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Oscar Pistorius shot guns out of car, in restaurant, witness says

Mar 11, 2014, 10:11 AM EDT

Oscar Pistorius AP

A man testified at Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial Tuesday that he was with Pistorius when the double amputee Olympian fired a gun through a car’s sunroof and under the table at a restaurant in separate incidents before he shot and killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to two counts of firing a gun in public, in addition to denying guilt of illegal possession of unlicensed ammunition and premeditated murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013.

Darren Fresco‘s testimony Tuesday corroborated a previous witness account that Pistorius shot through the sunroof of a car after an altercation with police in September 2012.

Fresco also said he took the blame after Pistorius fired Fresco’s Glock 27 .40 caliber pistol under a table at a restaurant one month before killing Steenkamp. Fresco said Pistorius asked him to take the blame because of the “media hype” around him, also corroborating a previous witness account.

“Being a friend,” Fresco said, “I said of course.”

Fresco repeatedly referred to Pistorius as “the accused” rather than by name at a Pretoria court Tuesday. He also said he had followed “bits and pieces” of the trial before he testified on its seventh day.

“It’s stuff that’s been in the media, on the news,” Fresco said. “Doesn’t matter where you look, where you turn, where you go, what you listen to, watch you watch. It’s all over the media.”

Earlier, pathologist Gert Saayman was questioned by Pistorius’ defense about Steenkamp’s food and bladder contents at the time of her death. On Monday, Pistorius cried and threw up while Saayman detailed his autopsy findings and Steenkamp’s bullet wounds.

Saayman said Steenkamp likely ate within two hours of her death. She died after 3 a.m. Pistorius has said they went to sleep at 10 p.m. Saayman said he’s done between 10,000 and 15,000 autopsies over 30 years.

Pistorius, the first double amputee to run in the Olympics in 2012, could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder from Valentine’s Day 2013. He shot four times through a bathroom door, hitting Steenkamp inside.

The prosecution asserts Pistorius shot through the door after an argument with Steenkamp. Pistorius has said he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.

The trial is expected to resume at 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Here’s NBC News’ coverage of the Pistorius trial.

Here are reports from the court room Tuesday:

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  1. mogogo1 - Mar 11, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    I find it interesting the lesser gun charges are part of the same trial as the murder. Not only is there no connection between those events and the murder, but if proving he committed premeditated murder is the ultimate goal then giving examples of him being a reckless moron with guns would seem to back his claim he killed her in a huge, stupid accident. In fact, had the prosecution totally ignored those other incidents it’s easy to imagine his defense having to introduce them as examples of how he could do something incredibly stupid with a gun.

    • Nick Zaccardi - Mar 11, 2014 at 7:13 PM

      It is really interesting that so much time is spent on the gun charges in the grand scheme. That Pistorius pleaded not guilty to the gun charges is interesting, and I’m intrigued to hear what his story is behind that. Not intrigued as much as what’s involved in the Valentine’s Day shooting, obviously.

      • mogogo1 - Mar 11, 2014 at 7:38 PM

        Yeah, I also don’t follow why he’d contest those lesser charges. To me, pleading guilty to those would send the message he’s remorseful for his reckless behavior. His best defense would probably be to admit he was incredibly reckless and/or paranoid but that it was a huge mistake and he never meant to hurt her. I get the vibe that his defense was formed early on when he and his camp thought there might be some way to reclaim his good name and make it all into some horrible accident where he’d come away looking somehow sympathetic. But that ain’t gonna happen.

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