News / Africa

Pistorius Trial Adjourned After Star Witness Breaks Down

Pistorius Breaks Down During Testimonyi
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
Pamela Dockins
April 08, 2014 4:00 PM
South African runner Oscar Pistorius broke down in sobs Tuesday as he described the moment he realized he had fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his Pretoria home. As VOA's Pam Dockins reports, his emotional recount of last year's shooting took place during his second day of testimony at his murder trial.
Video report by Pam Dockins
VOA News
A South African court adjourned Oscar Pistorius' murder trial until Wednesday to allow the athlete to regain composure after he broke down and cried on the witness stand Tuesday, as he described the moment he realized he had fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

The South African runner, testifying for a second day in his murder trial, said he initially thought an intruder was in his Pretoria home when he fired shots through a locked bathroom door.

"I flung the door open. I threw it open and I sat over Reeva and I cried.  I don't know how long.  I don't know how long I was there for.  She wasn't breathing," he said.
 
  • Oscar Pistorius leaves the high court in Pretoria, April 14, 2014.
  • Oscar Pistorius outside the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, April 10, 2014.
  • Jane Steenkamp, Reeva Steenkamp's mother is comforted by a relative after her dead daughter's picture was shown on screen during the trial of Oscar Pistorius at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, April 9, 2014.
  • Family members, including uncle Arnold Pistorius, right, cry as they listen to Oscar Pistorius testifying in court in Pretoria, April 8, 2014.
  • Oscar Pistorius becomes emotional during his trial at the high court in Pretoria, April 7, 2014.
  • Members of the public crowd around Oscar Pistorius as he leaves the high court, Pretoria, March 12, 2014.

  • Oscar Pistorius cries as he prays with his sister Aimee and brother Carl at his indictment at the magistrates court in Pretoria, August 19, 2013.
  • This aerial image taken from video provided by VNS24/7 shows the home of Oscar Pistorius in a gated housing complex in Pretoria, Feb. 14, 2013.
  • Olympian runner Oscar Pistorius posing next to his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, Jan. 26, 2013.
  • Oscar Pistorius celebrates winning the men's 400 meter final during the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Sept. 8, 2012.

Several people in the audience wiped their eyes as Pistorius recounted the events leading up to Steenkamp's shooting.  After an adjournment, the judge canceled testimony for the rest of the day.

Earlier Tuesday, the defense focused on Pistorius' relationship with Steenkamp.

He told the court that prior to the night he shot Steenkamp, the two had discussed future travel plans and decorating a new house in Johannesburg.

“There were many things that we had in common that we started speaking about more frequently, and there were events that she invited me to and vice-versa, and we started really seeing a future with each other,” he said.

Pistorius also read aloud text messages sent by Steenkamp, as his lead defense lawyer led him through a series of conversations that depict times the couple fought, reconciled and lived happily.

“I’m scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me and of how you will react to me. You make me happy 90 percent of the time, and I think we are amazing together,” he said.

The defense is trying to convince the court that Pistorius is not guilty of murdering Steenkamp.

Prosecutors say Pistorius intentionally shot her, while the defense says he thought he was shooting at a nighttime intruder.

On Monday, Pistorius apologized to Steenkamp's family before answering questions about his life before and after the February 2013 shooting, as well as the difficulties caused by his carbon-fiber prosthetic legs.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges of pre-meditated murder and three firearm-related offenses.  If convicted, he faces 25 years to life in prison.

Pistorius is known as the "blade runner" for his prosthetic legs.  He became the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics when he ran at the 2012 games in London.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Not Again from: Canada
April 08, 2014 12:58 PM
A performance deserving an oscar; fortunately the facts are very clear- a screaming in terror woman; a closed door with absolutely no possible threat to this shooter; 5 shots, through a closed door, when in fact he was supposed to fire one warning shot, and ask for a response; for the first few month his composure showed no remorse.

Speculation- given the number of shots fired in the blind, almost emptied the magazine, without showing any humanity/restraint, a great deal of anger is demonstrated,and not fear; it was a clear continuation of an argument, that escalated into the merciless execution of this unarmed, innocent woman. Her error was to hang around with a really bad person, that is self centred with an uncontrollable sense of self assurance/ righteousness! which he also demonstrated in past negative situations/incidents.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs