TODAY

TODAY   |  February 22, 2013

Oscar Pistorius set free on bail

Though the judge admitted he has problems with Pistorius’ account of the night he allegedly shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, he set the Olympian free on bail, citing mistakes made by the prosecution.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we want to start with the breaking news of the oscar pistorius case. decision on bail is expected at any moment. in south africa for us this morning. michelle, good morning to you.

>> hi, savannah. this really is going to happen today. pistorius ' family looks extremely nervous. tears in their eyes, stress all over their faces and in their words. pistorius , though, looked much more relaxed, far less emotional than we've seen. at the beginning of today, his attorney grabbed his clasped hand and said we're going to be all right. do you hear me? he quietly responded, thank you. oscar pistorius entered the court with a calm demeanor, looking more collected, even more confident than we've seen. then head lowered, eyes closed. prosecutors picked up their arguments, ripping into pistorius ' account of what happened the morning reeva steenkamp was killed in which he claimed he was screaming, yelling for her to call police about a burglar and her in the bathroom, without him knowing it. according to prosecutors, she did not say a word. she did not scream. she did nothing. it's so improbable. it's not true. even on pistorius ' statement that he ran back into the bedroom, saw reeva wasn't in the bed and realized what had happened. i would imagine you would look everywhere for her. downstairs. where is she? it doesn't make sense to think, i shot reeva because she's not here. it would come later not immediately. slept with open windows and doors, why he wasted time to unlock the front door before carrying her down and criticize what they describe as pistorius ' attitude of i've done nothing wrong and looking forward to business as usual . today his coach of nine years, confident pistorius will be released from jail, said he would like to start training him again monday. pistorius has no plans to race, he thought training would be the best thing for him right now.

>> i think just to get his mind sort of clear. the sooner he can start, the better.

>> outside that courtroom, a debate over this has been everywhere. you hear people arguing about it in the streets.

>> i think he's not a monster.

>> reporter: his defense has insisted whatever the alleged actions or circumstances may be, there is no evidence this is murder at all. but pistorius was in a panic that night to save reeva, whose friends watched this hearing minutes away from a ruling now and remember her.

>> she actually sent me a message at the beginning of the month and said, this month is going to be amazing. it's going to change our lives forever.

>> reporter: even though this has turned into something of a mini trial, the only big questions here are is pistorius a flight risk? the courtroom laughed at that suggestion. is he dangerous or a threat to justice? do you think it would be a shock to the community if he was released? the attorney said given some of the problems we've seen with the state's evidence and witness, it would be a shock if he was not. we'll find out soon in about half an hour, savannah.

>> michelle kosinski , thank you so much.

>>> roy black is a criminal defense attorney, joins us here in miami. roy, good morning to you.

>> good morning, savannah.

>>> first question, do you think this is a case where bail will be granted, should be granted?

>> i think it will be granted. in my estimation, it's clearly not premeditated first-degree murder. it's some type of, at best, negligent homicide or accident.

>> in a high-profile case like this, is a judge aware of and likely to be persuaded by whatever he thinks public sentiment might be if he lets someone like this out of jail?

>> the judge is a human being . they're impressed by the press, by the country. he even asked questions during the hearing. what's going to be the reaction if i grant the bail or don't grant the bail? judges are very sensitive to the reaction to their rulings.

>> we've already seen a lot of evidence for a bail hearing , more than we would typically see for a bail hearing in this country. size up the prosecution's case. i know you're a defense lawyer , but put your more objective hat on at this moment. the story that pistorius tells, it's possible. is it plausible?

>> i think it is plausible for this reason. when you wake up in the middle of the night , you're not thinking as well as you are during the day. so he could be disoriented. he could be confused. i think the most telling part is they claim this is a premeditated murder . but somebody doesn't plan to kill somebody that after shooting them calls security, calls for the paramedics, pick them up, run doupwnstairs and try to perform cpr on them. that's very different than an intent to kill. it could be negligent homicide because he did a lot of stupid things while it was going on. but i don't see premeditated murder .

>> when you say negligent homicide , that's some intent to kill reeva steenkamp? that's something against the intruder theory?

>> no, a culpable negligence. we would call it manslaughter. you don't intend to kill but your actions are so dangerous they put other lives in danger.

>> a lot to work with, with the police investigation. the lead defendantive removed from the case, facing attempted murder charges of his own and has to acknowledge pretty significant missteps. is this just a gift to the defense team?

>> this is, let's say, a serious problem into the prosecution's case. this guy has been in charge of the case for seven days. the chief investigator is in charge of collecting all the evidence. in a case like this, the forensic evidence , little pieces of things they pick up are more important than anything else. in a murder trial, 90% of the trial is not witnesses but the forensic evidence . now we have a man under indictment, in charge of picking up the evidence and he misses bullets, he doesn't wear protective clothing , at lealeaves stuff on his shoes. all kinds of missteps.

>> you could go to south africa and make this argument.

>> i would love to.

>> great to get your perspective.