Pistorius bawls in court as prosecutors detail girlfriend’s death

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PRETORIA, South Africa (CNN) — Oscar Pistorius sobbed uncontrollably in a Pretoria courtroom Tuesday as prosecutors described how they say he murdered his girlfriend.

The state said the killing was premeditated: Pistorius armed himself, attached his prosthetic legs and walked 7 meters before shooting Reeva Steenkamp, who had come to spend the night, through the bathroom door, prosecutors said.

Pistorius fired four times, prosecutors said; Steenkamp was struck thrice inside a locked bathroom.

He “shot and killed an innocent woman,” senior state prosecutor Gerrie Nel said.

As Nel spoke, Pistorius buried his face in his hands.

But defense attorney Barry Roux said the shooting was not premeditated; Pistorius shot his girlfriend thinking she was a burglar, he said.

The prosecution doubted that assertion, asking why a burglar would lock up in a bathroom.

But Roux questioned how the prosecution would know Pistorius attached his prosthetic legs and walked to the bathroom. Police have said Pistorius and Steenkamp, now deceased, were the only ones in the home.

The global sports hero, known as the “Blade Runner,” was in court for a bail hearing Tuesday. The last time the world saw images of Pistorius was when he was initially charged Friday, when the track star crumbled upon hearing the word “murder.”

The courtroom scenes are a far cry from the packed stadiums that erupted in applause for the double-amputee who dared to compete against men with legs.

Police have released little about a possible motive in the Valentine’s Day shooting of his girlfriend.

Items found in Pistorius’ home suggest Steenkamp intended to stay the night. She had an overnight bag and her iPad, a South African official familiar with a case said Monday.

The 29-year-old model was alive after she was shot, and Pistorius carried her wounded body downstairs, said the official, who was not authorized to release details to the media.

Police were alerted to the shooting by neighbors, and residents had “heard things earlier,” spokeswoman Denise Beukes said.

A police spokeswoman said there had been “previous incidents” at the home, including “allegations of a domestic nature.” They did not detail what those may been.

Detectives are investigating a blood-stained cricket bat in the home, Johannesburg’s City Press newspaper reported, and are trying to determine whether it was used to attack Steenkamp, if she used the bat in self-defense, or if Pistorius used it to try to break down the bathroom door.

Pistorius, 26, has rejected the murder allegation “in the strongest terms,” his agent said in a statement.

As the drama in court unfolds, friends and family will mourn Steenkamp at a private funeral service in her hometown of Port Elizabeth.

On Sunday, South Africans heard Steenkamp’s voice one last time after her death, when the national broadcaster aired a pre-recorded reality TV show featuring the model discussing her exit from “Tropika Island of Treasure,” on which local celebrities compete for prize money.

“I’m going to miss you all so much and I love you very, very much,” she said, blowing a kiss to the camera.

Robyn Curnow reported from South Africa; Holly Yan reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s Nkepile Mabuse also contributed to this report.


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