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Pistorius Investigator Faces Murder Charges

The South African detective leading Oscar Pistorius' murder investigation is facing murder charges of his own.

Authorities said Thursday that Detective Hilton Botha has been charged with seven counts of attempted murder in connection with allegedly firing at a vehicle he was trying to stop.

The charges, first brought in 2009, had been provisionally withdrawn, but police say they have been reinstated.

A bail hearing for Pistorius continues Thursday, following testimony from Botha on Wednesday in which he said the Olympic runner's account of how he killed his girlfriend is consistent with what police found at the crime scene.

Pistorius insists he thought he was shooting at a burglar and had no intention of killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home last week. Prosecutors say the nighttime shooting through a bathroom door was premeditated murder.

Botha agreed with defense lawyer Barry Roux there were no signs of an assault on Steenkamp's body and no signs she defended herself from an assault.



Earlier, while answering questions from the prosecution, the detective said a witness heard a gunshot, followed by a woman screaming, then more gunshots. The prosecution also said a witness heard an hour of non-stop fighting before the shooting.

The defense questioned the credibility of those witnesses, as the investigator said the one who heard the shots had the wrong number fired and the one who reported hearing shouting was 600 meters from the home.

Roux also argued with Botha's statement that the shots through the door were fired downward, suggesting Pistorius, known as the "blade runner" for his artificial legs, put the legs on before heading to the door.

Pistorius said in an affidavit Tuesday that he was moving around on his stumps.

The defense also rebutted the investigator's report of finding testosterone and needles, saying the substance was an herbal remedy.

The detective told the hearing that police found one shell casing outside the bathroom where prosecutors say Steenkamp locked herself before the shooting, and three more shell casings inside.

The magistrate overseeing the hearing ruled Tuesday that premeditation cannot be excluded in the case, but that the charge could be downgraded later. Premeditated murder carries a possible lifetime prison sentence.

Investigators have said Steenkamp was shot by a 9-millimeter pistol registered to Pistorius.

Her family held a private funeral Tuesday in Port Elizabeth, while the hearing was taking place.

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.

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