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Pistorius defense tries to rebuild case

PRETORIA, South Africa — Oscar Pistorius' lawyers tried to roll back the prosecution's momentum at his murder trial Wednesday after the star athlete's shaky testimony, presenting a forensic expert who quickly found his own credentials and findings sharply questioned.

With Pistorius now back watching the proceedings, the double-amputee Olympian's defense team attempted to bolster his account that he shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by mistake through a toilet door in his home, thinking she was an intruder. Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder in Steenkamp's death in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

But former police Officer Roger Dixon, testifying for the defense, also appeared unsteady as chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel warned him it was irresponsible to "try and be an expert" in areas he was not. Nel said in his cross-examination that Dixon was not an expert in light, sound, ballistics, gunshot wounds or pathology — all areas about which he was testifying.

Dixon worked at the police forensic laboratory in Pretoria until he left the force in December 2012. He was a specialist in analyzing materials at crime scenes.

Earlier, the judge ruled that proceedings will adjourn until May 5 after today because a member of the prosecution team has another case to attend to.

Oscar Pistorius listens to evidence in the Pretoria High Court on Tuesday in Pretoria, South Africa.

Getty Images

Oscar Pistorius listens to evidence in the Pretoria High Court on Tuesday in Pretoria, South Africa.

Pistorius defense tries to rebuild case 04/16/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 10:33pm]
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