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Pistorius expected to testify at his murder trial

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - Oscar Pistorius will probably testify at his trial later this week, a defense attorney said Tuesday after prosecutors rested their case against the double-amputee runner who is accused of murder in his girlfriend's death.

In a rare public comment, Pistorius said he was going through "a tough time" as the case advanced.

"We've got a lot ahead of us," he told reporters after the court adjourned.

Defense lawyer Brian Webber said Pistorius is "likely" to take the stand to open the defense case.

"I don't think we have a choice. It's a question of when," Webber said of Pistorius' testimony, which legal experts describe as critical because the judge will have a chance to assess firsthand whether he is credible. The case will be decided by Judge Thokozile Masipa with help from two assessors. South African courts do not have a jury system.

After the prosecution rested, defense lawyer Barry Roux asked for time to consult some of the 107 state witnesses who had not testified against Pistorius, who admits shooting Reeva Steenkamp through the closed door of a toilet cubicle last year.

Masipa adjourned the trial until Friday so Roux could prepare his arguments that Pistorius killed the 29-year-old model by accident, thinking she was an intruder in his home.

Pistorius has sometimes reacted emotionally in the courtroom. He shed tears this week during testimony about text messages that he and Steenkamp exchanged in the weeks before her death on Feb. 14, 2013. In earlier testimony, he retched and vomited at a pathologist's description of Steenkamp's gunshot wounds. At other times, he has appeared calm, taking notes during testimony and conferring with his lawyers during breaks.

The 27-year-old Olympian once basked in global publicity stemming from his achievements on the track but became an almost silent, somewhat cryptic figure after Steenkamp's death, his account only outlined in legal statements that were carefully tailored by his high-powered legal team.

Earlier Tuesday, Roux sought to show that Pistorius had a loving relationship with his girlfriend, referring to telephone messages in which they exchanged warm compliments and said they missed each other.

The testimony contrasted with several messages read in court a day earlier in which Pistorius and Steenkamp argued, part of the prosecution's effort to demonstrate that the athlete killed his girlfriend after an intense disagreement. In those messages, Steenkamp told the runner that she was sometimes scared by his behavior, which included jealous outbursts in front of other people.

Roux noted that the tense messages amounted to a tiny fraction of the roughly 1,700 texts that police Capt. Francois Moller, a cellphone expert, extracted from the couple's mobile devices. Roux noted a Jan. 19 exchange in which Reeva sent Pistorius a photo of herself in a hoodie and making a kissing face and asked, "You like it?"

"I love it," Pistorius said, according to the message.

"So warm," Steenkamp responded.

Roux was also granted permission to show video broadcast by Sky News that showed Pistorius and Steenkamp kissing in a convenience store.

Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel questioned the relevance of the store video, saying he could ask for a courtroom viewing of another video, also broadcast by Sky News, which shows Pistorius at a gun range, firing a shotgun and using a pistol to shoot a watermelon, which bursts on impact.

Nel also said many messages of affection between the couple were brief, in contrast to the texted arguments, which were far longer and dwelled on their relationship in greater depth.

Earlier, Moller said Steenkamp connected to the Internet on her cellphone hours before Pistorius killed her. She made the connection just before 9 p.m. on Feb. 13, 2013, and the connection lasted for more than 11 hours, possibly because social media programs were still open.

Moller's extraction of data also shed light on what appeared to be frantic calls made from one of Pistorius' cellphones after the killing. They included a call to the administrator of the housing estate where Pistorius lived at 3:19 a.m. on Feb. 14, a call a minute later to an ambulance service and a call a minute after that to the housing estate security.

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sanmc58 March 25 2014 at 3:37 PM

So he is going to continue to lie, lie and lie again. Give it up!

Flag Reply +7 rate up
nick3071 March 25 2014 at 10:42 PM

He is a weasel , trying to get out of something he did that was so terrible. How can anyone feel sorry for this guy? It is time he hit the frying pan.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
vickijhollan March 26 2014 at 12:50 AM

He is a hothead and loves guns and likes to use them. He was jealous and they had strong arguments that night; she was afraid, ran into the bathroom to hide and try to get help. You don't sleep w/someone and don't know whether they are in bed or not in bed. If he thought there was an intruder, he should have tried to waken her, but of course, he couldn't, she was hiding in the bathroom; afraid of him. He is guilty; anyone should know this, he is afraid now of what will happen to him. Sad story - he accomplished much, but he is a "hothead", with no control.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
mcris110 March 25 2014 at 11:55 PM

He'll try to cry his way out of this one too!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
mjeep1 March 25 2014 at 11:58 PM

He murdered her in cold blood...his day is coming and he ain't gonna like it...

Flag Reply +6 rate up
llkjpk March 26 2014 at 12:41 AM

hang him very high

Flag Reply +8 rate up
dmarrero1twu264 March 26 2014 at 9:04 AM

Please Please Please lord do not let this sleazebag get away with murder.....Its so obvious that this guy is jelous gun nut who went off when she tried to break up with him and shot her through the door he took the life of that beautiful gorgeous girl and he should go to jail for a very long time...intruder...please ..guards everywhere in a gated mansion and he thought she was an intruder...yea ok!....and please someone tell him nobodys buying the crying and throwing up act.....

Flag Reply +1 rate up
backdoc301 March 26 2014 at 8:54 AM

He got pissed off, she hid in the bathroom and locked the door, so he shot her through the door. End of story.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
pobo52 backdoc301 March 26 2014 at 9:50 AM

Agree. He probably didn't mean to kill her. In a rage, he probably meant to scare her and show her who's boss. Problem was he is a bad shot and hit and killed her. Then comes the burglar story. What would a burglar be doing in the bathroom? How would he get in there unnoticed and what could he possibly be looking for worth stealing in a bathroom? The story is so lame the most he can hope for is that the decision is it wasn't premeditated murder

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Liebchken March 26 2014 at 3:22 AM

I'm noticing a Jodi Arias male librarian court image he is trying to portray. hmmm..... Glasses, nice touch.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
harolddundee March 26 2014 at 8:38 AM

Send this spoiled brat away for a very long time.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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