Girlfriend's mom: Why did he do this?
JOHANNESBURG -- The family of Oscar Pistorius' slain girlfriend wants answers, her mother told a Johannesburg newspaper as the country waited to hear for the first time why prosecutors believe the iconic athlete murdered Reeva Steenkamp by shooting her multiple times on Valentine's Day morning.
June Steenkamp, Reeva Steenkamp's mother, told the Times in a front page interview: "Why? Why my little girl? Why did this happen? Why did he do this?"
Just like that she is gone. In the blink of an eye and a single breath, the most beautiful person who ever lived is no longer here.June Steenkamp in an emotional interview to a Johannesburg newspaper
"Just like that she is gone," the paper quoted her as saying in what it described as an emotional telephone interview. "In the blink of an eye and a single breath, the most beautiful person who ever lived is no longer here."
Steenkamp, a blonde model, law graduate and reality TV contestant, died last week of multiple gunshot wounds inside Pistorius' upscale house in a gated community in the eastern suburbs of the capital, Pretoria.
Pistorius, who remains in custody in a red-brick, one-story police station in Pretoria, is set to return to court Tuesday for the start of his bail hearing.
That hearing will be the first opportunity for the prosecution to describe evidence police gathered against the 26-year-old double-amputee runner and the reasons why he was charged with murder.
Ahead of the hearing, multiple media outlets are reporting that Steenkamp was shot through a bathroom door and was alive after being hit four times. CBS News, citing information from police, reported that Steenkamp, clad in a nightgown, was shot once in Pistorius' bedroom and locked herself in the bathroom where she was shot three more times through the door. Pistorius reportedly carried her downstairs and performed CPR, but Steenkamp died shortly thereafter.
According to CBS News, Pistorius' sister Aimee arrived at the home as he brought Steenkamp downstairs, and her brother said that he thought he had shot a burglar. Pistorius' family members also refute that he committed murder, though they have not addressed whether he shot her. When word first emerged about the killing there was speculation in the local media that Steenkamp had been mistaken for an intruder in Pistorius' home.
Police have removed the bathroom door from the home for forensic testing, according to reports.
Detectives are also analyzing whether a blood-stained cricket bat was used in the attack or whether Steenkamp used it in self-defense, reported the City Press newspaper of Johannesburg, citing a source with knowledge of the case.
South African rugby player Francois Hougaard has pulled out of Friday's season opener after newspaper Die Burger said he sent Steenkamp a text message shortly before her death. Reports out of South Africa suggest Pistorius and Steenkamp were fighting over the message. Hougaard was friends with Steenkamp, and the two had exchanged public Twitter messages in the past.
Pistorius' top sponsor, Nike, said in a brief statement to the AP on Monday that it "has no plans for Oscar Pistorius in upcoming campaigns." They declined to give any further information.
Meanwhile, Ampie Louw, Pistorius' longtime coach, has joined his family in denying the track star commited murder.
Louw, in an email to The Associated Press that he's still in shock following the "heart-breaking events," calling Steenkamp's death an accident.
Louw said he spent time with Pistorius and Steenkamp and said she would often accompany them to training."I pray that we can all, in time, come through this challenging situation following the accident and I am looking forward to the day I can get my boy back on the track," Louw, who first convinced Pistorius to take up athletics, said in the emailed statement. "I am still in shock following the heart-breaking events that occurred last week and my thoughts and prayers are with both of the families involved."
Steenkamp's funeral will also be held Tuesday in her hometown of Port Elizabeth on South Africa's southern coast, her family said. It would be a private ceremony at a local crematorium, closed to the public and media.
Police said they arrived in the predawn hours of Thursday to find paramedics trying to revive Steenkamp. Police said she had been shot four times. A 9 mm pistol was recovered from the scene and Pistorius was arrested and charged with murder the same day.
"All we have is this horrendous death to deal with ... to get to grips with. All we want are answers ... answers as to why this had to happen, why our beautiful daughter had to die like this," June Steenkamp said in the Times.
Prosecutors said in Pistorius' first court appearance Friday that they would pursue a more serious pre-mediated murder charge against the Olympian and world's most high-profile disabled athlete.
In a statement initially given only to The Associated Press and two South African reporters over the weekend, Arnold Pistorius, Oscar's uncle, said the prosecution's own case would show there was no murder.
"We have no doubt there is no substance to the allegation," Pistorius' uncle said, "and that the state's own case, including its own forensic evidence, strongly refutes any possibility of a premeditated murder or indeed any murder at all."
The bail hearing, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, will be the first time both the prosecutors and defense will show their hands about the evidence involved in the killing, said Stephen Tuson, an adjunct law professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
"There will kind of be a little trial within a trial," Tuson said.
Due to the gravity of the charges, Pistorius' defense lawyers will present their case first, trying to argue that their client is not a danger to the public and won't try to flee to avoid trial, Tuson said. They'll also have to show that he won't try to intimidate witnesses, nor pose a risk of sparking public unrest, the professor said.
The defense does have the opportunity to put Pistorius -- who broke down and wept in his first appearance in court -- on the stand to offer testimony on his own behalf. That likely won't happen, as prosecutors would then be allowed to ask him potentially incriminating questions, Tuson said.
Typically, defense lawyers read a prepared statement in court instead.
From there, prosecutors will offer their own version of events, likely bolstered by testimony from the lead investigator in the killing, Tuson said.
Pistorius' agent told the AP that there is no way to predict if he will ever run track again.
"For me it's too early to comment," Peet Van Zyl said. "I think it's still a huge shock and tragedy that took the world by surprise so I can't comment on that one (Pistorius' future career) or give any timeline to that at this point in time."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.