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Pistorius breaks down on stand in murder trial


Apr. 14, 2014 6:25 AM EDT

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - The chief prosecutor in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius on Monday accused him of tailoring his version of how he killed his girlfriend to fit evidence at the scene, exhaustively listing alleged inconsistencies in the athlete's account of the fatal shooting of Reeva Steenkamp.

The court temporarily adjourned late in the morning after the double-amputee runner started to sob while testifying about the moments before he killed Steenkamp in his home in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013. Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel had asked him what exactly he shouted as he moved toward the bathroom where he shot Steenkamp, who was behind a closed door in the toilet cubicle.

Pistorius said he thought there was an intruder in the house. After a long pause after the question, he said he screamed, using an expletive, for the purported intruder to get out of his house. As he testified, Pistorius began to wail and Judge Thokozile Masipa called an adjournment. Just over an hour later and after court resumed, Pistorius again broke down when replying to a question on why he had opened fire, causing a second adjournment.

The prosecution has said Pistorius' account of a mistaken shooting is a lie. Nel opened the fourth day of cross-examination by alleging that Pistorius had "concocted" his account of the shooting.

"You're tailoring your version as you're sitting there," Nel said. Later, he accused Pistorius of being a stickler for detail on some matters, in contrast to his frequent statements on the witness stand that he could not remember aspects of his testimony.

Nel noted that Pistorius earlier said he warned Steenkamp to call police about an intruder in a whisper, contradicting later testimony that he spoke in a "low tone" and the prosecutor also said blood spatter evidence indicated that the athlete's statement about the location of a duvet in the bedroom was false.

Pistorius has said the duvet was on the bed, and that police photographs of the bed cover on the floor suggest that police moved it there after the shooting. Nel said a pattern of blood drops on the duvet and on the carpet nearby show that it was on the floor before police arrived, and that its location amounts to evidence that the couple had been having an argument.

The prosecutor also alleged that Steenkamp was in the process of getting dressed in the midst of the nighttime argument and wanted to leave Pistorius' house shortly before the shooting. A pair of jeans strewn on the bedroom floor showed Steenkamp was putting them on, Nel said, and contrasted with her character as a neat person who wouldn't leave clothes lying around.

Pistorius responded that Steenkamp was neat, but he said the jeans were inside out and therefore showed that Steenkamp had not been in the process of donning them.

Nel also questioned why the athlete didn't give fuller details of his account in his bail statement last February, days after he killed Steenkamp. Pistorius had said then that there was a noise from the bathroom that caused him to think that people had broken into his house, but didn't explain until later that it was the bathroom window sliding across and slamming against the frame.

The athlete said Monday that he was on medication and traumatized while in a jail cell at the time of his bail statement, which could account for any discrepancies with his later testimony.

Nel also said it was improbable that, in Pistorius' story, Steenkamp didn't ask him why he was getting out of bed in the middle of the night to retrieve fans from the edge of the balcony.

Pistorius Breaks Down Under Intense Questioning

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zuma2468 April 14 2014 at 2:04 PM

I want to believe it happened the way he said it did, but I just don't.

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Dennis April 14 2014 at 1:24 PM

How could he possibly believe an intruder was in his bathroom. What burglar takes a dump before robbing you?

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2 replies
B N Dennis April 14 2014 at 1:40 PM

If went by these rules in most households, there would be no families left. "Somebody's locked themselves in the bathroom. Probably an intruder: open fire!"

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Cheryl Cook Dennis April 14 2014 at 2:56 PM


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1 reply
Cheryl Cook Cheryl Cook April 14 2014 at 2:57 PM

LMAO re: " What burglar takes a dump before robbing you?"

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Velocity105 April 14 2014 at 1:23 PM

If there was a bathroom window opening then she was probably trying to go out the window to get away from him. After this no-doubt, expensive trial all he's going to get is 25 years to life in a prison somewhere. You could argue that being in prison for 50 years at the mercy of men who are dangerous is a satisfactory resolution but I still think he should get the plungers.

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fredwhyzer April 14 2014 at 1:23 PM

Casey Anthony walked and look at the overwhelming evidence against her. The whole family was lying, but the jury said, "Not Guilty!" These days murder is a forgivable crime. He didn't mean to plug her full of holes. She just was on her way out for awhile. What a tragic story. I hate over indulged people who are above the law.

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1 reply
Carole fredwhyzer April 14 2014 at 1:40 PM

Casey Anthony "walked" because : the Medical examiner did a shoddy autopsy. She "walked" because everyone lied. She "walked" because Jeff Ashton, one of the prosecutors, behaved like a jerk. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution. However, I don't believe she killed that child. I believe the child drowned and her father convinced her to cover it up.

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tony941 April 14 2014 at 10:21 AM

I believe he's guilty as sin. The prosecution is going to have to be careful, about over reach. They claim he has anger issues, and shot her in a fit of rage during an argument. That amounts to 2nd degree not, 1st degree which is with malicious forethought.
Many prosecutors do the same thing only having it back fire on them. Classic example are the recent 2 high profile Florida cases, where prosecutorial over reach came back to bite them.

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ajpoolio1 April 14 2014 at 10:21 AM

Great Prosecutor .

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debeececere April 14 2014 at 1:12 PM

I think Pistorius could have a great career as a fiction writer if all else fails.

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pj792 April 14 2014 at 1:12 PM

If you have your girlfriend or boyfriend sleep over and you hear noise in the bathroom at night your not going to start shooting without making sure it's not them. Most likely you would just roll over and go back to sleep. His story is so far fetched it's pure lunacy.

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1 reply
Cheryl Cook pj792 April 14 2014 at 3:03 PM

Yea, and who locks the door to use the bathroom when you;re with a boyfriend. Probably don't even close the door so his story is total BULL_____!

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judypiano April 14 2014 at 1:09 PM

He isn't guilty until the jury says so and the judge agrees.

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6 replies
rb April 14 2014 at 1:03 PM

Does anyone expect him not to LIE to save his ass? Does anyone who commits a crime just go to jail and admit their guilt? Once in a while, but rarely. Defense attorneys know their clients committed the crime and are real ass-holes for aiding the client to create a false set of events.

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1 reply
jack rb April 14 2014 at 1:09 PM

But, remember, that is what a defense Attorny's job is and it is why he was hired and what he gets paid for in the first place.

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2 replies
scollegeville3 jack April 14 2014 at 1:24 PM


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Carole jack April 14 2014 at 1:31 PM

I believe that everyone deserves a vigorous defense. I do not agree in defense or prosecutors suborning perjury.

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