Pistorius reappears in court over Reeva Steenkamp killing
World-famous Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius appeared at a hearing in Pretoria magistrate’s court today for the alleged murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius was formally charged for the murder of Miss Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day this year and was today told that his bail conditions remain the same. A judge has now set his trial date for 3rd March next year.
At an earlier hearing Pistorius claimed that he had woken up in the middle of the night and immediately grabbed his gun to protect himself and Miss Steenkamp, who was staying the night.
He then shot four bullets with a 9mm pistol through the bathroom door, hitting Steenkamp three times and killing her. He claims that he thought she was an intruder.
The indictment states: “Even then, the accused shot with the direct intention to kill a person. An error in persona will not affect the intention to kill a human being.”
“Some of the State witnesses heard a woman scream, followed by moments of silence, then heard gunshots and then more screaming,” it read.
Court documents show that more than 100 witnesses will be called to give evidence at the trial, including one of Pistorius’ ex-girlfriends.
However, the most telling evidence may be in records on mobile phones found at Pistorius’ home and through examination of the toilet cubicle door.
Prosecutors claim that he had time to put his artificial legs and retain a charge of premeditated murder. If convicted Pistorius faces a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years in prison.There is no death penalty in South Africa.
The Sunday Times reports that the state will seek to portray Mr Pistorius as a “trigger-happy, aggressive” personality who was “prone to violent outbursts”.
Pistorius was nicknamed “the blade runner” after being the first amputee to compete at an Olympic game. He reached the semi-final, becoming a hero in his home country. He went on to win a gold medal as part of the South African 4 × 100 metres relay team at the Paralympics a month later.
The Olympian had been dating the South African model for two months before the killing. Miss Steenkamp would have celebrated her 30th birthday today.