- Nastasya Tay at Yahoo Sports3 hrs ago
PRETORIA, South Africa – At the end of the proceedings Wednesday, Oscar Pistorius leaned his head against his aunt's handbag and hunched over next to the dock, allowing her hand to stroke his hair as if he were a child.
It was the first day since the defense opened its case more than a week ago that the former Olympic star – who shot and killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year – did not have to take the stand.
The prosecution says Pistorius opened fire on his girlfriend after a heated argument in a case of premeditated murder. Pistorius remains adamant it was a tragic accident and that he mistakenly believed her to be an intruder.
In a case in which the murder-accused is the only living witness, much hinges on the testimony of expert witnesses interpreting the physical evidence left at the scene. But the specialists appear to be finding little common ground.
On the penultimate day of testimony before the court adjourns for two weeks, the defense attempted to contest state forensic findings in an effort to piece its case back together after several days of damaging cross-examination with Pistorius in the witness box.
Oscar Pistorius Trial Day 23: Steenkamp told Blade Runner 'I love you' for first time on night she diedNastasya Tay at Yahoo Sports1 day ago
PRETORIA, South Africa – On the envelope, there's the word "Ozzy", "with hearts and a squiggle," Oscar Pistorius said on the stand.
Inside: a card, from the girlfriend he shot and killed on Valentine's morning last year.
"Roses are red, violets are blue …" Pistorius opens it. "And then inside she wrote, 'I think today is a good day to tell you that … I love you,' " he read, his voice trembling but clear.
The note, in neat black ballpoint letters, is signed "Reeves," with a smiley face and three kisses.
It is the first time Reeva Steenkamp told the athlete – her boyfriend of a little more than three months – "I love you." A card she asked her "baba" to only open on Valentine's Day itself.
"No further questions."
With that, defense attorney Barry Roux ended his brief re-examination.
- Nastasya Tay at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
PRETORIA, South Africa – Oscar Pistorius appears to have two legal defense strategies. And both seem to be failing.
It was a heated fourth day of grueling cross-examination in Courtroom GD on Monday, with the Blade Runner breaking down several times as he repeatedly rehashed the minute details of the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day last year, when he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The prosecution says it was pre-meditated murder. The Paralympian remains adamant that he believed Steenkamp to be an intruder.
The athlete says he did not aim his 9mm Taurus at any point – neither at an intruder, nor at Steenkamp – but out of fear fired four shots through a bathroom door from where he says he heard a noise.
"Was it just lucky that your gun was pointed in the direction of the noise?" prosecuting attorney Gerrie Nel asked, his voice tinged with sarcasm.
"How would that be lucky? She lost her life, my lady!" Pistorius replied to the judge, becoming hysterical, his body heaving with sobs.
"No, Mr. Pistorius, you now try to get emotional again," said Nel, unsympathetic. "It's not worth your while."
- Nastasya Tay at Yahoo Sports5 days ago
PRETORIA, South Africa – "Did she scream at all whilst you shot her four times?" prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked Oscar Pistorius Friday, the Blade Runner's fifth day on the witness stand.
"No, my lady," Pistorius responded in a crackling voice, directing his answer to Judge Thokozile Masipa.
"Are you sure? Are you sure, Mr. Pistorius, that Reeva [Steenkamp] did not scream after the first shot?" Nel persisted. "Are you, Mr. Pistorius?"
The athlete fell silent, stiffly staring at some fixed point ahead, expressionless. The courtroom waited for his response.
Moments went by, without a word. Then Pistorius emitted a deep sigh of resignation, leaning back, dropping his shoulders into his chair, his face frozen, blank.
"My lady, I'm giving him the witness time to console himself," Nel told the judge. "He is distressed, I'll wait a bit."
Making an effort to compose himself, Pistorius straightened up. Taking a breath, he looked directly at Judge Masipa.
- Nastasya Tay at Yahoo Sports6 days ago
PRETORIA, South Africa – The length of an electrical cable, a duvet tossed on the floor, the position of some curtains – it is these tiny details that could be the undoing of Oscar Pistorius' account of what happened on Valentine's morning last year when he shot and killed his girlfriend.
The circumstantial evidence, captured in police photographs of the scene, seemingly contradict the athlete's detailed account of what happened in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14. He says he fired at Reeva Steenkamp, believing her to be an intruder, but the prosecution maintains it was premeditated murder.
Silently staring at a court monitor showing a photograph of his bedroom, which he previously said he could find no fault with, Pistorius drew a breath. The image showed a stainless steel fan standing in between the gap in the balcony's sliding doors.
"The fan couldn't have been there," he said, turning back to prosecutor Gerrie Nel. "It would have been in the way when I went out on the balcony to call for help."
"Yes," said Nel. "Yes, Mr Pistorius."
- Nastasya Tay at Yahoo Sports7 days ago
PRETORIA, South Africa – The prosecution's cross-examination of Oscar Pistorius was always expected to be tough, but the photograph – a graphic close-up of Reeva Steenkamp's brain injury – seemingly came out of nowhere during the former Olympic star's murder trial on Wednesday.
After viewing a video of himself firing a .50 caliber handgun at a watermelon – then shouting, "It's softer than brains, but [expletive] it's a zombie-stopper!" – Pistorius, 27, acknowledged his comment was, in hindsight, "distasteful."
"You can see the effect the ammunition had on a watermelon, it exploded. Am I right?" prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked.
"That's correct, my lady," Pistorius replied to the judge.
"You know that the same happened to Reeva's head," Nel said. "It exploded, have a look. We must show you, Mr. Pistorius. It had the exact same effect as the bullet that went into her head."
- Nastasya Tay at Yahoo Sports8 days ago
PRETORIA, South Africa – Oscar Pistorius' voice started breaking on his words.
"I looked in [the toilet] … then I sat over Reeva and I cried. … I don't know how long. … I don't know how long I was there for. She … she wasn't breathing …"
He faltered into silence, chest heaving on the witness stand inside Courtroom GD, until his sobs became uncontrollable. Head in his hands, he wailed openly, wildly, his body shaking, shoulders racked with short, frantic breaths.
The Paralympian's despairing howls were met with stony-faced incredulity on half of the gallery's front bench, as Reeva Steenkamp's family and friends watched his emotional breakdown impassively.
As court was briefly adjourned, a tearful Aimee and Carl Pistorius ran to their brother, embracing him and leading him away from the witness stand.
"My client's shirt is wet. He is very emotional," defense attorney Barry Roux told the judge when proceedings resumed. "I can't responsibly ask the court to carry on." The judge agreed, ending Tuesday's testimony 30 minutes early.
- Nastasya Tay at Yahoo Sports9 days ago
PRETORIA, South Africa – These days, Oscar Pistorius is too scared to sleep.
Some nights, the Blade Runner wakes to the "smell of blood," terrified.
"I have terrible nightmares about things that happened that night," he told the court Monday. "If I hear a noise, I wake up, just, in a complete state of terror."
It was fear of a different kind, he contends, that led to what happened in the early hours of Valentine's morning last year, when he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
In the months after the shooting, Pistorius says he couldn't sleep for weeks, losing a significant amount of weight. He is now on a changing cocktail of sleeping tablets and anti-depressants.
It is the first time the court has heard testimony from his own mouth.
The athlete has so far given two written statements – a detailed account of events during his bail hearing, which he then supplemented at the beginning of the trial – both of which were read aloud to the court Monday by his lawyers.
- Nastasya Tay at Yahoo Sports14 days ago
PRETORIA, South Africa – On the night Oscar Pistorius fired four bullets through a locked bathroom door, claiming he feared an intruder was on the other side, his non-descript luxury house, with its putty-colored walls and neat lawn, was fitted with an alarm system and motion-detector beams that swept across his garden. The home also housed two pit bulls and the subdivision had a 24-hour security service on patrol.
So serious about security is Silver Woods estate, the subdivision where Pistorius lived, that even the movements of guards are tracked. To ensure they're doing rounds and not just pretending, guards are required to swipe an electronic key at specific checkpoints throughout the night.
Yet, as Pistorius tells it, all of those safety measures still failed to allay his panic on Valentine's Day last year, when he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
- Nastasya Tay at Yahoo Sports22 days ago
PRETORIA, South Africa – As the prosecution in Oscar Pistorius' murder trial rested its case Tuesday, a member of the star athlete's family told journalists from the front row of the public gallery, "He's ready" to take the stand.
Pistorius appeared resigned but resolute, murmuring as he left court, "It's a tough time. We've got a lot of stuff ahead of us."
The Paralympian, accused of premeditated murder of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013, is expected to testify Friday. It is respected practice in the South African legal system for the accused to give evidence before any other defense witnesses are called.
But when asked if the athlete would be on the stand before the end of the week, his legal team remained cagey. "We'll see about that," defense lawyer Kenny Oldwadge said.
"I don't think we've got a choice, it's a question of when," Pistorius' advising attorney, Brian Webber, said of the likelihood of his client's testimony. South Africa's constitution allows Pistorius to refrain from testifying in his own defense.