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‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius charged in shooting death of model girlfriend

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp 

Paralympic superstar Oscar Pistorius was arrested and charged Thursday with fatally shooting his 29-year-old girlfriend in their upscale Pretoria home, authorities said.

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Oscar Pistorius, the Olympian who shot and killed his girlfriend back in February was in court today.

Prosecutors asked the judge for a postponement of the case to have more time to prepare.

The judge agreed and set a new date for august 19th, hoping to begin the trial at the end of this year.

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend.

His lawyers say he thought he was shooting at an intruder in the bathroom.

(CNN) — More than a week after he was charged in her death, South African track star Oscar Pistorius intends to hold a private memorial service Tuesday night for his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his uncle’s Pretoria home, Pistorius’ family said in a statement Tuesday.

Pistorius’ family said it released the statement because information about the memorial service had leaked to the news media.

“Oscar specifically requested the memorial service as he continues to grieve and remains in deep mourning for the loss of his partner Reeva,” the Pistorius family’s statement reads. “Since it is such a sensitive issue, Oscar has asked for a private service with people who share his loss, including his family members who knew and loved Reeva as one of their own.”

The family asked the media to give them privacy at the home Tuesday night.

Pistorius, a double-amputee and Olympian sprinter who competes with prosthetic legs, is charged with premeditated murder, accused of deliberately shooting his model girlfriend in his home on February 14.

His defense team claims Pistorius mistakenly believed Steenkamp, 29, was an intruder hiding in a toilet room inside the bathroom of his Pretoria home when he shot her.

Pistorius, 26, was released from jail Friday on $112,000 bail after a four-day, emotionally wrenching bail hearing.

Steenkamp’s father, Barry Steenkamp, told the Afrikaans-language newspaper Beeld for a story Saturday that if Pistorius is lying about how she died, he will have to live with his conscience. But Barry Steenkamp said that if Pistorius tells the truth, he might someday forgive him.

Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius is a free man, for now.

Pistorius was released on bail on Friday and is currently staying with his uncle.

The blade runner admitted he shot model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp because he thought she was a burglar.

South African locals are reacting to the accused shooter being in jail for only eight days.

Pistorius has expressed his need to talk to the Steenkamp family.

He is due back in court on June 4th.

Until then he must see a psychiatrist and report to a police station twice a week.

(PIX11)-  South African television ran a reality show featuring model Reeva Steenkamp just days after she was shot dead.

Steenkamp was the girlfriend of Olympian Oscar Pistorius, also known as the ‘Blade Runner.’

Pistorius is accused of shooting Steenkamp four times, killing her on Valentine’s Day.

Steenkamp was a contestant on “Tropika Island of Treasure.”

Despite her death, producers decided to air the show saying Steenkamp would have wanted the show to go on.

Pistorius is charged with murder and the lead prosecutor will argue that it was premeditated.

Pretoria, South Africa (CNN) — Days after a tragic shooting turned an Olympic hero into a murder suspect, South Africans tried to make sense of hazy details surrounding a case that has left the nation stunned.

Information remained scant Saturday, a day after a judge charged a sobbing Oscar Pistorius with murder.

Universal admiration for his sports achievements turned to global shock following his arrest, with more questions than answers:

What transpired in Pistorius‘ upscale Pretoria home?

What led to the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a platinum-haired model gearing up for her reality television debut?

And why on Valentine’s Day?

According to South Africa’s City Press a cricket bat has been taken from the home of Oscar Pistorius.

Authorities believe the bat may have been used to break down a bathroom door where Steenkamp was found, or she used it to defend herself.

The paper cited sources saying her skull was crushed.

In a packed courtroom in Pretoria, the man nicknamed Blade Runner, for his lightning-fast prosthetic legs, held his head in his hands and wept. His loud sobs shook his body uncontrollably.

“As you can imagine our entire family is devastated, we are in a state of total shock,” said his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, in a written statement. “All of us saw at first hand how close she had become to Oscar during that time and how happy they were.”

“We have no doubt there is no substance to the allegation and that the State’s own case, including its own forensic evidence, strongly refutes any possibility of a premeditated murder or indeed any murder at all.”

Pistorius, 26, also rejected the murder allegation “in the strongest terms,” his agent said in a statement.

‘Medals are just medals’

But Saturday, two days after Steenkamp’s death, some South Africans remained puzzled over his alleged involvement.

Despite the fact that he is innocent until proven guilty, some said the allegation has tainted his image.

“I was very shocked. A mother lost a daughter. I was not expecting anything like this from someone like him,” said Nondumiso Mlondo, who lives in Durban.

“Everybody is still talking about it. Just think of those young kids who want to be like him. Who are looking up to him. After his Olympic success, we were hoping for something bigger for him this year … look what has happened.”

Citizens carried on heated discussions in buses, bars, barber shops.

“People are saying .. why do stars make a point of screwing up when they are doing so well?” Mlondo asked. “Medals are just medals … I don’t care whether he has hundreds of them, he should be held accountable.”

Opinion: Pistorius case and the plague of violence against women

‘Life goes on’

But for others, the shock was ebbing.

“Life goes on,” said Rufaz Mavhure, who lives in Woodmead, a commercial suburb of Johannesburg.

“It was a shock to the nation when we first heard it … but it has worn off,” he said. “We have sobered up — even though people will still question why.”

The allegation was a major fall from grace for a man who made history last year by becoming the first double-amputee runner to compete in the able-bodied Olympic Games in London.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s national broadcaster aired a reality TV show featuring Steenkamp discussing her exit from the taped program, on which she was a contestant.

“I’m going home with sort of a sweet taste in my mouth. I don’t have any regrets. I don’t have any bitterness,” she said. “I’m going to miss you all so much and I love you very very much.”

The decision to air the program took “much deliberation,” and that “this week’s episode will be dedicated to Reeva’s memory,” Executive producer Samantha Moon said.

A fallen hero

When Pistorius was a toddler, his legs were amputated below the knees because of a bone defect.

He runs on special carbon fiber blades, hence the nickname.

A few weeks after the Olympics, he smashed a record to win the men’s 400-meter in the 2012 Paralympic Games.

Images of his sports feats flashed across the screens at the time. But by Thursday, it was a jarringly different story.

Pictures of his walk to a police car, his head covered by a sweatshirt, flashed across television screens worldwide.

Then there was his court appearance 24 hours later, grim-faced and sobbing uncontrollably.

Prosecutors planned to upgrade the charge to premeditated murder.

Nike’s bullet ad with Pistorius backfires

A nation, jolted

Steenkamp’s killing rattled South Africa, which is grappling with the aftermath of the recent murder of 17-year-old Anene Booyson — a case that has put a spotlight on violence against women.

Booyson died after she was gang-raped and mutilated in Bredasdorp, a tiny tourist town southeast of Capetown.

While police have not discussed a possible motive for the 29-year-old model’s killing, local media reported that Pistorius had mistaken his girlfriend for an intruder.

But South African authorities stressed that the scenario did not come from them, and said there was no evidence of forced entry at the home.

Police found her in a pool of blood before dawn Thursday after neighbors in the gated community alerted them.

Investigators found a 9mm pistol at the scene.

Renewed calls for stricter gun laws

South Africa has a high crime rate, and many homeowners keep weapons to ward off intruders.

Groups renewed calls for stricter gun laws in the nation after this week’s killing.

“There are 1.5 million gun owners — about 3.5 million guns in civilians hands,” said Alan Storey, chairman of Gun Free South Africa.

Most of the victims of gun homicides in the nation of 50 million people are between the ages 20 and 30, he said.

South Africa has passed tough legislation that includes a requirement for a thorough background check for prospective gun owners. The check includes spouses and partners, and is repeated every few years, he said.

“People acquire guns believing they are more safe … but they place themselves at greater risk,” Storey said. “We’ve made airplanes a gun-free zone. We need to bring that logic down to earth.”

But the South African Gunowners’ Association, a popular gun lobby group, has said citizens have the right to protect themselves from increasingly violent crimes.

“There are already more than enough laws and regulations to control the possession of firearms by private citizens,” it says on its website. “Fewer and less complex laws reasonably, yet properly, applied could achieve the required objective.”

Postponed bail hearing

Beyond the violence, South Africans struggled with the idea that they’ve lost a hero, an athlete who defied incredible physical odds to become a global star.

His face became a fixture on billboards across the nation, some of which started coming down after his arrest.

The Pretoria court postponed Pistorius’ bail hearing to Tuesday and ordered him to remain in custody until then. Prosecutors said they will argue that he committed premeditated murder.

Authorities said they will oppose bail, but did not provide their reasons for the decision.

“Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius is reportedly “numb with shock as well as grief” following the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenka, according to the Olympic medalist’s uncle.

Pistorius’ uncle also strongly refutes the charges again his nephew, stating that he had planned to kill his model girlfriend.

Steenka was shot four times in the home she shared with Pistorius. A 9-millimeter pistol was recovered.

Pistorius is currently being held at a police station awaiting his Tuesday bail hearing. Prosecutors are seeking to up the charges to pre-meditated murder, which carries a life sentence.

Oscar Pistorius weeps, charged with intentionally killing girlfriend

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (LOS ANGELES TIMES) – South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, who made history last year as the first double amputee runner to compete in the Olympics using prosthetic blades, will spend the night in jail Thursday after he was charged with murder in the death of his girlfriend at his house, prosecutors said.

The National Prosecuting Authority said Pistorius would remain in custody until his hearing Friday, when police intend to oppose bail.

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp dated for about two months.

Reeva Steenkamp, a 30-year-old model, died after being shot several times in the head and arm in Pistorius’ house in an upscale suburb in Pretoria.

Pistorius was ushered from the home by police Thursday morning with a gray hoodie covering his head and obscuring most of his face.

South Africans were in shock about the accusation against Pistorius, who became a hero during his long battle for the right to compete in the Olympics. After a controversy on whether the blades he uses to walk and run gave him an advantage in races, Pistorius was granted the right to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Reeva Steenkamp

Reeva Steenkamp, a 30-year-old model, died after being shot several times in the head and arm in Pistorius’ house in an upscale suburb in Pretoria.

South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of murder and violent crime, and many South Africans keep guns at home to guard against intruders.

The Afrikaans-language newspaper Beeld suggested that Pistorius mistook his girlfriend for a burglar and killed her accidentally.

However, a police spokeswoman, Brig. Denise Beukes, said police were “surprised” at reports the killing was accidental, adding that that version hadn’t come from police, according to the South African Press Assn.

“I confirm there had been previous incidents of a domestic nature at his place,” said Beukes, adding that police couldn’t comment on the decision to oppose bail.

Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius during the Olympics, where he made history last year as first double amputee runner to compete in the Olympics using prosthetic blades.

Beukes said police had interviewed neighbors who heard sounds at Pistorius’ home earlier in the evening, and also at the time the incident reportedly took place.

Pistorius’ father, Henke Pistorius, said his son was sad. But the older Pistorius said he didn’t know the facts.

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius charged with murder

An advertisement for Nike, one of Pistorius’ major sponsors, was removed from his official website Thursday. It had shown the athlete in a green lycra athletic suit and the slogan, “I am the bullet in the chamber.”

“I don’t know nothing. It will be extremely obnoxious and rude to speculate,” he said in a radio interview. “If anyone makes a statement, it will have to be Oscar.”

An advertisement for Nike, one of Pistorius’ major sponsors, was removed from his official website Thursday. It had shown the athlete in a green lycra athletic suit and the slogan, “I am the bullet in the chamber.”

Pretoria, South Africa (CNN) — Paralympic superstar Oscar Pistorius was arrested and charged Thursday with fatally shooting his 29-year-old girlfriend in their upscale Pretoria home, authorities said.

According to officials, Pistorius was charged with murder and will appear in a Pretoria magistrate court Thursday afternoon.

Authorities initially did not reveal if Pistorius was a suspect, but speculation overwhelmingly grew after he was taken into police custody.

“We can confirm he was taken to a police station but can’t confirm if he is the suspect,” said police spokeswoman Denise Beukes. “You will find out in the afternoon.”

Beukes said there did not appear to be signs of forced entry at the home, and that Pistorius and the victim were the only two people there at the time of the shooting.

She also said there had been “previous incidents” at the home. “Allegations of a domestic nature,” Beukes said.

Olympics Day 8 – Athletics

Oscar Pistorius of South Africa prepares for his race in the Men’s 400m Round 1 heat on Day 8 of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in London, England. (Photo by Julia Vynokurova/Getty Images)

The victim was model Reeva Steenkamp, according to Capacity Relations, the agency that represents her.

Pistorius, nicknamed the “Blade Runner,” made history when he became the first Paralympian to compete in the able-bodied Olympics last year.

Police said Pistorius was cooperating with them.

Pistorius spokeswoman Kate Silvers says the athlete is “assisting the police with their investigation but there will be no further comment until matters become clearer later today.”

Several South African media outlets reported that the woman was mistaken for an intruder.

Beukes said she was aware of the reports, but that they did not come from the police force.

Pistorius’ father, Henke, told the South African Broadcasting Corporation his son was “sad at the moment.”

“I don’t know nothing. It will be extremely obnoxious and rude to speculate,” the father said. “I don’t know the facts.”

Buekes said police were alerted to the shooting by neighbors and that residents “heard things earlier.”

A pistol was recovered at the scene, police said.

South Africa has a high crime rate, and it’s not unusual for homeowners to keep weapons to protect themselves from intruders.

“This is a very quiet area and this is a secure estate,” Buekes said.

Pistorius, a double-amputee, ran with the aid of prosthetic limbs during the London Olympics last year. His legs were amputated below the knee when he was a toddler because of a bone defect. He runs on special carbon fiber blades, hence the nickname.

While he failed to win a medal in the Olympics, his presence on the track was lauded as an example of victory over adversity and a lesson in dedication to a goal.

Pistorius was initially refused permission to compete against able-bodied competitors, but he hired a legal team to prove that his artificial limbs didn’t give him an unfair advantage.

He smashed a Paralympic record to win the men’s 400m T44 in the final athletics event of the 2012 Games.

The athlete was among the men featured in People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive issue last year.