Oscar’s family refutes ‘pre-meditated murder’ charges
Oscar Pistorius is "numb with shock as well as grief" after the shooting death of his model girlfriend at his home in South Africa, the runner's uncle said Saturday, as his family strongly denied prosecutors' claims that he murdered her. Arnold Pistorius spoke about his nephew's arrest in the killing of Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot four times on the morning of Valentine's Day. The statement, the first on camera and directly made in person by Pistorius' family, also came out strongly against prosecutors seeking to upgrade the charge against Pistorius to one of premeditated murder, which carries a sentence of life in prison.
"We have no doubt there is no substance to the allegation and that the state's own case, including its own forensic evidence, strongly refutes any possibility of a premeditated murder or murder as such," Arnold Pistorius said.
The track star's arrest in the killing of 29-year-old Steenkamp shocked South Africa, where Pistorius was a national hero and icon for overcoming his disability to compete at the London Olympics. She was discovered in a pool of blood before dawn Thursday by police called to Pistorius' upscale home in a gated community. Authorities said she had been shot four times, and a 9 mm pistol was recovered at the home.
Pistorius remains held at a police station pending a bail hearing Tuesday. Police have already said they'll oppose Pistorius being released before trial. A premeditated murder charge also makes it more difficult for his defense team to get bail.
There will be a variety of hearings before Pistorius, 26, could go on trial. He has yet to enter a plea in the case.
The family denial that Pistorius committed murder doesn't necessarily mean that they say he didn't shoot her. Initial speculation immediately after the shooting Thursday suggested that it could have been accidental, though police say they are not currently considering that.
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