Olympian Oscar Pistorius strapped on his prosthetic legs, walked across his bedroom and fired four shots into a locked bathroom door to kill his girlfriend, a court in Pretoria was told Tuesday morning.
“He prepared. He armed himself. The motive was, he wanted to kill,” the prosecutors said.
The 26-year-old athlete sobbed through his bail hearing as prosecutors described the night Reeva Steenkamp was killed.
Barry Roux, lawyer for Pistorius, argued that few facts are known of the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013. He told the court that without witnesses there is no way to prove his client knew who was behind the bathroom door. “There is no concession this is murder,” he told the court.
Based on the evidence so far, the judge said there is no reason to exclude the possibility of premeditated murder.
In a statement read into the court, Pistorius denied murder. Here is more of that statement, as excerpted by The Mirror:
I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder, let alone premed murder because I had no intention to kill.
I had no intention to kill my girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
I love my country.
I have been informed I have been accused of murder – I deny the false accusation in the strongest terms. There is no substance to the allegations.
Nothing can be further from the truth that I planned the murder of my girlfriend.
On the night, Reeva was doing yoga exercise in the bedroom and I was watching TV. My legs were off.
I am acutely aware of people gaining entries to homes to commit crime. I have received death threats before. I sleep with a 9mm under my bed.
I woke to close the sliding door and heard a noise in the bathroom. I felt a sense of terror and believed someone had entered my house.
I did not have my prosthetic legs on and felt extremely vulnerable. I had to protect Reeva and myself.
I didn’t switch the light on. I moved towards the bathroom and screamed at the intruder.
I was on my stumps when I fired shots through the bathroom door and shouted Reeva to call the police.
I went back to the bedroom and it dawned on me that it might be Reeva in the bathroom. I was mortified. I kicked the door open and called for security and paramedics.
I carried her downstairs as I was told not to wait for paramedics. She died in my arms.
In hindsight I realize that Reeva went to the bathroom when I got up to close the balcony door.
After the shooting I did not try to flee. I waited for police. I will not evade trial.
In the prosecution’s version of events, Pistorius walked across the bedroom to the locked bathroom and intentionally fired four shots through the door. Three of the bullets hit Steenkamp, killing her. “She locked the door for a purpose. We will get to that purpose,” said prosecutor Gerrie Nel.
Reuters reports that while a crush of journalists worked to get seats in the courtroom, protesters outside carried signs that said “No Bail for Pistorius” and “Rot in jail.”
“It is a sad day, it’s a painful day,” said demonstrator Mosy Mathe, a member of the ANC’s Women’s League. “Whatever happened there, we are coming to say we’ve come on behalf of Reeva. Just to support her and say, even if you are no more, your sisters are standing here to see that justice is carried on.”
The case has been adjourned until Wednesday and the judge has still not ruled on whether Pistorius will get bail.
Elsewhere in South Africa, friends and family were remembering the short life of Reeva Steenkamp. “There’s a space missing inside all the people she knew that can’t be filled again,” her brother Adam Steenkamp told reporters outside her funeral.
In an interview published in Times of South Africa on Monday, Steenkamp’s mother, June, said she can’t make sense of what has happened. “Why my little girl? Why did this happen?” she said.
“She had so much of herself to give and now all that is gone. Just like that, she is gone… In the blink of an eye and a single breath, the most beautiful person who ever lived is no longer here.”
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013