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Oscar Pistorius charged with murder

02/19/2013 11:15 AM ET
By Joe Auriemma

Oscar Pistorius stands during his bail hearing.(AP)
Oscar Pistorius, the 26-year-old double amputee Olympic athlete who was a story of hope for many during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, has taken a tragic turn. On Tuesday morning in a South African courtroom, Pistorius was present at his initial bail hearing telling shocked onlookers that the death of his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was an accidental shooting, while prosecutors argued that the act was premeditated murder.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel charged the sprint runner with premeditated murder and followed up the claim by painting a vivid picture of what happened at the crime scene. A conviction of the crimes Pistorius is charged with carries a mandatory sentence of life in jail.

Nel, looking for the harshest bail requirements set against Pistorius, claims he fired his gun four times with three bullets striking Steenkamp. A prosecutor said Steenkamp was fatally wounded after a shouting match with Pistorius.

Pistorius disputed those claims at his bail hearing. Thinking there was a burglar in his home and feeling vulnerable without his prosthetic legs, he proceeded to fire bullets into the locked bathroom door. He then screamed to Steenkamp to call the police, but then feared the worst when he realized that she was not next to him in the bed in the dark room.

"It filled me with horror and fear," Pistorius said.

Once Pistorius put on his prosthetic legs he then bashed the door down with a cricket bat only to find Steenkamp shot inside. He, along with his lawyers, said the state had provided no evidence that the couple quarreled or offered a motive.

Chief magistrate Desmond Nair, listening to details given by both sides, ruled in favor of the prosecution. Nair is expected to decide whether Pistorius is eligible for bail, once the bail hearing continues on Wednesday.

The "Blade Runner," as Pistorius is known as for his carbon-fiber running blade, provided the London games of 2012 with a story of inspiration. Now, he is being charged with a heinous crime that has both the World and the people of South Africa that idolized him completely shocked.

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