NEWS

Oscar Pistorius trial: Cross-examination enters 5th day

04/15/2014 03:32 EDT | Updated 06/14/2014 05:59 EDT
"Pitbull" prosecutor Gerrie Nel continued to grill Oscar Pistorius for the fifth day at his murder trial after causing the former Olympic athlete to break down several times during his testimony yesterday, forcing the South African court to adjourn early.

The double-amputee is charged with premeditated murder in the shooting death of his 29-year-old girlfriend, ReevaSteenkamp, on Valentine's Day last year. He shot Steenkamp through a locked toilet door in a bathroom in his home.

'I checked to see if she was breathing'

He maintains he shot the model accidentally, mistaking her for an intruder in his home.

The prosecution — led by Nel, who has been nicknamed "pitbull" by local media — has argued he shot her intentionally, following an argument.

Early during Tuesday's questioning, Nel asked Pistorius to re-enact hitting the toilet door with a cricket bat and questioned Pistorius on Steenkamp's position when he discovered her in the cubicle.

"Her legs were over here," Pistorius explained, using a photo from the crime scene for reference.

Nel referenced a second photo from the crime scene to further question Pistorius. Both photos showed blood on the bathroom floor.

"I sat over her ... and I checked to see if she was breathing or she had a pulse," he said, explaining he did not feel a pulse. "So I pulled her onto me."

Pistorius said he did not scream when he first saw Steenkamp in the toilet cubicle, saying he did not understand the point of screaming in that moment because he "was overcome with sadness."

"When I saw Reeva there, I was broken," he said.

Pistorius questioned about his ego

In the first four days of cross-examination, Nel has questioned Pistorius about his ego and accused him of "tailoring" his evidence during testimony.

Pistorius has become emotional several times while testifying.

On Monday, judge ThokozileMasipa adjourned proceedings briefly after Pistorius started to wail while recounting the moments before the shooting.

Nel has accused Pistorius of becoming emotional out of frustration that his "version is improbable."

"Why are you getting emotional now?” Nel asked the athlete on Monday.

Masipa is presiding over the trial. She alone will determine Pistorius's fate as South Africa does not have trial by jury.

If convicted of premeditated murder, Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison.

- INTERACTIVE | The state vs. Pistorius: how the accounts differ

- ANALYSIS | Oscar Pistorius under the microscope

Timeline: Oscar Pistorius

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