The family of South African Olympic track runner Oscar Pistorius says there is no substance to allegations that he committed pre-meditated murder in the Valentine's Day death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
The track star's uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said Saturday that the prosecution's case, including its forensic evidence strongly refuted "any possibility of a pre-meditated murder or indeed any murder at all." He read a family statement to reporters outside of his home in Pretoria.
On Friday, Oscar Pistorius wept in court as prosecutors announced they would pursue a pre-meditated murder charge against him. Investigators say Steenkamp was shot four times, in the athlete's home, by a 9-millimeter pistol registered to Pistorius.
Arnold Pistorius said the family is "devastated" and "in a state of total shock" over Steenkamp's death. He said his nephew and Steenkamp "had plans together" and that "Oscar was happier in his private life than he had been for a long time."
Pistorius is regarded as a sports hero and national icon in South Africa. He made history in August when he became the first double amputee to run at the Olympics.
He is known as the "blade runner" for competing on high-tech artificial legs.
Pistorius remains in police custody. A team of lawyers and family members visited him in Pretoria on Saturday.
He is scheduled to appear in court for a bail hearing on Tuesday.
Oscar Pistorius following his bail hearing in Pretoria, South Africa, February 19, 2013. The magistrate ruled that Pistorius faces the harshest bail requirements available under South African law.
A women's group protests outside the court where Pistorius was attending his bail hearing in Pretoria, February 19, 2013.
A woman holds a photo of Reeva Steenkamp as she leaves her funeral in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, February 19, 2013.
Oscar Pistorius weeps in court at his bail hearing in Pretoria, February 15, 2013.
Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg, November 4, 2012.
A newspaper vendor sets up his stall outside court ahead of Pistorius' court appearance in Pretoria, February 15, 2013.
Carl Pistorius, brother of Oscar, attends his brother's court appearance in Pretoria February 15, 2013.
This aerial image taken from video provided by VNS24/7 shows the home of Oscar Pistorius in a gated housing complex in Pretoria, South Africa, February 14, 2013.
Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius leaves the Boschkop police station, east of Pretoria, South Africa, February 14, 2013.
Oscar Pistorius celebrates winning the men's 400 meter final during the London 2012 Paralympic Games, September 8, 2012.
Pistorius celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men's 400m T44 classification during the London 2012 Paralympic Games, September 8, 2012.