’s there next pick, Iran, Palestine, how about Syria?
Freelance journalist Ilya Mouzykantskii (@ilyamuz) has put together a map of all terrorist attacks near Sochi since Russia was awarded the Olympic games
Posted January 20, 2014 by Scared Monkeys
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Just ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi Russia … What will security be like for the Winter Games?
A second terrorist suicide bomb in Volgograd Russia in less than 24 hours ripped through a trolleybus Monday morning killing 14 and injuring at least 28 people. The bomb detonated in a trolleybus, packed with morning commuters, at about 8:10 a.m. local time and was the second suicide terror attack in less than 24 hours. Just yesterday a suicide bomber at a train station in Volgograd killed at least 14. The latest updated number of deaths fronm the train station is now at 16. As reported at USA Today, no one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing in Volgograd, but it came several months after Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov called for attacks against civilian targets in Russia, including the Sochi Games.
A fatal bomb explosion ripped apart a trolleybus in Volgograd on Monday morning, killing at least 14 people and injuring 28, in the second terrorist attack in the southern Russian city in less than 24 hours.
Several of the wounded, who officials said included a six-month-old infant, are in serious condition.
Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said that investigators believe a male suicide bomber carried out the attack, which he said was linked to another fatal bombing in the city on Sunday afternoon.
Authorities believe the first explosion, which killed 17 people and injured more than 40 at the Volgograd-1 railway station, was also the work of a suicide bomber.
Markin said that remains of both suspected bombers, which were recovered at the scenes, are undergoing DNA testing.
Monday’s blast marks the third such attack in Volgograd in two months, and comes just weeks before Russia is due to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in February in the city of Sochi.
The bomb detonated in a trolleybus, packed with morning commuters, at about 8:10 a.m. (0410 GMT), the Investigative Committee said.
Together more than 30 people were killed in the explosions, putting the city of one million on edge and highlighting the terrorist threat Russia is facing as it prepares to host February’s Winter Games in Sochi, President Vladimir Putin’s pet project. While terrorists may find it hard to get to the tightly guarded Olympic facilities, the bombings have shown they can hit civilian targets elsewhere in Russia with shocking ease.
Volgograd, located about 650 kilometers (400 miles) northeast of Sochi, serves as a key transport hub for southern Russia, with numerous bus routes linking it to volatile provinces in Russia’s North Caucasus, where insurgents have been seeking an Islamic state.