Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius granted bail
Oscar Pistorius has been granted bail and will be freed from custody pending his trial in the Valentine's Day shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Prosecutors argued Pistorius was a flight risk and should be held behind bars.
Pistorius is charged with one count of premediated murder over the Feb. 14 killing. He says the shooting was accidental because he thought she was a dangerous intruder inside his home.
Earlier this week in court, Pistorius wept uncontrollably as his words were read out in court by his attorney during the opening of a two-day bail hearing. It was his first public account of the events surrounding the shooting death of Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and reality TV star who had spoken out against violence against women.
"I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder, let alone premeditated murder, as I had no intention to kill my girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp," Pistorius said in the sworn affidavit. "I deny the aforesaid allegation in the strongest terms."
The killing has shocked South Africans and fans worldwide, who idolized the 26-year-old track star known as the Blade Runner for overcoming his disability to compete in last summer's London Olympics.
Prosecutors argue that Pistorius committed premeditated murder when he rose from his bed after a fight with Steenkamp, pulled on his prosthetic legs and walked about 20 feet from his bedroom to the locked toilet door and pumped it with four bullets, three of which hit the model.
That contradicted the runner's statement, which described how the couple spent a quiet night together in the athlete's upscale home in a gated community in the capital of Pretoria, then went to sleep around 10 p.m.
Sometime before dawn on Feb. 14, Pistorius said he awoke, and walking only on his stumps, pulled a fan in from an open balcony and closed it. That's when he said he heard a noise and became alarmed because the bathroom window, which had no security bars, was open and workers had left ladders nearby.
"It filled me with horror and fear," Pistorius said in the statement.
"I am acutely aware of violent crime being committed by intruders entering homes," he said. "I have received death threats before. I have also been a victim of violence and of burglaries before. For that reason I kept my firearm, a 9 mm Parabellum, underneath my bed when I went to bed at night."
Too frightened to turn on a light, Pistorius said, he pulled out his pistol and headed for the bathroom, believing Steenkamp was still asleep "in the pitch dark" of the bedroom.
"As I did not have my prosthetic legs on and felt extremely vulnerable, I knew I had to protect Reeva and myself," he said, adding that he shouted to Steenkamp to call the police as he fired at the closed toilet door.
It was then, Pistorius said, that he realized Steenkamp was not in bed.
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