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New details emerge as Oscar Pistorius is indicted for murder

August 19, 2013|By David Wharton

Prosecutors in the case against Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee sprinter accused of killing his girlfriend, say they will present testimony from neighbors who heard a woman screaming before the fatal shots were fired.

The new information came to light Monday as Pistorius was formally indicted for murder. A South African court set his trial date for March in the capital city of Pretoria.

Known as "The Blade Runner" because of the carbon-fiber prosthetics on which he sprints, Pistorius was also indicted for illegal possession of ammunition.

Before the proceeding, the 26-year-old athlete held hands with family members and wept. His answers to the court were reportedly brief and subdued.

There is no question that, during the early morning hours of Valentine's Day, Pistorius fired four shots through a closed door, into the toilet cubicle of his bathroom, striking Reeva Steenkamp three times.

Pistorius has claimed that he mistook her for an intruder hiding in the bathroom. Police believe an argument prompted the shooting.

Prosecutors have included several neighbors from Pistorius' gated community in a list of more than 100 witnesses submitted to the court.

"Some of the state witnesses heard a woman scream, followed by moments of silence, then heard gunshots and then more screaming," the indictment stated.

Pistorius was also charged with possessing .38-caliber ammunition that was not properly licensed. The 9-millimeter gun used in the incident was licensed.

The charges carry a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years. South Africa has no trial by jury, so the case will be heard and decided by a judge.

Pistorius rose to athletic fame in recent years, breaking barriers when he competed for South Africa at the 2012 London Olympics. His good looks fueled a growing international celebrity.

Steenkamp was a model who would have celebrated her 30th birthday on Monday.


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