PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA —
The long-awaited murder trial of South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius began this week, bringing with it drama and explosive testimony.
The first week of Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial has delivered as many twists and turns as the runner’s own dramatic life story.
The once-celebrated athlete, who grabbed the spotlight for being the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics, is fighting a murder charge for shooting dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, last year. He insists he mistook her for an intruder when he shot her through a locked bathroom door.
Judge Thokozile Masipa will decide his fate along with two assessors, both of whom have legal training and who will help guide her judgment.
Witnesses gave dramatic testimony that they heard screams and what they took to be gunshots from the athlete’s home on that fateful night.
“Just after I heard screams, my lady, I heard four shots. It was four gunshots that I heard," said Michelle Burger, a witness. "It was very traumatic for me. You could hear that it was blood-curdling screams. It leaves you cold. You can’t translate it, the anxiousness in her voice.”
Pistorius has remained calm through most of the proceedings, and has been supported by his close-knit family.
Steenkamp’s mother, June Steenkamp, also attended the first day of the trial, and told British broadcaster ITV that Pistorius refused to return her intense gaze.
Some experts predict the trial could take months.
Oscar Pistorius is no stranger to obstacles, but this is the biggest fight of his life.