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"He has an exaggerated response to danger"


"He has an exaggerated response to danger"

Photo Reporting: Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp at the SA Sports Awards Gala Dinner at the Sandton Convention Centre on November 04, 2012 in Johannesburg.

PRETORIA, South Africa -- While Oscar Pistorius has spent his whole life downplaying his disability, now his legal team is emphasizing it in a bid to see him acquitted of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

On the last day of closing arguments, the defense team tried to portray the Olympic and Paralympic track star as a tragic hero who feels desperately vulnerable on his stumps, reports CBS News' Debora Patta.

Defense lawyer Barry Roux said it was "well-known" in the medical community that with a disability like Pistorius', over time, people develop an "exaggerated" fight response as their limited mobility gives them no option to flee a perceived danger.

Roux told the judge, who will alone decide Pistorius' fate under South Africa's jury-less justice system, that the sprinter has always carried with him the fear that he cannot run from danger.

He maintained that as a result of Pistorius' disability and his exaggerated response to danger, he shot his girlfriend by mistake through the locked door of the bathroom in his luxury home, thinking she was an intruder.

"We have two Oscars," Roux insisted, suggesting the real Pistorius was a vulnerable, nervous man -- far from the image of confident sports hero portrayed in the global press for years prior to the Valentine's day 2013 shooting.

The defense team has accused the prosecution of purposefully ignoring key facts in a bid to incriminate Pistorius.

Lead state prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who gave his closing arguments Thursday, has portrayed Pistorius as a lying witness and as a man with a short temper and an obsession with guns. The prosecution says Pistorius never believed there was an intruder in his home and instead shot Steenkamp knowingly after an argument as she tried to hide from him in the bathroom.

After Roux finished his closing argument, Judge Thokozile Masipa announced that she would deliver her verdict Sept. 11.

Source: © 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.



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