Former track star Oscar Pistorius, charged with killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, is reportedly negotiating with her parents – hoping to reach a deal and avert a potential civil lawsuit before the end of his criminal trial.
It’s been almost a year since the model was gunned down by Pistorius at his home on Valentine’s Day. The Paralympian claimed it was a tragic mistake, saying he fired at Steenkamp through a bathroom door thinking she was an intruder.
Prosecutors say it was premeditated.
Barry Bateman, who covers the trial for South Africa’s Eyewitness News, is writing a book about the case. He says authorities want to show that Pistorius has anger issues.
“What the state is now going to do, they want to show that he’s a violent person... that he's a gun-toting hot head,” Bateman said.
Pistorius could end up paying Steenkamp’s parents $185,000 to $275,000, according to reports in South Africa. The Steenkamp family has declined to comment, saying it is a private matter.
Last year, the Steenkamps appeared on South African channel M-Net describing the moment they got the news about their daughter.
“I said, ‘yes?’" recalled June Steenkamp, Reeva's mother, said in an interview with the program “Carte Blanche.”
"He said, ‘There’s been an accident and she’s been shot,’ and I said, ‘all I want to know is if she’s alive or she’s dead.’ And he said, ‘I’m sorry to have to tell you … but she’s dead,’” June Steenkamp said. It wasn't clear who she was talking to during that awful phone call.
Now, the man known as “Blade Runner” is gearing up for the fight of his life. Pistorius’ agent Peet van Zyl says his client is focusing on his legal situation. The trial is scheduled to start in a few week and if convicted he could be sentenced to 25 years in prison or more.
Pistorius has hired an all-star defense team, including U.S. forensics and ballistics experts, to clear his name.
A female judge, Thokozile Masipa, was recently appointed to preside over the trial.