A major South African newspaper is reporting that a bloodied cricket bat found at Oscar Pistorius' home supports the charge he killed his girlfriend of four months.
The City Press cites sources close to the investigation who said the skull of 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp was "crushed" when police arrived at the scene of the Valentine's Day murder.
The track star's arrest in the killing of Steenkamp shocked South Africa, where Pistorius was a national hero and icon dubbed the Blade Runner for his high-tech carbon fiber running blades and revered for overcoming his disability to compete at the London Olympics.
Steenkamp 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 also was recovered at the home.
Pistorius remains held at a police station pending a bail hearing Tuesday. Police already have 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. In South Africa, there are no juries, so a judge ultimately would decide Pistorius' guilt or innocence, sometimes with the help of two advisers. At an initial hearing Friday, Pistorius sobbed and held his head in his hands at times. He has yet to enter a plea in the case.
Since news of the killing, shock waves have rippled across South Africa, a nation of 50 million where nearly 50 people are killed each day, one of the world's highest murder rates. U.N. statistics say the nation has the second highest rate of shooting deaths in the world, behind only Colombia.
The South African Broadcasting Corp. aired the "Tropika Island of Treasure" program, showing Steenkamp in a final role. She was seen laughing, smiling and blowing a kiss toward the camera in Jamaica when it was filmed last year. SABC said the show was dedicated to Steenkamp and displayed the words "Reeva Steenkamp 19 August 1983 - 14 February 2013" between images of a rose and a candle in a short tribute before the show aired.
What happened in the early hours of Valentines’ Day when Oscar Pistorius’ girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was gunned down? City Press reveals the shocking details.
» A bloodied cricket bat is the central piece of evidence in the unfolding murder investigation against Pistorius.
» Pistorius allegedly told his sister, Aimee, that something terrible had happened and that he had mistaken Steenkamp for a burglar.
» But three sources close to the investigation ruled out the possibility that Pistorius could have mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder. There was no sign of forced entry.
» It is alleged that the first shot was fired in the bedroom after which Steenkamp locked herself in the bathroom.
» Pistorius’ father received a call from his son just after 3:20am on Thursday, asking him to come to his house.
Local reports stated police believe he may have used the bat to attack girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp before shooting her dead on St Valentine's Day morning.
Detectives are working on two other theories concerning the bat: that it was either used to break down the door of the bathroom where she hid, or that she used it to defend herself against Mr Pistorius, South Africa's City Press reported.
One bullet cartridge was found in the champion sprinter's bedroom and police are looking at whether he "chased" his girlfriend and fired the first shot before she locked herself in the bathroom and he fired three more through the door, the paper said.
A post-mortem examination on the body of the 29-year-old model revealed that as well as bullet wounds to the head, arm, hand and hip, she suffered a fractured skull, it reported.
"There was lots of blood on the bat. Forensic tests will show whose blood it was," one source was quoted as saying.
Miss Steenkamp was said to be still breathing as security guards, neighbours and Mr Pistorius' family gathered, and he tried to give her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
"The suspicion is that the first shot, in the bedroom, hit her in the hip," one source was quoted as saying. "She then ran and locked herself in the toilet. She was doubled over because of the pain. He fired three more shots. She probably covered her head which is why the bullet also went through her hand."
Police asked for blood taken from Mr Pistorius to be tested for steroids, City Press claimed, in anticipation that his defence team might claim he acted in "roid rage" – an aggressive condition associated with taking large doses of performance-enhancing drugs.
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