Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pistorius faces premeditated murder charge

Oscar Pistorius weeps Friday at his bail hearing in the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who had spoken out on Twitter against rape and abuse of women.

Associated Press

Oscar Pistorius weeps Friday at his bail hearing in the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who had spoken out on Twitter against rape and abuse of women.

PRETORIA, South Africa — In a courtroom, not an Olympic stadium, there was no click-click-click of Oscar Pistorius' prosthetic limbs. His only sound Friday was loud, uncontrollable sobs as prosecutors charged him with premeditated murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend.

"Take it easy," Chief Magistrate Desmond Nasir told the Olympic star turned murder defendant as his father, Henke, and his brother, Carl, reached out to touch his shoulder to comfort him.

Pistorius, the 26-year-old double-amputee sprinter who won world acclaim by competing in last summer's London Olympics, did not speak or enter a plea. He held his head and wept as he heard the charge, which carries a life sentence.

A statement released later by his family and agent said Pistorius disputed the murder charge "in the strongest terms."

The track star's arrest in the Valentine's Day killing of Reeva Steenkamp, 29, shocked South Africa, where Pistorius was a national hero dubbed the Blade Runner for his high-tech prosthetics and was revered for overcoming his disability to compete in the London Games.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said he would pursue a charge of premeditated murder against Pistorius in the slaying of Steenkamp, a model with a law degree who had spoken out on Twitter against rape and abuse of women.

She was discovered in a pool of blood before dawn Thursday by police called to Pistorius' upscale home in a gated community in Pretoria. Authorities said she had been shot four times, and a 9mm pistol was recovered at the home.

Throngs of reporters, photographers and videographers filled the brick-walled Courtroom C in Pretoria Magistrate's Court, where Pistorius appeared. Nasir's first ruling focused on the media as he dismissed requests from the state broadcaster and a private television station to air the hearing live.

Nasir also ordered that no photographs be taken while court was in session. That left dozens of photographers kneeling less than a yard from the sobbing Pistorius to simply stare at a man many had photographed previously sprinting on his famous carbon-fiber blades.

Police said investigators had conducted an autopsy on Steenkamp's body but the results would not be released.

Pistorius' family left quickly after the hearing, without speaking to journalists. In a statement later Friday, the family and his management agency questioned the criminal charge.

"The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms," the statement said, without elaborating. It added that Pistorius wanted to "send his deepest sympathies to the family of Reeva."

At the defense request, the chief magistrate delayed a bail hearing until Tuesday for Pistorius, who was ordered held in a police holding cell, rather than transferred to a prison.

Since news of the slaying, shock waves have rippled across South Africa, a nation of 50 million where nearly 50 people are killed each day, one of the world's highest murder rates. U.N. statistics say the nation has the second-highest rate of shooting deaths in the world, behind Colombia.

Pistorius faces premeditated murder charge 02/15/13 [Last modified: Friday, February 15, 2013 11:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rick Scott announces support for new legislation, $50 million to fight opioid crisis

    State Roundup

    Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday that he is calling for a series of new proposals to fight the opioid epidemic in Florida, including $50 million in new funding.

    Gov. Rick Scott announced on Sept. 26, 2017, that he is calling for a series of new proposals to fight the opioid epidemic in Florida, including $50 million in new funding. [Associated Press file photo]
  2. Republicans to unveil broad tax cuts Wednesday, put off tough decisions

    Business

    President Donald Trump and top Republicans will promise a package of sweeping tax cuts for companies and individuals, the Washington Post reports, but the GOP leaders will stop short of labeling many of the tax breaks they hope to strip away, putting off controversial decisions that threaten to sink the party's tax …

    President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Washington. [Alex Brandon | Associated Press]
  3. Double your fun: Twitter's testing a 280-character limit for tweets

    News

    Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey last year made a definitive announcement about the company's famous 140-character count amid rumors that the firm would substantially relax the limit. "It's staying," Dorsey told the "Today" show's Matt Lauer. "It's a good constraint for us."

    In this 2013, file photo, the Twitter logo appears on an updated phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. [AP photo]
  4. Dead woman with sun tattoo found near elementary school

    News

    TAMPA --- She had a tattoo of a sun on her abdomen, with the words "The World is Mine."

  5. CentCom shares complexities of job with Tampa Rotarians

    Macdill

    TAMPA — As the commander of U.S. Central Command, Army Gen. Joseph Votel has one of the world's most challenging to-do lists.

    Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, tells Tampa Rotarians about the complexities of the region he oversees. [HOWARD ALTMAN   |   Times staff]