Apr 9, 2014, 11:07 AM EDT
Oscar Pistorius was told to look at a graphic photo of dead girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp‘s head and to “take responsibility for what you’ve done” by a prosecutor at his murder trial Wednesday.
A crime scene photo of one side of Steenkamp’s head, bloodied from a bullet wound, was displayed on screens around the room, and shown on video streams on the first day of his cross-examination.
It came after prosecutor Gerrie Nel showed a clip of this video news report of Pistorius at a gun shooting range, firing at a watermelon that exploded on impact.
“You know that the same happened to Reeva’s head,” Nel said just before the photo of Steenkamp came on the screens. “It exploded. Have a look. I’m going to show you, Mr. Pistorius, it had the exact same effect, the bullet that went into her head.”
Pistorius, the first double amputee to run in the Olympics in 2012, said he thought Steenkamp was an intruder locked in his bathroom when he shot four times through a locked door, hitting and killing her inside on Valentine’s Day 2013. The prosecution claims Pistorius killed Steenkamp after an argument.
He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder. If not found guilty of premeditated murder, he could be convicted of culpable homicide, South Africa’s version of manslaughter for negligent killing.
Graphic photos of Steenkamp had been shown during the trial on previous days, accidentally while scanning through slideshows and only for brief seconds. The photo was up for about one minute Wednesday.
“Have a look there,” Nel said to Pistorius. “I know you don’t want to because you don’t want to take responsibility, but it’s time that you look at it. Take responsibility for what you’ve done, Mr. Pistorius.”
Pistorius, who had thrown up during graphic autopsy testimony March 10, had a green bucket nearby in the witness box Wednesday. Pistorius tried not to look at the photo next to his face, according to court reports. He responded emotionally.
“I’ve taken responsibility … waiting for my time on this stand to tell my story for the respect of Reeva and for myself,” Pistorius said, his voice trembling. “I’ve taken responsibility. But I will not look at a picture where I’m tormented by what I saw and felt that night. As I picked Reeva up, my fingers touched her head. I remember. I don’t have to look at a picture. I was there.”
Pistorius sobbed and buried his head in his hands, causing Nel to ask for an adjournment.
Earlier, Nel aggressively began his cross-examination by telling Pistorius, “Say yes, I shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp.”
“I did,” Pistorius said, repeating that he “made a mistake” and adding, “I’m human. I make many faults. I have sins.”
Later, Nel questioned Pistorius about crime scene details and accused him of lying in his version of events and having rehearsed answers.
“My memory isn’t very good at the moment,” Pistorius said. “I’m under a lot of pressure sitting here. It’s not easy. I’m defending for my life.”
Pistorius repeatedly said that the shooting was an accident.
“Before thinking, out of fear, I fired four shots,” he said. “When I realized the scale of what was happening, I stopped firing, and I stood there, and I was in shock.
“I didn’t intend to shoot anyone. I fired my firearm before I could think, before I even had a moment to comprehend what was happening. I believed someone was coming out the toilet.”
The trial is scheduled to resume at 3:30 a.m. ET on Thursday with more cross-examining from Nel
“I’m not going to go away,” Nel told Pistorius shortly before the end of Wednesday’s proceedings.
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May 27, 2015, 8:59 AM EDT
Uhlaender isn’t finished with her sliding career, though.
May 26, 2015, 2:54 PM EDT
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May 26, 2015, 8:13 AM EDT
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May 22, 2015, 3:44 PM EDT
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May 22, 2015, 10:40 AM EDT
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May 22, 2015, 9:25 AM EDT
The U.S. won “Beat the Streets” 9-4.
May 21, 2015, 11:49 AM EDT
Skaters, skiers, gymnasts, track and field athletes and more.
May 21, 2015, 9:18 AM EDT
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May 20, 2015, 8:10 PM EDT
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May 20, 2015, 3:07 PM EDT
Usain Bolt dropped on the list and is no longer the top track and field athlete.
May 20, 2015, 1:38 PM EDT
Markus Rehm jumped another personal best on Saturday, moving up the list of top active jumpers.
May 20, 2015, 1:09 PM EDT
Letterman had a special correspondent at the 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics.
May 20, 2015, 12:53 PM EDT
The Olympic silver medalist has been off the elite competition radar for nearly two years.
May 20, 2015, 11:56 AM EDT
The World champion explained the origin of her design.
May 20, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT
Gatlin’s agent also called the sprinter “misunderstood.”
May 20, 2015, 8:21 AM EDT
A stopwatch used to time Bannister’s feat was also recently auctioned.
May 19, 2015, 12:41 PM EDT
Seebohm took silver behind Franklin in 2012 and 2013 but was faster last year.
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