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Ballistics investigator testifies at Oscar Pistorius trial

Mar 18, 2014, 12:04 PM EST

Oscar Pistorius AP

Oscar Pistorius fired at a slightly downward angle when he fatally shot his girlfriend last year, a police ballistics investigator testified at the double amputee Olympian’s murder trial Tuesday.

Pistorius and the prosecution agree that he was not wearing his prosthetic legs when he shot through his bathroom door on the early morning of Valentine’s Day 2013, killing Reeva Steenkamp.

South African police Capt. Christian Mangena said he reconstructed the scene of the shooting inside Pistorius’ Pretoria home one month later.

Mangena received and reassembled the broken bathroom door that Pistorius shot through from the outside, brought the door back inside Pistorius’ house and measured the height of four bullet holes.

One of the bullets left a ricochet mark on a wall inside the bathroom where Steenkamp was hit. Mangena said he used a rod and laser to determine that Pistorius fired that shot from a downward angle of five to six degrees.

Mangena also said he was present when height measurements of Pistorius with and without his prosthetic legs were taken.

The highest bullet mark on the door was 104.3cm. Pistorius stood 184cm with his prosthetic legs and 155cm without them, Mangena said. His elbow level was 126cm with his prosthetic legs and 96cm without them.

Pistorius said that when he shot, he was not wearing his prosthetic legs and felt extremely vulnerable, believing he was firing at an intruder inside his locked bathroom. The State argued last year that Pistorius was wearing his prosthetic legs, but the prosecution now believes Pistorius was not wearing them as he said.

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.

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

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

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