Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius wails as he describes fatal shooting at murder trial (video)


Oscar Pistorius‘ sobs crescendoed to wails as he testified Tuesday about finding girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after fatally shooting her on Valentine’s Day last year.

“I sat over Reeva, and I cried,” Pistorius said. “I don’t know how long I was there for. She wasn’t breathing.”

Pistorius sobbed over the last sentence, causing judge Thokozile Masipa to call for an adjournment. The trial’s live stream, which did not broadcast Pistorius’ face, continued for several more seconds as he cried louder and louder.

Pistorius re-entered the court room several minutes later, but his lead attorney requested the trial adjourn for the day. It was granted.

“I saw the accused [Pistorius] outside,” lawyer Barry Roux said. “His shirt is soaking wet. His emotional state is so that I can not responsibly ask the court to carry on.”

That concluded an emotional day of testimony from Pistorius, his second straight day on the stand on the 18th day of his trial over shooting Steenkamp on the early morning of Valentine’s Day 2013. He 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.

Pistorius, the first double amputee to run in the Olympics in 2012, said he thought Steenkamp was an intruder locked in his bathroom when he shot four times through a locked door, hitting and killing her inside. The prosecution claims Pistorius killed Steenkamp after an argument.

Pistorius’ testimony Tuesday took the Pretoria court room from the day he met Steenkamp — Nov. 4, 2012 — to the day she died a little more than three months later.

His voice quivered throughout. He was never shown on a live stream, but his hands shook, according to court reports. He sniffled, and tears dripped down his cheeks and off his nose.

The judge and his lead attorney repeatedly asked him to speak up and slow down as he spoke.

During an early adjournment, Pistorius changed out of a suit and into a T-shirt and shorts, similar to what he wore the night he shot Steenkamp. Back in court, he took off his prosthetic legs and walked a few yards on his stumps. Pistorius said he was not wearing his prosthetic legs when he shot Steenkamp last year.

He continued to testify about that night while wearing the T-shirt and shorts, describing hearing what he thought was a window opening inside his bathroom.

“That’s the moment that everything changed,” Pistorius said. “I thought that there was a burglar that was gaining entry into my home.”

Pistorius went into more detail than in his affidavit last year.

“Initially, I just froze,” Pistorius said. “I didn’t really know what to do. I heard this noise. I interpreted as somebody was climbing into the bathroom.

“The first thing that ran through my mind was that I needed to arm myself, that I needed to protect Reeva and I, and that I needed to get my gun.”

Pistorius said he grabbed a firearm from underneath his bed and “whispered for Reeva to get down and phone the police.” He was “scared to death” and “overcome with fear.”

“I started screaming and shouting for the burglar or the intruders to get out of my house,” Pistorius said. “I shouted for Reeva to get on the floor. I shouted for her to phone the police.”

Pistorius continued after a lunch break and told of making his way toward the bathroom door on his stumps while photos of the crime scene were shown in court.

“I heard a noise from inside the toilet, what I perceived to be somebody coming out of the toilet,” Pistorius said. “Before I knew it I fired four shots at the door. My ears were ringing. I couldn’t hear anything.

“I kept on shouting for Reeva. I didn’t hear anything. At this point it hadn’t occurred to me yet that it could be Reeva in the bathroom. I still thought that there would be intruders.”

Pistorius said he then said something to Steenkamp but did not hear a response. He lifted himself onto the bed and felt for Steenkamp with his hand but couldn’t find her.

“I think it was at that point that it first dawned upon me that it could be Reeva that was in the bathroom,” Pistorius said. “I was mixed with emotions. I didn’t want to believe that it could be Reeva inside the toilet. I was still scared that maybe somebody was coming in to attack me or us.”

Pistorius said he couldn’t open the locked door. He shouted for help three times from his balcony, then put on his prosthetic legs and attempted to kick the door open.

“I was just panicked at this point,” Pistorius said. “I didn’t really know what to make or what to do.”

Pistorius said he grabbed the cricket bat he would break the door with, screaming, shouting and crying out the whole time.

“I don’t think I’ve ever screamed like that or cried like that,” he said. “I was crying out for the Lord to help me. I was crying out for Reeva.”

He described hitting the door with the bat, three times he believed, and throwing a broken plank into the bathroom to get through.

“All I wanted to do was just look inside to see if it was Reeva,” Pistorius said, breaking down again.

It was.

“I sat over Reeva, and I cried,” Pistorius said. “I don’t know how long I was there for. She wasn’t breathing.”

Steenkamp’s mother, June, appeared unmoved by Pistorius’ final sobbing testimony, according to reporters in court.

The trial is expected to resume, with Pistorius still on the stand, at 3:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

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

Swimming legend battles serious infection

Ashton Eaton named male IAAF Athlete of the Year

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American decathlete Ashton Eaton was named the 2015 male Athlete of the Year by the International Association of Athletics Federations, the world governing body for track and field. Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba, the reigning world champion in the 1500m, was named the female IAAF Athlete of the Year.

Eaton is the first decathlete and just the eighth American man to win the title. Tyson Gay in 2007 was the last American man to be named.

The honor came due to Eaton’s world-record-setting performance at the world championships held in Beijing this past August. There he beat the previous record, his own from the 2012 Olympic Trials, by nine points. He also set a world record for running the fastest 400m portion of the decathlon in 45.00 seconds.

In the IAAF press release, Eaton said, “Athletes spend the most vigorous years of human life, arguably called the ‘best years’, working to hone their abilities. So, when an athlete competes, what people are witnessing is the manifestation of what a human being is capable of when they choose to direct all of their time and effort towards something.

“I’m grateful and thankful to the IAAF for excellent competitions, the canvases that allow us to display our work.”

He also acknowledged sprinter Usain Bolt and triple jumper Christian Taylor, who were also up for the title: “While I’m honored that I am considered the ‘artist’ of the year, I did not beat Usain and Christian; my work simply differed in design. They are some of the most talented and beautiful performers of all time. I’m flattered to be among them.”

Dibaba has been unbeaten in the 1500m over five races in 2015. Along with winning gold and setting a world record in the 1500 at the Beijing World Championships, Diababa won a bronze medal in the 5000m event.

She gratefully accepted the award, saying, “After being a finalist and narrowly missing out on this award one year ago, I am very proud to be recognized by the fans and experts of our sport.

“I had a great season and truly enjoyed competing around the world, from Monaco where I managed to establish a world record, to Beijing where I finally captured my first world outdoor title.”

Dibaba was recently featured in a family-themed promotional video for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

MORE: Seb Coe splits from Nike as IAAF president


Olympians celebrate Thanksgiving

Meryl Davis
Team USA/ Twitter
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Nov. 26 – or Thanksgiving to the rest of us – is oftentimes a typical training day for many Olympians and Olympic hopefuls. Here’s a look at how some of them spent the day training, competing, celebrating, and being thankful.

Workout football and food😁👍!!! Happy thanksgiving everyone!!!

A photo posted by Michael Phelps (@m_phelps00) on

Happy Thanksgiving from our cold cuts Turkey to yours! #family #happyhappyheart

A photo posted by @cammileadams on

Happy Thanksgiving from the SwimMAC Parade crew!

A photo posted by Tyler Clary (@tylerclary) on


MORE: NBC’s Thanksgiving Rio promo