Shocked Pistorius weeps as court heard murder charge

PRETORIA – South African Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius broke down as he was formally charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Prosecutors said they intend to pursue a charge of premeditated murder.
The athlete made history at the London 2012 Olympics becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete in the able-bodied Games. Net photo.
The athlete made history at the London 2012 Olympics becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete in the able-bodied Games. Net photo.

PRETORIA – South African Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius broke down as he was formally charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Prosecutors said they intend to pursue a charge of premeditated murder.

Dressed in a dark suit, Pistorius, 26, stood with his head bowed audibly weeping on Friday as magistrate Desmond Nair read out the single charge.

Nair outlined the prosecutors’ case, indicating that Pistorius stood accused of “premeditated murder.” He said a bail hearing would be postponed until Tuesday, allowing the defense more time to prepare.

More than 100 people, including the athlete’s father and sister, were packed into Pretoria Magistrate’s Court a day after the body of 30-year-old model, Steenkamp was found shot dead in his apartment.

Little is currently known about the death of his girlfriend, although South African media reported on Friday that the shots that killed Steenkamp were fired through a bathroom door. They quoted witnesses saying they heard a heated argument prior to gun shots.

Police have not confirmed that report, but have played down earlier reports that Pistorius may have mistaken her for an intruder.

Shot four times

Addressing a crowd of reporters on Thursday, police spokeswoman Brigadier Denise Beukes said a gun recovered at the scene belonged to the Paralympian.

“She was hit by four shots,” Beukes said, adding that wounds were found in the head and hand.

“It’s a 9mm pistol. It is a licensed firearm. It is licensed to Mr. Pistorius,” Beukes said.

She added that previous incidents of a “domestic nature” had been reported at the athlete’s luxury home in a gated complex in Pretoria.

Historic career

Commonly known as the “blade runner,” Pistorius made history in 2012 when he became the first double amputee to compete in the Olympic Games.

He went on to win gold in the 4x400-meter relay and the 400-meter individual at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. The athlete also took home gold medals at the Beijing Paralympic Games four years earlier in the 100-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter races.

Pistorius races wearing carbon fiber prosthetic blades, having had both legs amputated below the knee as a result of a congenital condition before his first birthday.

Last year he was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine.

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