Pistorius gets emotional at graphic evidence

Tue Mar 4, 2014 11:47am EST
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By Ed Cropley

PRETORIA (Reuters) - Oscar Pistorius buried his head in his hands and wiped away tears after a South African court on Tuesday heard grisly details of the killing of his girlfriend, the first sign of emotion from the track star in his two-day murder trial.

The Olympian and Paralympian has been largely impassive during the trial for the murder of model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp in his suburban Pretoria home on Valentine's Day last year. Pistorius has pled not guilty, saying he shot Steenkamp through a toilet door after mistaking her for an intruder.

He leaned forward in the dock and clasped his head between his hands as lead defense lawyer Barry Roux read out details from the post mortem, including that "some fragments of the bullet" were removed from the 29-year-old's head.

Roux also heaped scorn on the testimony of neighbor Michelle Burger, who said she heard a scream fade away after the shots, saying that Steenkamp would have "dropped immediately" due to a bullet in the head.

Steenkamp was declared dead at the scene after being hit in the head, arm and hip from three bullets from a 9 mm pistol.

Pistorius, dressed a dark suit and tie, later appeared to wipe away tears.

The trial, which could see one of global sports' most admired figures jailed for life, has drawn comparisons with the high-profile murder trial of American football star and actor O.J. Simpson two decades ago.

Burger broke toward the end of her own testimony, following an angry exchange with Roux, who had sought to show she had mistaken the screams of agitated Pistorius for that of a woman.   Continued...

Oscar Pistorius leaves court after the second day of the trial of the Olympic and Paralympic track star at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, March 4, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings