Skip to content

Oscar Pistorius emotionally breaks down as prosecution alleges inconsistencies

Apr 14, 2014, 10:26 AM EDT

Oscar Pistorius‘ murder trial was twice stopped when the athlete broke down under a prosecutor’s questioning on Monday.

Pistorius, on trial after fatally shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013, cried when recounting how he screamed an expletive at what he thought was an intruder inside his bathroom before shooting through a locked door. Judge Thokozile Masipa called an adjournment.

About 90 minutes later, Pistorius again caused a break when he began bawling during the following exchange with lead prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

“You fired at Reeva,” Nel said, before a rare Pistorius interruption on their fourth day of cross-examination.

“That’s not true,” Pistorius said insistently.

“Why are you getting emotional now?” Nel asked.

“I did not fire at Reeva,” Pistorius wailed.

Nel asked for an adjournment, citing Pistorius’ emotional state. A psychologist consoled Pistorius during the break, according to reports from the Pretoria courtroom.

Pistorius, the first double amputee to run in the Olympics in 2012, 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.

The prosecutor Nel spent most of Monday continuing his assertion that Pistorius was lying and changing his defense from putative self defense to involuntary action (accidental shooting). Nel said Pistorius shot Steenkamp after an argument rather than thinking she was an intruder.

“The theme for the day is tailoring your evidence,” Nel said.

Pistorius again went through his actions shortly before, during and after shooting Steenkamp. He said he fired his pistol through the door after hearing a noise, believing the person inside was trying to open the door, but he didn’t see the door or door handle move.

“I heard the noise, and I didn’t have time to interpret, and I fired my firearm out of fear,” said Pistorius, who reportedly looks away from Nel, often to the judge, when answering.

Pistorius said he didn’t know why he stopped firing after four shots. He wasn’t aiming his gun because he didn’t intend to fire it. Nel said it must have been lucky, then, that his gun was pointed in the direction of the perceived intruder.

“Why would that be lucky, she lost her life,” Pistorius said.

Pistorius said that even if it turned out to be an intruder behind the door, he still would have considered the shooting an accident.

Late in the day, Judge Masipa interrupted Nel, who had been asking Pistorius about why Steenkamp was standing behind the door when he shot. Pistorius said he didn’t know why. Masipa thought Nel was unnecessarily repeating the question to which Pistorius did not have an answer.

“It’s not true,” Nel said. “He knows. He’s hiding it.

“He knows that he shot her while she was talking. … He must tell us because there’s no other version for it.”

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

The trial is scheduled to resume at 3:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday with more cross-examining from Nel.

Video: Mo Farah beaten in London Marathon

Latest Posts
  1. Royals photobomb, meet Usain Bolt at Commonwealth Games

    Jul 29, 2014, 11:14 AM EDT

    Prince Harry

    Prince Harry follows the Queen’s lead in Glasgow.

  2. Nigerian weightlifter, 16, fails drug test after winning Commonwealth Games gold

    Jul 29, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT

    Chika Amalaha AP

    Chika Amalaha may be stripped of her gold after becoming the youngest women’s weightlifting champion in Commonwealth Games history.

  3. Three of four missing Ethiopian athletes at World Junior Championships found

    Jul 28, 2014, 8:55 PM EDT

    IAAF World Junior Championships - Day 5 Getty Images

    Athletes found safe in Beaverton, Ore., after going missing in Eugene.

  4. Yuna Kim attends coaching workshop

    Jul 28, 2014, 10:39 AM EDT

    Yuna Kim Reuters

    Retired Olympic champion took part in Korea Skating Union workshop, according to South Korean media.

  5. U.S. 400m runner Torrin Lawrence dies in car accident

    Jul 28, 2014, 10:19 AM EDT

    Torrin Lawrence Getty Images

    Lawrence won gold on the U.S. 4x400m relay team at the 2014 IAAF World Relays.

  6. Brazil’s Olympic coach wants Neymar to play at Rio 2016

    Jul 28, 2014, 9:32 AM EDT

    Brazil's forward Neymar (L) is challenge Getty Images

    Neymar played in 2012, but there’s a new obstacle that could keep him out of 2016.

  7. U.S. teams sweep World Series of Beach Volleyball (video)

    Jul 27, 2014, 6:46 PM EDT

    Kerri Walsh Jennings AP

    Kerri Walsh Jennings notched a milestone victory.

  8. UPDATE: Noelle Pikus-Pace’s brother and his children found in Idaho

    Jul 27, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Jared Pikus

    Search and rescue crews were on the lookout for Jared Pikus and his three children.

  9. WATCH LIVE: World Series of Beach Volleyball

    Jul 27, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross Getty Images

    Kerri Walsh Jennings can hit another career milestone.

  10. Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross make WSOBV final

    Jul 26, 2014, 5:24 PM EDT

    Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross Getty Images

    U.S. Olympic medalists will face Spanish or Brazilian pair Sunday on NBC.

  11. WATCH LIVE: World Series of Beach Vollyeball

    Jul 26, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Kerri Walsh Jennings Getty Images

    Three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings in biggest tournament of 2014 in U.S.

  12. Usain Bolt arrives in Glasgow, says he’s injury free

    Jul 26, 2014, 10:17 AM EDT

    Usain Bolt Reuters

    Bolt will make a rare appearance in the heats of a 4x100m relay at Commonwealth Games.

  13. Henry Cejudo, Olympic champion wrestler, signs with UFC

    Jul 26, 2014, 9:02 AM EDT

    Henry Cejudo Reuters

    Beijing gold medalist slated for first bout in August.

  14. Runner with age discrepancy withdrawn from World Junior Championships

    Jul 25, 2014, 3:47 PM EDT

    IAAF World Junior Championships Getty Images

    Bahrain runner listed with 1996 birthday may have been born in 1990.

  15. Skateboarding to be showcased aside Youth Olympics

    Jul 25, 2014, 2:24 PM EDT

    Skateboarding Getty Images

    A step forward as skateboarding seeks Olympic inclusion.

  16. Bradley Wiggins probably done with Tour de France

    Jul 25, 2014, 11:36 AM EDT

    Bradley Wiggins Getty Images

    Brit can make Olympic history on the track in 2016.

  17. Mary Cain wins World Junior Championships 3000m (video)

    Jul 25, 2014, 10:07 AM EDT

    Mary Cain Getty Images

    Cain emerged from being boxed in to beat Kenyans.