Brent WillockJun 6, 2023
The Wrongful Conviction of Oscar Pistorius
Science Transforms Our Comprehension of Reeva Steenkamp's Shocking Death
Torchflame Books 2018
Just when the world thought Oscar Pistorius’ meteoric rise to Olympic glory and international celebrity had terminated abysmally in prison, Brent Willock’s scientific perspective reopens this gripping narrative for an astonishing re-view. Olympian Oscar Pistorius’ spectacular assent to fame ground to a screeching halt in the wee hours of Valentine’s Day, 2013. Hearing a sound emanating from his bathroom, he grabbed his pistol and he stumbled to the washroom, screaming at the intruders to leave. Fearing someone was about to emerge to harm him and his girlfriend, Reeva, he fired four bullets into the bathroom. Soon he realized he had killed his lover. Horrified, he summoned the authorities. The investigating detective believed this was yet another case of an escalating argument where a man murdered his partner. World opinion is split. Some believe Oscar. Others are convinced he committed a despicable crime of passion.
In The Wrongful Conviction of Oscar Pistorius: Science Transforms Our Comprehension of Reeva Steenkamp's Shocking Death (Torchflame Books, 2018), distinguished clinical psychologist Brent Willock brings an entirely new perspective to bear on these horrific events: that Oscar’s horrific actions occurred while he was in a state of paradoxical sleep, also known as parasomnia. Throughout this book, Willock uses scientific scrutiny and legal precedence to resolve the crucial anomalies surrounding the Oscar Pistorius trial. Willock also discusses how mental health experts and the defense team might have overlooked the hypothesis of parasomnia that could have exonerated Oscar. Millions who followed the Blade Runner’s astonishing achievements, uplifted and inspired by his triumph over physical adversity, were crushed by his precipitous plunge from grace. They were baffled. Even Oscar himself, in a television interview shortly before his sentencing, achingly asked, “I always think, How did this possibly happen? How could this have happened?” At last, Willock’s elegant work responds to these poignant questions that have so plagued and pained Reeva’s family, friends, Oscar, and, indeed, the world.
Karyne Messina is a licensed psychologist and psychoanalyst at the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis and am on the medical staff of Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. She is the author of Resurgence of Populism: A Psychoanalytic Study of Projective Identification, Blame Shifting and the Corruption of Democracy (Routledge, 2022).