Skip to content

Oscar Pistorius’ cross-examination ends at murder trial

Apr 15, 2014, 10:26 AM EDT

Oscar Pistorius

The chief prosecutor in Oscar Pistorius‘ murder trial ended five days of cross-examining the runner Tuesday, saying Pistorius knowingly fatally shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after they had an argument on Valentine’s Day 2013.

Pistorius, who has said he shot through a door thinking an intruder was behind it, called it a “hypothetical” argument.

“Your version is not only untruthful, it’s so improbable that it cannot be reasonably true,” prosecutor Gerrie Nel said, drawing an “I don’t agree” response from Pistorius. “You armed yourself with the sole purpose of shooting and killing her.

“Afterwards, you were overcome by what you’ve done. … Only because it was your intention to kill her.”

Those final comments from Nel with Pistorius in the witness box were subdued compared to his most stinging questions in the Pretoria court room on the 23rd day of the trial.

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.

“Who should we blame for the Black Talon [bullet] rounds that ripped through her body?” Nel asked, drawing Judge Thokozile Masipa to intervene, saying it was a rephrasing of previous questions.

Pistorius recounted his actions from last year after he shot four times through a locked bathroom door, hitting Steenkamp inside.

He said he bashed open the door with a cricket bat, crouched over Steenkamp seated on the floor and checked to see if she was breathing. Pistorius felt that she wasn’t at first, but then he said he heard her breathing.

“I was talking to her all the time, saying baby please hold on,” Pistorius said. “Jesus, please help me. I was praying for her.”

He tried to but couldn’t pick her up, so he moved her outside of the toilet room and into the outer bathroom. He grabbed her phone from inside the toilet room but didn’t know the passcode to access it. So he ran into his bedroom, took his phone and called for help.

Pistorius said he screamed while trying to break into the bathroom but was questioned by Nel as to why he stopped yelling out when he saw it was Steenkamp behind the door.

“I was broken,” Pistorius said. “I was overcome by sadness. So I wouldn’t have screamed out.”

In brief re-examination, defense attorney Barry Roux had Pistorius read the Valentine’s Day card that Steenkamp made for him that Pistorius did not open until Aug. 19, Steenkamp’s 30th birthday.

“Roses are red, violets are blue,” Pistorius said it read on one side. “I think today is a good day to tell you that I love you.”

Later, forensic expert Roger Dixon testified, with the aid of photos, of how dark Pistorius’ room was, about damage to the toilet door and wounds to Steenkamp’s back and butt. Pistorius covered his eyes and ears while Dixon talked about Steenkamp’s wounds.

Nel asked for a trial break until May 5, still expecting to fit it in the window deadline of May 16. Masipa said she would rule on that Wednesday.

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

One runner dies, another goes missing, found after London Marathon

Latest Posts
  1. Paralympic president clarifies Pistorius stance, looks to Rio

    Sep 15, 2014, 4:27 PM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius, Alan Oliveira Getty Images

    IPC president Sir Philip Craven looks ahead to an anniversary and a new frontier for the Paralympics.

  2. Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps hope to meet for first time before Olympic farewell

    Sep 15, 2014, 2:36 PM EDT

    Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps Getty Images

    The greatest Olympians of this generation discuss thoughts on one another.

  3. U.S. men’s volleyball team eliminated at World Championships

    Sep 15, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT

    USA Volleyball Getty Images

    U.S. bounced in Poland with five-set loss to Argentina.

  4. What U.S.’ FIBA World Cup title means for Olympics

    Sep 15, 2014, 11:16 AM EDT

    Kyrie Irving AP

    The second-biggest winner from the FIBA World Cup may be a nation that didn’t compete in Spain.

  5. Carolina Kostner called to hearing in ex-boyfriend’s doping case

    Sep 15, 2014, 11:05 AM EDT

    Carolina Kostner Getty Images

    Olympic bronze medalist figure skater dated Olympic race-walking champion when he tested positive.

  6. Oscar Pistorius’ Nike contract terminated

    Sep 13, 2014, 8:52 PM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius

    Nike had suspended its contract with the runner six days after he shot and killed his girlfriend.

  7. Jenny Simpson has long-standing record in sight after spectacular season

    Sep 12, 2014, 4:50 PM EDT

    Jenny Simpson Getty Images

    Simpson, racing the Fifth Avenue Mile on Saturday, is one tenth away from breaking a 31-year-old mark.

  8. Things Mutaz Barshim could jump over (photos)

    Sep 12, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT

    Mutaz Barshim

    High jumper hashtag has taken social media by storm.

  9. Reeva Steenkamp’s mom says justice was not served in Oscar Pistorius trial (video)

    Sep 12, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT

    Barry Steenkamp, June Steenkamp Getty Images

    Steenkamp’s parents want to meet with Pistorius, they told NBC News.

  10. Oscar Pistorius would be allowed in Paralympics after serving sentence

    Sep 12, 2014, 11:42 AM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius Getty Images

    “We would not stand in his way,” IPC spokesman said.

  11. Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide (verdict video)

    Sep 12, 2014, 7:48 AM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius AP

    Runner faces up to 15 years in prison, plus sentence for gun charge.

  12. World Gymnastics Championships nominative lists announced

    Sep 11, 2014, 1:02 PM EDT

    Simone Biles Getty Images

    U.S. women’s team won’t officially be named until next week.

  13. Mikaela Shiffrin eyes breakthrough with World Cup season approaching

    Sep 11, 2014, 12:47 PM EDT

    Mikaela Shiffrin Getty Images

    Olympic slalom champion hopes for multiple World Cup giant slalom wins this season.

  14. Oscar Pistorius trial judge rules out murder, verdict incomplete

    Sep 11, 2014, 9:15 AM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius Getty Images

    Runner could still face up to 15 years in prison for culpable homicide.

  15. Amanda Kessel to miss 2014-15 season due to pre-Olympic concussion

    Sep 10, 2014, 2:32 PM EDT

    Amanda Kessel Getty Images

    Kessel visited brain center run by same doctor who treated Sidney Crosby.

  16. Tokyo 1964 Olympic cauldron lighter passes away

    Sep 10, 2014, 10:20 AM EDT

    Yoshinori Kasai Getty Images

    Yoshinori Sakai was born on the day an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima.

  17. Bob Suter of Miracle on Ice team passes away

    Sep 9, 2014, 11:06 PM EDT

    Bob Suter Getty Images

    Suter, 57, was the father and brother of U.S. Olympians, too.

  18. Oscar Pistorius trial resumes for verdict Thursday

    Sep 9, 2014, 3:28 PM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius

    Why the runner’s judgment could be a very long process.