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

‘Olympic Pride, American Prejudice’ film on Berlin 1936 on the way

Jesse Owens
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“Olympic Pride, American Prejudice,” a documentary on 18 African-American Olympians at the Berlin 1936 Games, is set to be screened in the spring and be narrated and executive produced by Blair Underwood, according to Variety.

The group of 18, headlined by Jesse Owens, competed in the face of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler on the brink of World War II.

Trailers for the film are here and here.

From the film’s website:

“Olympic Pride, American Prejudice is a feature length documentary exploring the trials and triumphs of 18 African American Olympians in 1936. Set against the strained and turbulent atmosphere of a racially divided America, which was torn between boycotting Hitler’s Olympics or participating in the Third Reich’s grandest affair, the film follows 16 men and two women before, during and after their heroic turn at the Summer Olympic Games in Berlin. They represented a country that considered them second class citizens and competed in a country that rolled out the red carpet in spite of an undercurrent of Aryan superiority and anti-Semitism. They carried the weight of a race on their shoulders and did the unexpected with grace and dignity.

The athletes experienced things that they were not expecting—applause, warm welcomes, integrated Olympic villages and the respect of their competitors. They were world heroes yet returned home to a short-lived glory. This story is complicated. This story is triumphant but unheralded.”

MORE: See ‘Race’ film poster

Munich 1972 Olympic attack victims’ families detail massacre in documentary

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Family members of the Munich 1972 Olympic attack victims “described the extent of the cruelty” in interviews for “Munich 1972 & Beyond,” an upcoming documentary on the massacre, according to The New York Times.

Eleven Israeli athletes and officials were killed after being taken hostage by a Palestinian group in the athletes’ village nearly 40 years ago, with nine dying in a failed rescue attempt.

In 1992, widows of two of the victims learned details of how the athletes and officials were treated — including via graphic photographs — and recently spoke publicly about it, according to the newspaper.

“What they did is that they cut off his genitals through his underwear and abused him,” Ilana Romano said through a translator of husband Yossef Romano, an Olympic weightlifter, according to the newspaper. “Can you imagine the nine others sitting around tied up? They watched this.”

The documentary “Munich 1972 & Beyond,” announced earlier this year, is set to be released in early 2016. Here’s an interview with one of the film’s producers.

In 2014, it was announced that a $2.3 million memorial in Munich was planned to remember the victims, with the International Olympic Committee contributing $250,000.

At Rio 2016, a moment of remembrance will be held during the Closing Ceremony and a special mourning area will be in the Olympic village to honor those who have died during an Olympic Games.

PHOTOS: Munich 1972 Olympic sites, including massacre site