Reeva Steenkamp’s father testifies at Oscar Pistorius sentencing

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PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — His voice breaking with emotion, the father of Reeva Steenkamp testified in a South African court on Tuesday that her fatal shooting by boyfriend Oscar Pistorius “devastated” his family and that he thinks of her constantly, even trying to imagine the horrific moment of her death.

“Oscar has to pay for what he did,” said Barry Steenkamp, adding that he would like to talk to the former track star in private at a later stage.

Steenkamp spoke at the sentencing hearing for Pistorius, who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend in his home in 2013 in a case that transfixed many around the world, partly because of the dramatic fall of a once-acclaimed athlete and the shocking nature of his crime.

Pistorius is currently under house arrest after initially serving one year of a five-year prison sentence for manslaughter for shooting Reeva Steenkamp. But that conviction was overturned last year by an appeals court, which convicted Pistorius of the more serious charge of murder.

Judge Thokozile Masipa, who initially acquitted Pistorius of murder, will decide the new sentence. The hearing is scheduled to run through Friday this week. South Africa has a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison for murder, although a judge can reduce that in some circumstances.

Barry Steenkamp gave testimony about the wrenching, personal grief of a distraught father who lost a daughter in a fatal shooting.

“She must have been in so much fear, pain,” Steenkamp said, his hands shaking at times. “That is what I think of all the time.”

Under questioning from chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel, Steenkamp urged Judge Masipa to allow the public to see the graphic photos of his daughter’s wounds that were entered as evidence during Pistorius’ trial but not allowed to be shown to a wider audience. Perhaps, Steenkamp said, people who are “thinking of that type of deed” will hesitate before committing such a violent act if they see the photos.

He said the death of Reeva Steenkamp, a model who was shot multiple times through a toilet cubicle door, contributed to his heart and other health problems and that his wife June grieves just as much as he does despite what he called her “stone-faced” demeanor in public.

“I hear her at night,” Barry Steenkamp said. “I hear her crying. I hear her talking to Reeva.”

He said of his daughter’s death: “It devastated us.”

Sitting in the courtroom, Pistorius looked downward as Steenkamp testified. Afterward, during an adjournment, he sat hunched forward, apparently emotional, as his siblings, Carl and Aimee, sought to comfort him.

Earlier, a pastor and a woman whose son was born without legs testified for Pistorius’ defense.

Pastor Marius Nel said he had been in contact with schools that want the double-amputee Olympian to help disadvantaged children with sports training. The pastor also said he had visited Pistorius after he was jailed for the earlier manslaughter conviction and found him to be a “broken” man.

The testimony reflects an argument by defense lawyer Barry Roux that Pistorius should not go to jail because he can make a valuable contribution to society and would face increasing mental deterioration if he returns to prison.

A nurse at the prison where Pistorius was jailed after his manslaughter conviction later testified for the prosecution about several alleged confrontations with Pistorius over medication and other issues. In one episode, nurse Charlotte Mashabane said, Pistorius got angry because officials came to his cell for a routine check while he was sleeping.

Gerrie Nel said he would call his last witness on Wednesday for what he said would be “emotional” testimony.

MORE: Pistorius timeline since London Olympics

Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein
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Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

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British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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