PRETORIA, South Africa — Oscar Pistorius broke down in sobs and howls while testifying at his murder trial Tuesday, forcing the court to adjourn as the star athlete was describing the moments he said he first realized he had shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a toilet door in his home.
“I sat over Reeva and I cried,” Pistorius said, telling how he broke open the stall door in his bathroom last year to discover his mortally wounded girlfriend slumped over in the cubicle. “I don’t know how long I was there for.”
Pistorius has said he shot Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder in his bathroom. Tuesday marked the first time he has spoken publicly on the details of the fatal shooting. Prosecutors call Pistorius’ story an intricate lie and maintain he intentionally killed his 29-year-old girlfriend, a model and reality TV show star, after an argument.
The Olympian, 27, is charged with premeditated murder in Steenkamp’s death and faces a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years before parole if convicted on that charge.