Oscar Pistorius

Prosecution wraps closing argument at Oscar Pistorius trial


In his closing argument, the lead prosecutor in Oscar Pistorius‘ murder trial used a track and field analogy Thursday, saying Pistorius “dropped the baton” and should be convicted of premeditated murder.

In written remarks, prosecutors called Pistorius “one of the worst witnesses we have ever encountered” for his testimony in his own defense earlier in the trial.

Lead prosecutor Gerrie Nel repeated his view that the athlete tailored his version of events and used multiple defenses for shooting and killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius, the first double amputee to run in the Olympics in 2012, shot four times through a locked door in his Pretoria home bathroom on the early morning of Valentine’s Day 2013, hitting Steenkamp inside.

Pistorius has said he thought Steenkamp was an intruder. Nel said Pistorius was lying, summarizing the prosecution’s case from a five-month trial initially scheduled for a three-week window.

“We have, if there’s no perceived intruder, the deceased, 3 o’clock in the morning, locking herself into her toilet,” Nel said. “We have the deceased, 3 o c’lock in the morning, taking her cell phone with her to the toilet. We have the deceased, 3 o’clock in the morning, standing upright, fully clothed, and shot four times. There’s no intruder. There’s no noises. That is our argument.”

Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder. If found not guilty of premeditated murder, he could be convicted of lesser charges, such as culpable homicide, South Africa’s version of manslaughter for negligent killing.

“He made up his mind in the bedroom when he armed himself,” Nel said. “That is preplanned. … Our argument is that the accused should be convicted on all accounts.”

The murder trial, initially slated for March 3-20, concluded its 40th day scattered among several breaks the last five months. Lead defense attorney Barry Roux began his closing argument, pointing out “material mistakes” made by the prosecution.

Roux is expected to conclude his closing argument Friday, after which judge Thokozile Masipa and her assessors will deliberate and come up with a verdict. The final ruling is expected to be preceded by a lengthy break, reportedly from one week to over a month.

Pistorius’ father, reportedly estranged from the runner, sat in the courtroom for the first time during the trial Thursday.

Pistorius’ older brother, Carl, spent Thursday intensive care unit and on a ventilator in a South African hospital after a car crash last week, the Pistorius family said in a statement.

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

Mark McGwire remembers baseball’s Olympic boom in 1984

Ashley Wagner tops Skate America short program

ST PAUL, MN - JANUARY 21: Ashley Wagner competes in the Ladies' Short Program at the 2016 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championship on January 21, 2016 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ashley Wagner picked up from where she left off last season, topping the Skate America short program Friday night.

Wagner, the world championships silver medalist, tallied 69.50 points in the Grand Prix opener, landing all of her jumps in Hoffman Estates, Ill. She leads Japan’s Mai Mihara, who scored 65.75.

“There were a couple of things that weren’t quite perfect,” Wagner told media.

U.S. champion Gracie Gold fell on a triple flip. She’s in third place with 64.87. Full results are here.

“I had a hiccup on the triple flip,” Gold said. “Overall, it felt really good.”

Japan’s Mao Asada, a three-time world champion, was fifth after performing a triple-double jump combination rather than a triple-triple.

The free skate is Saturday, live on NBC and the NBC Sports app at 4:30 p.m. ET (full broadcast schedule here).

The last U.S. woman to win Skate America was Wagner in 2012.

Wagner and Gold are competing in their first full individual competitions since April’s world championships, when Gold fell from first after the short program to finish fourth.

Wagner climbed from fourth after the worlds short program to finish second and end a 10-year U.S. women’s podium drought at the Olympics and world championships.

MORE: Scott Hamilton diagnosed with brain tumor for third time

Scott Hamilton diagnosed with brain tumor for third time

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 03:  Former figure skater and Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton onstage during A Capitol Fourth - Rehearsals at U.S. Capitol, West Lawn, on July 3, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Olympic figure skating champion Scott Hamilton said he was diagnosed with a benign pituitary brain tumor for a third time.

Hamilton, who took gold in Sarajevo in 1984, underwent chemotherapy to treat testicular cancer in 1997 and was twice previously diagnosed with brain tumors and had surgery, in 2004 and 2010.

“I didn’t have any symptoms, I just went in for my normal check-up, and they found the beginnings of the brain tumor coming back,” the 58-year-old Hamilton said. “I have a unique hobby of collecting life-threatening illness. … It’s six years later, and it decided that it wanted an encore.”

From People magazine:

Hamilton learned of the tumor at a routine check-up and is currently exploring all his treatment options before symptoms begin presenting.

“I’ll tell anybody that will listen: If you’re ever facing anything, get as many diagnoses as you possibly can,” he says. “The more you truly understand what you’re up against, the better decision you’re going to make.”

Hamilton was in New York on Friday to promote U.S. Figure Skating’s “Get Up” campaign.

“It’s all about shrugging it off, whatever’s going on, whether it be bullying at school, whether it be a setback in health, you just get up,” Hamilton said. “Not only to bring the young people that love skating together, but to bring the broader population into the fold.”

Hamilton said that surviving cancer was the moment in his life that he most associated with the “Get Up” campaign.

“Chemotherapy for months was devastating, but it’s endurable,” Hamilton said. “I don’t want to scare anybody from being treated for cancer, because I’m here, 20 years later, but the surgery afterwards was 38 staples, and I’m a little person. Getting up, getting back on the ice and performing again, quickly, was kind of my ‘Get Up’ moment.”

MORE: 2016-17 figure skating season broadcast schedule