The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

February 20, 2013

Police: No inconsistencies in Pistorius account



PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — A police detective testified at Oscar Pistorius' bail hearing Wednesday that authorities have not found any inconsistencies in the star athlete's description of his shooting of his girlfriend — a killing Pistorius says was accidental but which prosecutors call murder.

The second day of the bail hearing in a case that has riveted South Africa and much of the world appeared at first to go against the double-amputee runner, with prosecutor Gerrie Nel saying a witness can testify to hearing "non-stop talking, like shouting" between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. before the predawn shooting on Valentine's Day.

Pistorius said in an affidavit read in court Tuesday that he and girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and budding reality TV star, had gone to bed and that when he awoke during the night he detected what he thought was an intruder in the bathroom. He testified that he grabbed his 9 mm pistol and fired into the door of a toilet enclosed in the bathroom, only to discover later to his horror that Steenkamp was there, mortally wounded.

The prosecution alleged the couple had a fight before he fired shots.

Under cross-examination by the defense, police Detective Warrant Officer Hilton Botha acknowledged that the witness who allegedly overheard the argument was 600 meters (yards) from Pistorius' house, where the shooting occurred. Later, prosecutor Nel re-questioned Botha, and the detective said the distance was actually much closer.

Pistorius, the first Paralympian runner to compete at the Olympics, is charged with premeditated murder in the case.

The prosecution attempted to cement its argument that the couple had a shouting match, that Steenkamp fled and locked herself into the toilet stall of the bathroom and that Pistorius fired four shots through the door, hitting her with three bullets.

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