Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius shot guns out of car, in restaurant, witness says


A man testified at Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial Tuesday that he was with Pistorius when the double amputee Olympian fired a gun through a car’s sunroof and under the table at a restaurant in separate incidents before he shot and killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to two counts of firing a gun in public, in addition to denying guilt of illegal possession of unlicensed ammunition and premeditated murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013.

Darren Fresco‘s testimony Tuesday corroborated a previous witness account that Pistorius shot through the sunroof of a car after an altercation with police in September 2012.

Fresco also said he took the blame after Pistorius fired Fresco’s Glock 27 .40 caliber pistol under a table at a restaurant one month before killing Steenkamp. Fresco said Pistorius asked him to take the blame because of the “media hype” around him, also corroborating a previous witness account.

“Being a friend,” Fresco said, “I said of course.”

Fresco repeatedly referred to Pistorius as “the accused” rather than by name at a Pretoria court Tuesday. He also said he had followed “bits and pieces” of the trial before he testified on its seventh day.

“It’s stuff that’s been in the media, on the news,” Fresco said. “Doesn’t matter where you look, where you turn, where you go, what you listen to, watch you watch. It’s all over the media.”

Earlier, pathologist Gert Saayman was questioned by Pistorius’ defense about Steenkamp’s food and bladder contents at the time of her death. On Monday, Pistorius cried and threw up while Saayman detailed his autopsy findings and Steenkamp’s bullet wounds.

Saayman said Steenkamp likely ate within two hours of her death. She died after 3 a.m. Pistorius has said they went to sleep at 10 p.m. Saayman said he’s done between 10,000 and 15,000 autopsies over 30 years.

Pistorius, the first double amputee to run in the Olympics in 2012, could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder from Valentine’s Day 2013. He shot four times through a bathroom door, hitting Steenkamp inside.

The prosecution asserts Pistorius shot through the door after an argument with Steenkamp. Pistorius has said he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.

The trial is expected to resume at 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

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

Here are reports from the court room Tuesday:

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Ashley Wagner leads U.S. 1-2 at Skate America

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Ashley Wagner bolstered her international reputation again, winning Skate America on Saturday in her first top-level full competition since her world championships silver medal in April.

Wagner totaled 196.44 points over two programs in Hoffman Estates, Ill., holding off countrywoman Mariah Bell by 4.85 points. U.S. champion Gracie Gold was fifth. Full results are here.

“The short program was definitely one of my world-class programs,” Wagner said on NBC. “Long program, I left a little bit out on the table.”

Wagner, who led by 3.75 points after Friday’s short program, was flawed in her free skate, including singling the back end of a jump combination and under-rotating two more jumps.

Still it was enough to overtake Bell, who had the highest free skate score by 3.73 points but was sixth in the short program.

It marked the first U.S. women’s one-two in a Grand Prix event since 2012 Skate America (Wagner and Christina Gao).

“I’m starting to realize my own potential and believe in myself,” Bell, who shares a coach with Wagner, said on NBC. “I’m very excited for the future.”

Gold fell in both of her programs as she tries to bounce back from dropping from first to fourth at last season’s world championships. Gold had her lowest Grand Prix finish (excluding Grand Prix Final) since her debut at 2012 Skate Canada.

Wagner notched her fifth career Grand Prix series win (only Michelle Kwan and Sasha Cohen own more among U.S. women). Wagner joined Kwan as the only women to bag multiple Skate America and U.S. Championships titles.

The women Wagner must be compared with are Russian teens. Wagner ended a 10-year U.S. medal drought at worlds last year, but Russia still rules women’s skating.

None of the top Russians competed at Skate America. Wagner is slated to face 2015 World gold and bronze medalists Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Yelena Radionova at her next event, Cup of China, in four weeks.

The reigning world champion, Yevgenia Medvedeva, makes her Grand Prix season debut at Skate Canada next week. Medvedeva and Wagner could go head-to-head at the Grand Prix Final in Marseille, France, in December.

Earlier Saturday, Japan’s Shoma Uno topped the men’s short program with 89.15 points, landing one of his two quadruple jump attempts.

Uno, 18, was followed by the last two U.S. champions, Adam Rippon (87.32, no quads) and Jason Brown (85.75, fall on single quad attempt).

The men’s free skate is Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET (NBC and NBC Sports app).

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Simone Schaller, oldest living Olympian, dies at 104

FILE - In this July 15, 1936, file photo, Simone Schaller, lower right, waves with members of the United States women's Olympic track and field team as they depart for Europe on the SS Manhattan. Schaller, an American hurdler who competed at the 1932 and 1936 Summer Games and was believed to be the oldest living Olympian, died of natural causes Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016,  in the Arcadia, Calif., home she and her husband built when they married in the 1930s, her grandson Jeffrey Hardy said, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. She was 104. (AP Photo/File)
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ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — Simone Schaller, an American hurdler who competed at the 1932 and 1936 Summer Games and was believed to be the oldest living Olympian, has died. She was 104.

Grandson Jeffrey Hardy said Saturday that Schaller died of natural causes Thursday in the home she and her husband built when they married in the 1930s.

Schaller tied Babe Didrikson Zaharias for the world record in the first round of the 80-meter hurdles at the 1932 Los Angeles Games. Schaller finished fourth in the final behind Didrikson, who set another record. According to Olympic historian David Wallechinsky, Schaller had taken up hurdling only three months earlier.

At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Schaller made it to the semifinals.

She won the hurdles at the 1933 U.S. Championships. She was also an avid tennis player.

Schaller had three children, seven grandchildren, a dozen great-grandchildren and numerous great-great-grandchildren.

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