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Oscar Pistorius Details Night He Shot Girlfriend

At bond hearing, track star claims it was an accident


One thing is clear at this point: Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, inside his home early Thursday morning. What's still unclear, and what was contested today at his bond hearing in Pretoria, South Africa, is whether it was a horrible accident or a case of vicious murder.

According to Pistorius, he awoke in the middle of Wednesday night, heard unusual sounds coming from the bathroom, and thought an intruder had broken into his house. Contractors had been working on his house, and he recalled that they'd left ladders propped against an outside wall. Scared and feeling vulnerable without his prosthetic legs in the pitch black, Pistorius removed his 9mm pistol from beneath his bed and pulled himself to the locked bathroom door, where he fired four shots into it.

It was only afterwards, when he called out to Steenkamp—who he thought had been asleep in bed beside him—and she didn't respond, that he realized he might have made a horrible mistake. Pistorius broke down the bathroom door, where he discovered Steenkamp had been mortally wounded by three of the four bullets, and carried her downstairs to get her help. That's the story he told Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair in a statement read by his lawyer today. Throughout the hearing, Pistorius sobbed, his body heaving with every mention of Steenkamp's name. But prosecutors disputed his version of events, painting a much darker picture of unprovoked murder following a domestic argument.

Prosecutors say they think Pistorius put on his prosthetic legs, picked up his gun, walked to the bathroom door, where Steenkamp had locked herself following a heated argument, and fired four times with the intent to kill her.

Nair upgraded the charge against Pistorius to premeditated murder, saying he couldn't be sure that the sprinter hadn't planned Steenkamp's murder. Today's session ended without a ruling on bail, but the allegation of premeditation makes it much harder for Pistorius's defense attorneys to successfully argue that he should be released on bail pending trial.

We'll update you on the case as it proceeds.

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