Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial: Defense Won't Present Runner As First Witness; Experts Weigh In On Strategic Value
Oscar Pistorius' attorney Brian Webber said the paralympian won't be the leadoff witness when his murder trial resumes in South Africa next week, RadarOnline.com has learned.
Webber said prosecutors have given Pistorius, 27, the OK to delay taking the stand in his murder trial, as he stands accused of killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, 29. (South African legal statutes dictate that defendants are traditionally the first witness. unless the court OKs a revised lineup.)
Instead, Jan Botha, a forensic pathologist, is slated to be the first witness called for the defense.
Expert Roy Black, a venerated defense attorney, said the adjustment makes for a sound strategic gambit for Pistorius and his legal team.
"You always want the defendant testifying at the end, rather than at the beginning," he told ABC News, noting that Pistorius must "convince the court that he did not hear Reeva screaming after he began shooting" for the move to pay off.
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As we previously reported, should Pistorius be convicted of premeditated murder, he could be sentenced up to life with a 25-year minimum sentence. If convicted of murder, he could face up to 15 years in custody. With no jury trials in South Africa, his fate rests in the hands of presiding judge Thokozile Masipa.
In South Africa, where Pistorius had been acknowledged as a sports superstar, the legal proceedings have been dubbed "the trial of the century"-- the same moniker media pundits in the states referred to the O.J. Simpson trial that began 20 years ago.