Blade runner Oscar Pistorius accused of killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was charged with premeditated murder Tuesday for the purpose of bail, Chief Magistrate ruled while hearing a bail petition by the accused, NCA News reported.
The Chief Magistrate of Pretoria Magistrate’s Court Desmond Nair after hearing the arguments from the prosecution and the defense said he cannot "exclude” the possibility of planning at this stage and bail petition will be heard under Schedule 6 (premeditated murder). He added that the defense team must show 'exceptional circumstances' if Pistorius is to be granted bail.
South African sporting hero Pistorius - a double amputee Olympian and Paralympian who uses prosthetic legs - was seeking bail after he was arrested for killing his 29-year-old model-girlfriend, in a Pretoria court Tuesday.
The details of the night in which the model and law school graduate Reeva Steenkamp was killed emerged in the court hearing as the prosecutors charged Pistorius with planned murder. According to prosecution, Pistorius fired four shots at Steenkamp through a closed bathroom door at his home.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the Pretoria Magistrate's court that the accused armed with a 9mm pistol put on his prosthetic legs and walked seven meters from his bedroom to a closed bathroom and fired four times through the door fatally wounding Steenkamp. Prosecution indicated that the model was shot in a tiny bathroom, where the cowering woman had locked herself.
Continue Reading Below
"If I arm myself, walk a distance and murder a person, that is premeditated," Nel said. "The door is closed. There is no doubt. I walk seven meters and I kill."
"The motive is 'I want to kill'. That's it," he added. "This deceased was in a 1.4 by 1.14 meter little room. She could go nowhere. It must have been horrific," Reuters has reported.
The Chief Magistrate’s ruling to apply Schedule 6 for the bail purpose is believed to be a major blow to the 26-year-old athlete’s bail chances.
The defense lawyers argued that killing Steenkamp was not a murder as he claimed that there is no basis for the inference that Pistorius knew it was Steenkamp behind the closed doors, the New York Times reported.
Initial media reports from South Africa suggested that Pistorius, who won laurels in Olympics and Paralympics by running with carbon-fiber blades, had accidently shot his girlfriend mistaking her to be a burglar.
It was the second court appearance for the athlete who looked devastated after the Chief Magistrate’s ruling. According to BBC report, he sobbed uncontrollably when the court heard the details of the happenings on the day of the killing.
Meanwhile, a private funeral service for Reeva Steenkamp was held in Port Elizabeth, the model's hometown, where hundreds paid homage to the slain model.
In a tearful ceremony, her family members and friends mourned her death.
"She was an angel. She was so soft, so innocent. Such a lovely person. It's just sad that this could happen to somebody so good," Gavin Venter, an ex-jockey who worked for Steenkamp's father said, Reuters reported.
"I'm disgusted with what he did. He must be dealt with harshly," he added. "Without a doubt he's a danger to the public. He'll be a danger to witnesses. He must stay in jail."
Her mother, June Steenkamp said the family wants answers.
"Why? Why my little girl? Why did this happen? Why did he do this?" she said in an interview published Monday in The Times newspaper.