Pistorius Pulled Off Stand After Breaking Down: 'I Needed To Protect Myself... I Needed To Protect Reeva And I'
Understandably, Oscar Pistorius' murder trial has stirred a great deal of emotion from the South African athlete, who has covered his ears and eyes during testimony and even vomited. The former Olympian continued his impassioned testimony Tuesday, breaking down on the witness stand as he recounted the night he fatally shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, describing "the moment that everything changed." Eventually, his lawyer pulled him off the stand, and Pistorius' testimony was adjourned.
While outlining his version of events, Pistorius cried as Steenkamp's mother hung her head while she listened to his account of her daughter's last moments.
The "Blade Runner" has claimed he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder. Pistorius said he woke up after hearing a noise, and thought someone was opening the window, leading him to the bathroom with a pistol in hand. He testified: "The first thing that ran through my mind is that I needed to protect myself... that I needed to protect Reeva and I."
Pistorius told the court he screamed for Steenkamp to call the police, then fired four shots after hearing a noise behind the door. When he couldn't find his girlfriend in the bedroom, he said it crossed his mind it could have been Steenkamp inside the bathroom.
I didn’t want to believe that it could be Reeva inside the toilet. I jumped out and ran my hand along the curtain to see that she was’t hiding behind the curtain...I shouted from the balcony for help, I screamed for somebody to help me. I put my legs on, ran as fast as I could into the bathroom. I was just panicked at this point. I didn’t know what to make or what to do...I was screaming and shouting the whole time. I don’t think I’ve ever screamed like that. I was crying out for the Lord to help me.
As he recalled the moment he found her, he burst into tears. Following his second day of testimony, the athlete's defense lawyer Barry Roux told the judge that Pistorius was too emotional to continue, saying "his shirt is soaking wet."
Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to the 2013 Valentine's Day murder. On Tuesday he told the court that his girlfriend made him dinner hours before the incident and that he had even bought her a designer bracelet as a gift. He described his infatuation with her, testifying, "If anything, I was more into her at times than she was with me ... I was besotted with her." Prosecutors argue he intentionally shot Steenkamp, portraying him as a jealous man with a short temper.