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.