The second day of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial has adjourned in South Africa. The Paralympian’s lawyers grilled a key witness whose testimony, if accurate, could undermine Pistorius’ version of events.
The second day of Oscar Pistorius' trial for the killing of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp began Tuesday with his lawyer Barry Roux intensifying efforts to pick apart the prosecution's main witness in cross-examination.
Neighbor Michelle Burger testified at the Pretoria court Monday that she heard "bloodcurdling" screams and four shots at the home less than 200 meters (yards) away from her own in the early hours of February 14, 2013.
If the sequence of events is accurate, it would undermine Pistorius' claim that he shot Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder.
At one point, the trial was interrupted after allegations that a South African television channel was broadcasting a photograph of Burger against a court order guaranteeing privacy of witnesses who request it.
A blockbuster trial in South Africa, the case has also garnered international attention as the world’s most high-profile trial involving an athlete since the case of OJ Simpson in the mid-1990s.
Pistorius pleads not guilty
Pistorius, a Paralympic gold-medalist, pleaded not guilty to murder and three unrelated gun charges on the opening day of the trial on Monday.
He has admitted to killing his girlfriend, a 29-year-old model and law graduate, but has denied premeditation.
"This allegation is denied in the strongest terms," he said. "We were in a loving relationship."
Judge Thokozile Masipa will ultimately pronounce Pistorius innocent or guilty and will decide on any sentence. If convicted, prosecutors say they will seek a life sentence, the strictest punishment available in South Africa, a country that no longer has the death penalty and no trial by jury.
Pistorius was the first double leg amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes in the 2012 London Olympics. Nicknamed "Blade Runner," he went on to win two gold medals and a silver medal at the Paralympics in London.
hc/ccp (Reuters, AFP, AP)