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Police add more confusion to Oscar Pistorius case

Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius bows his head during Wednesday’s hearing in Pretoria, South Africa. At the hearing, his lawyer poked holes in a police detective’s testimony.

Associated Press

Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius bows his head during Wednesday’s hearing in Pretoria, South Africa. At the hearing, his lawyer poked holes in a police detective’s testimony.

PRETORIA, South Africa — The prosecution case against Oscar Pistorius began to unravel Wednesday with revelations of a series of police blunders and the lead investigator's admission that authorities have no evidence challenging the double-amputee Olympian's claim that he killed his girlfriend accidentally.

Detective Hilton Botha's often confused testimony frustrated prosecutors as he misjudged distances and said testosterone — banned for professional athletes in some cases — was found at the scene, only to be later contradicted by the prosecutor's office.

The second day of what was supposed to be a mere bail hearing almost resembled a full-blown trial for the 26-year-old runner, with his lawyer, Barry Roux, tearing into Botha's testimony during cross examination.

Police, Botha acknowledged, left a 9mm slug from the barrage that killed Reeva Steenkamp inside a toilet and lost track of illegal ammunition found inside the house. And Botha walked through the crime scene without wearing protective shoe covers, potentially contaminating the area.

The case has riveted South Africa, with journalists and the curious filling the courtroom where Pistorius, dubbed the Blade Runner for his prosthetic legs, faces a charge of premeditated murder in the Valentine's Day slaying.

Pistorius says he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder and shot her out of fear, while prosecutors say he planned the killing and attacked her as she cowered behind a locked bathroom door.

Police add more confusion to Oscar Pistorius case 02/20/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 8:55pm]
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