Former South African Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, who achieved fame as the “Blade Runner,” struggled through testimony today during his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. After Pistorius broke down in tears after recapping the fateful night when he shot Steenkamp, Judge Thokozile Masipa called for a brief adjournment.
Pistorius, who became the first amputee to ever compete in an Olympic games, is standing trial for murder. Last February on Valentine’s Day, he testified, as he has claimed all along, that he thought there was an intruder in his home. He believed Steenkamp to be in bed at the time. Fearing for both his and Steenkamp’s lives, Pistorius fired a 9mm pistol several times at his bathroom door only to later discover it was his girlfriend on the other side.
The prosecution claims that Pistorius planned the entire event and is lying about unintentionally killing Steenkamp. Witnesses that live in Pistorius’s gated community have testified that they heard yelling and screaming coming from the Pistorius home earlier that night. Prosecutors established that the young couple had a somewhat heated argument that evening.
Pistorius was telling the story of how he fired into the bathroom and then broke down its door only to find that he had shot and killed Steenkamp, a model and reality TV star in South Africa. He broke down and sobbed loudly as he told the story publicly for the first time. Masipa called for the break and Pistorius remained on the witness stand crying for several minutes.
Upon returning, Pistorius appeared to have composed himself, but Masipa ended the day’s testimony calling for an early adjournment. The trial will continue on Wednesday.
Should Pistorius be found guilty of premeditated murder, he will face a life sentence. If convicted, Pistorius is also subject to a minimum of 25 years before parole would ever be considered.