Pistorius releases statement, charged with premeditated murder
Oscar Pistorius was charged with premeditated murder of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday in a courtroom in South Africa.
On Valentine’s Day, the couple allegedly had a heated argument that led to Steenkamp “cowering” inside a locked bathroom. Pistorius then reportedly shot four bullets through the door. Three bullets hit Steenkamp, who allegedly died shortly after in Pistorius’s arms after he knocked down the door and tried to revive her, according to the Associated Press.
In a sworn statement, Pistorius said he thought Steenkamp was in his bed and only realized after shooting through the door that she was not beside him.
“It filled me with horror and fear,” he said in a statement.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel accused the 26-year-old sports icon of allegedly taking time to put on his prosthetic legs and walking about seven meters from the bed to the bathroom door before opening fire, thereby convincing Nel the murder was premeditated. If convicted, the Olympian could serve the rest of his life in jail, according to the Associated Press.
Pistorius had been a model athlete. He carried South Africa to win gold in the London Olympics in 2012 in track. A double amputee since he was 11 months old, he made a name for himself running with prostheses. “Blade Runner,” as his fans call him, was the first double-amputee track athlete to run at the Olympics.
Barry Roux, Pistorius’s lawyer, said the shooting was a freak accident and there was no evidence to mount a murder charge, according to the Associated Press.
“Was it to kill her, or was it to get her out? We submit it is not even murder. There is no concession this is a murder,” Roux told the court.
The statistics of crime against women in South Africa are grim. The number of women killed by current or former partners has increased even though the homicides rates have decreased, according to the council’s Professor Rachel Jewkes. In the country of 50 million, at least three women are killed by a partner every day, Jewkes reported to the Associated Press.
While the court hearing unfolded in Pretoria on Tuesday, Steenkamp’s body was cremated in Port Elizabeth 700 miles away. Family members had flown in from all over the world to attend the memorial.