Someone else was inside Oscar Pistorius' home in Pretoria, South Africa, the night the athlete shot his girlfriend to death -- his longtime housekeeper, Frank Chiziweni.
Chiziweni was sleeping in his room off from Pistorius’ kitchen on Valentine’s Day 2013. His presence was revealed in court Monday, when a neighbor testified that Chiziweni greeted her at the home. In the 16 months since the shooting, it was believed that only Pistorius and victim Reeva Steenkamp were in the residence.
The defense and prosecution have declined to call Chiziweni, a Malawian, to the stand. They believe he wouldn’t have said anything. Following the shooting, he told police that he “heard nothing” that night, sleeping through what witnesses who lived 200 yards away described as “bloodcurdling” screams.
Pistorius’ neighbors demonstrated those screams in court today. Witnesses Rita Motshuane and Eontle Hillary Nhlengethwa mimicked the high-pitched, almost howling cries they heard after Pistorius shot his girlfriend to death.
Pistorius is accused of premeditated murder in Steenkamp’s death, but he argued he mistook her for an intruder.
None of the witnesses called today heard a female scream, a stark contrast to the state’s witnesses, who testified about hearing screams and a woman’s voice.
Nhlengethwa’s husband, Mike Nhlengethwa, testified that Pistorius introduced Steenkamp to him as his fiancee, a meeting that occurred days before the shooting. When Nhlengethwa went to shake Steenkamp’s hand, she instead opened her arms and hugged him.
Nhlengethwa said Pistorius, with whom he shared a passion for cars, told him he wanted to move from Pretoria to Johannesburg, South Africa, to be with Steenkamp, a model and reality TV star.
Nhlengethwa was sad about the prospect of his neighbor moving away, but it was worth it for a woman like Steenkamp, he said.
The trial was adjourned to Thursday, as elections are scheduled for Wednesday in South Africa. Defense attorney Barry Roux apologized for not having more witnesses available to call today, but he reassured the court that it will not interfere with the trial’s projected time frame. Roux is confident that he will be able to end his case by next Tuesday, May 13.
- Crime & Justice
- Society & Culture
- Oscar Pistorius
- Reeva Steenkamp