On Tuesday “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius maintained that he shot his girlfriend by mistake as prosecutors charged the double-amputee Olympian with premeditated murder, Jon Gambrell and Gerald Imray of The Associated Press report.Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said that after a shouting match, Pistorius put on his artificial legs and walked the 20 or so feet to his bedroom before firing four handgun rounds into the locked bathroom door, killing his Reeva Steenkamp in cold blood.
“If I arm myself, walk a distance and murder a person, that is premeditated,” Nel said, noting that a burglar is unlikely to lock the bathroom door. “The door is closed. There is no doubt. I walk seven meters and I kill.”
The defence contended that the facts surrounding the shooting in the early hours of Thursday were unclear.
“Was it to kill her, or was it to get her out?” defence lawyer Barry Roux asked about the broken-down door. “We submit it is not even murder. There is no concession this is a murder.”
Pistorius, 26, said in an affidavit read by Roux that he felt vulnerable because he wasn’t wearing his prosthetic legs when he fired at the bathroom door — thinking a burglar had entered his home. Only then, according to the sworn statement, did he realise that Steenkamp, 29, was not in his bed.
“It filled me with horror and fear,” according to the statement, which Pistorius couldn’t read the statement because he was sobbing.
The defence says Pistorius then put on his prosthetic legs and tried kicking down the door before bashing it in with a cricket bat to find Steenkamp, 29, shot inside. He said he ran downstairs with her to try and save her, but “She died in my arms.”
The Valentine’s Day shooting death has shocked South Africa and Olympic fans everywhere as last year Pistorius became the first double-amputee track athlete to run at the Olympics. (The runner was born without fibula bones and had them amputated when he was 11 months old.)
The magistrate ruled that Pistorius faces the harshest bail requirements available in South African law. A conviction of premeditated murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in jail.
Pistorius will now have to prove “exceptional circumstances” for any chance to earn bail.
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