Valentine’s Day is for lovers. It is a day to honor and celebrate one’s partner, as well as to create memories for the future. However, relationships aren’t always rosy… and where passions run high, danger can soon follow. These four cases prove that, for some, cupid’s arrow can be fatal:
On Valentine’s Day in 2013 a groggy Oscar Pistorius had been awakened by noises coming from down the hall. As a double amputee, Oscar had to attach his “blades” to his legs to walk (and had done so successfully in the Olympics as a champion runner). But, this night, he didn’t feel he could do so safely, so he crawled down the hallway toward the noise he’d heard, certain that it was an intruder. When he reached the closed bathroom door, he used his gun and shot through the door four times.
It resulted in the death of his South African model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Though a psychiatric evaluation found that Pistorius suffered from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, the report also concluded that his disorder would not have interfered with his interpretation of reality, or the ability to perceive right from wrong. And, at trial Pistorius was never quite able to explain how he missed that Reeva wasn’t next to him in bed when he awoke, or how it would be logical to think that it was she that was in the bathroom.
After a time of legal wrangling, Pistorius ended up receiving a 13-year sentence for culpable murder.
Across the globe on the same Valentine’s Day in 2013, missionary Nathan Leuthold of Peoria County, Illinois hid in a closet and waited for his wife to come back to her parent’s home (where the couple were staying). After she arrived, he exited, argued with her briefly and then shot her in the head with a .40 caliber Glock.
After he executed her, Leuthold staged a break-in and called the police. Unfortunately for him, he was apparently a better missionary than he was an actor…he was arrested within three hours because the cops surmised that he “wasn’t acting right.”
At Leuthold’s trial it came out that he was having an affair with Aina Dobilaite, the 21-year-old Lithuanian foreign exchange student that the Leutholds had sponsored to study in the US. Shooting Denise (Nathan Leuthold’s wife) was supposedly a “Valentine’s Day present,” for his young mistress. And, before the murder, Leuthold was preparing Dobilaite to become the stepmother to he and Denise’s three children. Luckily for them, the jury wasn’t having any of it. They found him guilty in less than three hours of deliberation and the Judge sentenced Leuthold to 80 years in prison.
[The next two cases are featured in My Bloody Valentine, Part 2]