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Neighbor: Pistorius ‘torn apart’ after shooting

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PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — A neighbor and friend of Oscar Pistorius testified Monday at his murder trial that the athlete was “torn apart” and desperately trying to save girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp minutes after fatally shooting her at his home last year.

Neighbor Johan Stander said he received a panicked phone call from Pistorius at around 3:19 a.m. on Feb. 14, 2013 – about two minutes after the shooting. Pistorius told him he had thought Steenkamp was an intruder and shot her, Stander testified, and Stander and his daughter Carice Viljoen went to Pistorius’ house after the double-amputee runner pleaded with him to come and help.

“I saw the truth there that morning. I saw it and I feel it,” Stander testified, saying he believed that the shooting was accidental because of Pistorius’ emotional state when they found him carrying a bloodied Steenkamp down the stairs at his villa. Pistorius was “really crying. He was in pain,” Stander said.

“He was asking God to help him. He was torn apart, broken, desperate, pleading,” Stander said. His own voice shook at one point and he became emotional on the witness stand. “It’s difficult really to describe.”

Stander and his daughter were the fourth and fifth witnesses called by the defense as it attempted to recover from a shaky start and Pistorius’ own testimony, which was unconvincing in places under a fierce cross-examination by chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel. The pair testified as the trial moved into its seventh week after a two-week recess.

The defense was trying to reinforce its assertion that Pistorius killed Steenkamp in a tragic error of judgment. Pistorius, 27, says he mistook his 29-year-old girlfriend for an intruder and shot her through a closed toilet door, and then tried to save her life.

Prosecutors maintain Pistorius is lying about the perceived intruder and his story is designed to cover up that he killed the model intentionally in the midst of a heated nighttime argument. A multiple Paralympic champion and the first amputee to run at the Olympics, Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted on a premeditated murder charge. He slumped forward at one point Monday with his head in his hands as details of what may have been Steenkamp’s last moments alive were discussed.

Cross-examining Stander, Nel questioned if he was a good friend of Pistorius and therefore trying to “assist” the defense. Stander said he had known Pistorius since 2009 and looked after his home and dogs when the athlete was away competing. Nel asked if the friendship led him to back Pistorius’ story. Stander said he also knew Steenkamp.

“I’m here to give the truth,” Stander said. “And I think I’ve given the truth, what I saw that morning.”

Stander had earlier recounted the telephone call from Pistorius.

“He said on the call, `Johan, please, please, please come to my house. Please. I shot Reeva. I thought she was an intruder. Please come quick,'” Stander said.

Nel’s manner in cross-examining both Stander and Viljoen was relatively subdued in contrast to his aggressive questioning during his five-day cross-examination of Pistorius, and of two expert witnesses for the defense. The prosecution has focused on events before the killing – and not Pistorius’ demeanor afterward – to try and show his intruder story is a fabrication, including that he never attempted to locate his girlfriend despite knowing she was awake before walking to the bathroom on his stumps and firing four times through the door with a 9 mm pistol. Steenkamp was hit in the hip, arm and head.

Monday’s proceedings ended early because Roux said he expected the two witnesses to take up the entire day, and there were no other defense witnesses at the courthouse.

Viljoen testified that Pistorius begged her to help him get Steenkamp into a car so they could take her to a hospital. Viljoen said she urged Pistorius to “just put her down” so they could try and stop the bleeding. As Viljoen spoke, her voice broke and she became tearful. She took a sip of water, wiped her eyes and proceeded.

“I just saw blood everywhere,” she said. While her father stepped outside to telephone an ambulance, Viljoen said, she went upstairs to fetch towels to stop the bleeding. Pistorius was pleading for Steenkamp to stay alive, she testified.

Viljoen said Pistorius was saying to Steenkamp: “‘Stay with me, my love, stay with me.'”

Imray reported from Cape Town, South Africa.

Neighbor: Pistorius ‘torn apart’ after shooting

KDWN

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — A neighbor and friend of Oscar Pistorius testified Monday at his murder trial that the athlete was “torn apart” and desperately trying to save girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp minutes after fatally shooting her at his home last year.

Neighbor Johan Stander said he received a panicked phone call from Pistorius at around 3:19 a.m. on Feb. 14, 2013 – about two minutes after the shooting. Pistorius told him he had thought Steenkamp was an intruder and shot her, Stander testified, and Stander and his daughter Carice Viljoen went to Pistorius’ house after the double-amputee runner pleaded with him to come and help.

“I saw the truth there that morning. I saw it and I feel it,” Stander testified, saying he believed that the shooting was accidental because of Pistorius’ emotional state when they found him carrying a bloodied Steenkamp down the stairs at his villa. Pistorius was “really crying. He was in pain,” Stander said.

“He was asking God to help him. He was torn apart, broken, desperate, pleading,” Stander said. His own voice shook at one point and he became emotional on the witness stand. “It’s difficult really to describe.”

Stander and his daughter were the fourth and fifth witnesses called by the defense as it attempted to recover from a shaky start and Pistorius’ own testimony, which was unconvincing in places under a fierce cross-examination by chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel. The pair testified as the trial moved into its seventh week after a two-week recess.

The defense was trying to reinforce its assertion that Pistorius killed Steenkamp in a tragic error of judgment. Pistorius, 27, says he mistook his 29-year-old girlfriend for an intruder and shot her through a closed toilet door, and then tried to save her life.

Prosecutors maintain Pistorius is lying about the perceived intruder and his story is designed to cover up that he killed the model intentionally in the midst of a heated nighttime argument. A multiple Paralympic champion and the first amputee to run at the Olympics, Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted on a premeditated murder charge. He slumped forward at one point Monday with his head in his hands as details of what may have been Steenkamp’s last moments alive were discussed.

Cross-examining Stander, Nel questioned if he was a good friend of Pistorius and therefore trying to “assist” the defense. Stander said he had known Pistorius since 2009 and looked after his home and dogs when the athlete was away competing. Nel asked if the friendship led him to back Pistorius’ story. Stander said he also knew Steenkamp.

“I’m here to give the truth,” Stander said. “And I think I’ve given the truth, what I saw that morning.”

Stander had earlier recounted the telephone call from Pistorius.

“He said on the call, `Johan, please, please, please come to my house. Please. I shot Reeva. I thought she was an intruder. Please come quick,'” Stander said.

Nel’s manner in cross-examining both Stander and Viljoen was relatively subdued in contrast to his aggressive questioning during his five-day cross-examination of Pistorius, and of two expert witnesses for the defense. The prosecution has focused on events before the killing – and not Pistorius’ demeanor afterward – to try and show his intruder story is a fabrication, including that he never attempted to locate his girlfriend despite knowing she was awake before walking to the bathroom on his stumps and firing four times through the door with a 9 mm pistol. Steenkamp was hit in the hip, arm and head.

Monday’s proceedings ended early because Roux said he expected the two witnesses to take up the entire day, and there were no other defense witnesses at the courthouse.

Viljoen testified that Pistorius begged her to help him get Steenkamp into a car so they could take her to a hospital. Viljoen said she urged Pistorius to “just put her down” so they could try and stop the bleeding. As Viljoen spoke, her voice broke and she became tearful. She took a sip of water, wiped her eyes and proceeded.

“I just saw blood everywhere,” she said. While her father stepped outside to telephone an ambulance, Viljoen said, she went upstairs to fetch towels to stop the bleeding. Pistorius was pleading for Steenkamp to stay alive, she testified.

Viljoen said Pistorius was saying to Steenkamp: “‘Stay with me, my love, stay with me.'”

Imray reported from Cape Town, South Africa.

Neighbor: Pistorius ‘torn apart’ after shooting

KDWN

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — A neighbor and friend of Oscar Pistorius testified Monday that the double-amputee athlete was “torn apart” and desperately trying to save Reeva Steenkamp minutes after fatally shooting her at his home last year.

Johan Stander and his daughter were at Pistorius’ house soon after the shooting in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013, and Stander testified that he believed that the Olympian had made a mistake when he shot and killed Steenkamp because of the runner’s emotional state when they found him.

“I saw the truth there that morning. I saw it and I felt it,” Stander testified, saying Pistorius was “really crying. He was in pain.”

Stander was the fourth witness called by the defense and took the stand as the globally televised trial resumed after a two-week recess and moved into its seventh week.

Pistorius’ defense was attempting to present a scenario of Pistorius’ desperate panic at shooting his girlfriend in error through a toilet door after thinking she was a dangerous intruder, as he claims. Prosecutors maintain Pistorius is lying and his story is designed to cover up that he shot the model and reality TV star intentionally in the midst of a heated nighttime argument.

The 27-year-old Pistorius, a multiple Paralympic champion and the first amputee to run at the Olympics, faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted on the premeditated murder charge.

He slumped forward at one point Monday with his head in his hands as details of what may have been Steenkamp’s last moments alive were discussed.

Stander’s testimony on the 26th day of the trial followed a shaky start by Pistorius’ defense, where his story of an accidental killing came under scrutiny as he was cross-examined by chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel who tried to expose holes in his account of the events of that night. Two defense experts also had their evidence undermined by Nel.

Stander became emotional at one point as he described what he said was Pistorius’ “committed” attempt to save Steenkamp’s life as she lay on the floor of his Pretoria villa. Stander’s daughter Carice Viljoen, who also testified Monday, cried as she testified that she tried to stop the bleeding from a gunshot wound in Steenkamp’s arm. Steenkamp had been shot in the hip, arm and head by Pistorius through the stall door in his upstairs bathroom minutes earlier.

Stander said Pistorius “was asking God to help him. He was torn apart, broken, desperate, pleading. It’s difficult really to describe.”

Stander lived in the same gated community as Pistorius and was once on the estate’s management committee. He said that he received a telephone call from Pistorius at 3:18 or 3:19 a.m., minutes after the shooting, and the world-famous runner pleaded with him to come to his home and help.

“He (Pistorius) said on the call, `Johan, please, please, please come to my house. Please. I shot Reeva. I thought she was an intruder. Please come quick,'” Stander recounted.

Cross-examining Stander, prosecutor Nel asked if he was a good friend of Pistorius and trying to “assist” the defense. Stander said he had known Pistorius since 2009 and often looked after his home and dogs when the athlete was away competing.

“I’m here to give the truth,” Stander replied. “And I think I’ve given the truth. What I saw that morning.”

Nel also pushed Stander on why he said he presumed that Pistorius had made a mistake when Pistorius had not used the word on the phone call. Stander said it was his “understanding” that Pistorius had shot Steenkamp in error.

Stander said he and his daughter found Pistorius carrying Steenkamp down the stairs of his upscale villa when they went in.

“It’s not something I would like to experience again, my lady,” Stander said, addressing the judge who will deliver a verdict in the trial. “Because that young man walking down the stairs with the lady, with a young woman. His face. The expression of pain, the expression of sorrow. And he’s crying.”

Imray reported from Cape Town, South Africa.

Neighbor: Pistorius ‘torn apart’ after shooting

KDWN

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — A neighbor and friend of Oscar Pistorius testified Monday that the double-amputee athlete was “torn apart” and desperately trying to save Reeva Steenkamp minutes after fatally shooting her at his home last year.

Johan Stander and his daughter were at Pistorius’ house soon after the shooting in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013, and Stander testified that he believed that the Olympian had made a mistake when he shot and killed Steenkamp because of the runner’s emotional state when they found him.

“I saw the truth there that morning. I saw it and I felt it,” Stander testified, saying Pistorius was “really crying. He was in pain.”

Stander was the fourth witness called by the defense and took the stand as the globally televised trial resumed after a two-week recess and moved into its seventh week.

Pistorius’ defense was attempting to present a scenario of Pistorius’ desperate panic at shooting his girlfriend in error through a toilet door after thinking she was a dangerous intruder, as he claims. Prosecutors maintain Pistorius is lying and his story is designed to cover up that he shot the model and reality TV star intentionally in the midst of a heated nighttime argument.

The 27-year-old Pistorius, a multiple Paralympic champion and the first amputee to run at the Olympics, faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted on the premeditated murder charge.

He slumped forward at one point Monday with his head in his hands as details of what may have been Steenkamp’s last moments alive were discussed.

Stander’s testimony on the 26th day of the trial followed a shaky start by Pistorius’ defense, where his story of an accidental killing came under scrutiny as he was cross-examined by chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel who tried to expose holes in his account of the events of that night. Two defense experts also had their evidence undermined by Nel.

Stander became emotional at one point as he described what he said was Pistorius’ “committed” attempt to save Steenkamp’s life as she lay on the floor of his Pretoria villa. Stander’s daughter Carice Viljoen, who also testified Monday, cried as she testified that she tried to stop the bleeding from a gunshot wound in Steenkamp’s arm. Steenkamp had been shot in the hip, arm and head by Pistorius through the stall door in his upstairs bathroom minutes earlier.

Stander said Pistorius “was asking God to help him. He was torn apart, broken, desperate, pleading. It’s difficult really to describe.”

Stander lived in the same gated community as Pistorius and was once on the estate’s management committee. He said that he received a telephone call from Pistorius at 3:18 or 3:19 a.m., minutes after the shooting, and the world-famous runner pleaded with him to come to his home and help.

“He (Pistorius) said on the call, `Johan, please, please, please come to my house. Please. I shot Reeva. I thought she was an intruder. Please come quick,'” Stander recounted.

Cross-examining Stander, prosecutor Nel asked if he was a good friend of Pistorius and trying to “assist” the defense. Stander said he had known Pistorius since 2009 and often looked after his home and dogs when the athlete was away competing.

“I’m here to give the truth,” Stander replied. “And I think I’ve given the truth. What I saw that morning.”

Nel also pushed Stander on why he said he presumed that Pistorius had made a mistake when Pistorius had not used the word on the phone call. Stander said it was his “understanding” that Pistorius had shot Steenkamp in error.

Stander said he and his daughter found Pistorius carrying Steenkamp down the stairs of his upscale villa when they went in.

“It’s not something I would like to experience again, my lady,” Stander said, addressing the judge who will deliver a verdict in the trial. “Because that young man walking down the stairs with the lady, with a young woman. His face. The expression of pain, the expression of sorrow. And he’s crying.”

Imray reported from Cape Town, South Africa.