Oscar Pistorius: What’s next for athlete accused of murder?

February 15, 2013

Oscar Pistorius breaks down in court. (Antoine De Ras / AP)

Oscar Pistorius will remain incarcerated at a Pretoria, South Africa, police station until at least Tuesday after being charged with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day.

Pistorius, the 26-year-old Olympic and Paralympic star and homeland hero, sobbed and covered his face with his hands as prosecutors announced that they would increase the charge to premeditation. His bail hearing was continued to Tuesday in order to give the defense more time to prepare, according to News24. Under South African law, the Los Angeles Times reports, “an accused person charged with such a high-level offense would have to prove exceptional circumstances to be granted bail.”

Pistorius listened “with jaws clenched,” South Africa’s News 24 reported, as prosecutor Gerrie Nel argued that he acted with premeditation in the shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp, a 30-year-old up-and-coming model and reality TV star. South African media reported that Pistorius, 26, shot Steenkamp four times through a bathroom door at his home in the early-morning hours Thursday. In addition, prosecutors revealed that neighbors called police to Pistorius’ house in a gated community two hours before the shooting because of a loud argument, according to South African newspaper Beeld. South African law, according to the LA Times, requires that a person who fatally shoots an intruder must prove there was “a reasonable fear that the intruder posed a real threat to his or her life.”

Pistorius’s family attended the hearing, fighting through the courtroom crush. His lawyer, Kenny Oldwage, told SkyNews that Pistorius is “very well, obviously emotional, but fine.” In a statement released through his management company, Pistorius and his family denied the murder allegation:

Henke Pistorius reaches out to his son in court. (Claire Price / AFP - Getty Images)
Henke Pistorius reaches out to his son in court. (Claire Price / AFP – Getty Images)

“Oscar Pistorius has appeared in court here in Pretoria this morning formally charged with the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms. These are now live and active legal proceedings which must be allowed to take their course through the process of proper investigation by the police, evidence-gathering and through the local South African judicial system.”

Pistorius, a double amputee known as the “Blade Runner” because of his carbon-fiber prosthetic legs, is a Paralympian who competed in the London Olympic Games last summer. He qualified for the semifinals of the 400 and the 4×400-relay final, making Olympic history by competing against able-bodied athletes.

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

More

Nike ad removed from Pistorius website

Pistorius charged with murder

Who is Reeva Steenkamp?

The fall of an athlete is an all-too-familiar tale

Mike Wise: Blades or not, Pistorius should run

Graphic: How double amputee Oscar Pistorius runs

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Caitlin Dewey | February 14, 2013