Dateline   |  February 28, 2014

Oscar Pistorius: The Race of His Life part 5

The shooting took place during a warm South African night. People were sleeping with their windows open and prosecutors claim they have witnesses--neighbors of Oscar's--who heard things.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> four shots through a door, no question oscar pistorius fired them and that he killed reeva steenkamp. the day oscar was arrested, the case against him looked open and shut. but just a few days later, it seemed like the case might fall apart before it ever got to trial. reporter karyn maughan said the problem was the police.

>> they looked stupid. they looked really, really stupid.

>> turned out that the detective hilton bota had contaminated the crime scene, then claimed he found performance-enhancing drugs in oscar 's home, when the allegations turned out not to be true.

>> that kind of thing ultimately would prove to the defense and they would use this in arguments. the state, the police never wanted to believe his side of the story. they never made any attempt to do the most basic checks to see that he wasn't lying.

>> and incredibly, just days after he arrested oscar , detective bota was charged with attempted homicide for firing his own pistol into a minivan full of passengers the previous year during a police pursuit . within a week, bota was off the case.

>> i actually think that him being removed was the best case --

>> best thing for the case?

>> the best thing that could have ever happened.

>> because, said karyn maughan, police were able to put one of the top detectives in the country on the case.

>> he's brilliant. he's really one of south africa 's best police officers . i think the state has put a huge amount of work and a huge amount of money and a huge amount of efforts into making their case.

>> a case that the prosecution argues is just as simple as it looked on day one.

>> you can't deny that reeva was killed by himself at his house and that four shots were fired at her.

>> attorney nathi mcnube in an exclusive interview with dateline previewed cautiously the prosecution's case against oscar .

>> what everybody will be watching for is whether or not he intended to kill her.

>> absolutely.

>> and you sound like you're pretty confident the prosecution has enough to be able to prove that?

>> we would not have charged him if we didn't believe so. he knew that reeva was in the bedroom and he intended to kill her.

>> proof, he said, starts with the bathroom door itself.

>> the bullet holes, if you measure a person, how high were they if a person is standing or kneeling, with or without his legs and so on, it's part of our argument.

>> since oscar 's arrest, it's been widely reported the bullet holes angled downward and prosecutors plan to argue that oscar was wearing his prosthetic legs when he fired at reeva, thus that he was lying about feeling helpless and frightened. but just last week, a revelation contained in a prosecution document obtained by karyn maughan and her network, enca. the document confirms oscar 's account, saying that the shooter was most likely not wearing his prosthetic legs. but then the report goes on to say the amount, trajectory and grouping of the shots fired indicated direct intention to kill. prosecutors will argue that oscar did know, that he intended to kill reeva. although why he killed her is another question. the document leaked last week says prosecutors believed the two argued, but don't know the details of the argument. there were early reports that a text or e-mail from a previous lover may have been what started it all, and remember reeva had her smartphone with her when she died. was there anything on reeva's phone that told you -- that gave you useful information?

>> i don't know if i can respond to that without divulging the nature of the evidence.

>> as for what was on oscar 's phone, after a year of legal wrangling, only now are south african detectives in the u.s. meeting with apple and the fbi. they expect to have the contents of his phone today. one indicator there may have within a fight was the way reeva was dressed. one official had told us that reeva was wearing clothes when she was shot.

>> we believe that reeva was probably running away and she locked herself in the bathroom.

>> what's the prosecution's theory about the fact that she was wearing white shorts and a blacktop?

>> it cannot be explained as of n now. the accused can try to take a stand and say she decided to put on clothes to go to the bathroom or she decided to sleep in clothes, i'm not going to put my nighties on. we can't tell. it's not something that we can actually talk about.

>> the prosecution report leaked to karyn maughan said the deceased was clothed when she was shot. he said it will be central to the prosecution's case.

>> there is a piece of evidence around the clothes that would suggest what happened. to comment on it now would be to disclose a lot of our thinking around the case before the time.

>> two months after he was indicted for reeva's murder, oscar was rung up on additional gun charges for allegedly firing a pistol from his car and at this up market cafe. nickel and dime charges, you might say, compared to murder. but the prosecutors had their reasons.

>> what they essentially are is a part of a strategy by the npa to present oscar pistorius as a trigger-happy cowboy who reached for his firearm in moments of stress.

>> like the time oscar tweeted about going into full combat recon mode when he heard a noise in the laundry room. what's interesting in that account is what oscar didn't do. he did not fire four shots through a door. so what about the time he actually did fire his pistol? during that awful night he took reeva's life. there is something unique about the 9-millimeter that is impossible to say without blowing out your speakers. it's an exceptionally loud round. 160 decibals, louder than a jet engine at takeoff. it makes your ears ring when fired. and according to prosecution spokesman nathi mcnube, many of oscar 's neighbors will testify they heard those gunshots and something possibly more damning. screams.

>> and it's not just, by the way, the scream. it's whether the people actually hear argument prior to this. you know, did you hear a woman shouting something, irritated and annoyed and angry and then screaming, shouting and so on?

>> the prosecution has named more than a dozen neighbors as potential witnesses. five of them, according to the report obtained by karyn maughan, said they heard arguing and shots followed by the screams of a woman and then further shots.

>> people said we had gunshot, scream, gunshot, scream. it's going to be pretty much hard for you to argue that you still didn't know that the person screaming was your girlfriend.

>> that looks bad for oscar pistorius . consider one last detail. a security guard phoned oscar shortly after the shooting to see if everything was in order. according to the report, oscar said he was fine and never asked for their assistance and did not make a report about the shooting incident. if that's true, how will oscar ever be able to explain it away?