Experts say prosecutors still have work to do

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Associated Press

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 6:05 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 15 at 7:04 PM

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Five days on the witness stand -- and a withering cross-examination from a prosecutor -- have ended for Oscar Pistorius at his murder trial in South Africa.

But despite the prosecutor's focus on apparent inconsistencies in the testimony of the double-amputee track star, legal analysts say the effort to prove that Pistorius deliberately killed his girlfriend could be undermined by expert witnesses who will testify for the defense.

Prosecutor Gerrie (HEHR'-ee) Nel called Pistorius a liar and unleashed volleys of barbed questions, as the Olympian often fumbled for answers and occasionally broke into sobs. But experts say the trial has a long way to go.

Testimony is expected to continue until mid-May. But the trial reached a key stage last week when Pistorius took the stand to testify about the night he shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp through a toilet door. He says he thought there was an intruder there, but prosecutors say he deliberately shot her after an argument.

Kelly Phelps, a lecturer in the public law department at the University of Cape Town, says prosecutors accused Pistorius of changing his account mostly on "smaller details," but that he stuck to the "core parts of his story."

%@AP Links

138-a-16-(Llewelynn Curlewis (loo-EHL'-ihn kur-LOO'-ihs), criminal attorney and legal analyst, in interview)-"it's the later (sic)"-South African legal analyst Llewelynn Curlewis says there are two possible reasons Oscar Pistorius' lawyers kept him on the stand for just nine minutes after he was cross-examined for five days. COURTESY: Sky News ((mandatory-on air credit)) (15 Apr 2014)

<<CUT *138 (04/15/14)££ 00:16 "it's the later (sic)"

139-a-07-(Llewelynn Curlewis (loo-EHL'-ihn kur-LOO'-ihs), criminal attorney and legal analyst, in interview)-"himself, the accused"-South African legal analyst Llewelynn Curlewis says the prosecution has no choice but to completely break down the Pistorius defense to get a conviction on the intentional homicide charge. COURTESY: Sky News ((mandatory on-air credit)) (15 Apr 2014)

<<CUT *139 (04/15/14)££ 00:07 "himself, the accused"

GRAPHICSBANK: Oscar Pistorius, sprinter, leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, graphic element on gray (15 Apr 2014)

APPHOTO XDF112: Oscar Pistorius listens to evidence being given in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, April 15, 2014 after questioning by state prosecutor Gerrie Nel, had earlier finished. Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Alon Skuy, Pool) (15 Apr 2014)

<<APPHOTO XDF112 (04/15/14)££

APPHOTO XDF113: Oscar Pistorius holds his head in his hands as he listens to evidence being given in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, April 15, 2014 after questioning by state prosecutor Gerrie Nel, had earlier finished. Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Alon Skuy, Pool) (15 Apr 2014)

<<APPHOTO XDF113 (04/15/14)££

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