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Murder case against Olympian Oscar Pistorius begins to unravel

  • Athlete Oscar Pistorius weeps in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, Feb 15, 2013, at his bail hearing in the murder case of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Oscar Pistorius arrived at a courthouse Friday, for his bail hearing in the murder case of his girlfriend as South Africans braced themselves for the latest development in a story that has stunned the country. The Paralympic superstar was earlier seen leaving a police station in a dark suit with a charcoal gray jacket covering his head as he got into a police vehicle. Model Reeva Steenkamp was shot and killed at Pistorius' upmarket home in an eastern suburb of the South African capital in the predawn hours of Thursday. (AP Photo/Antione de Ras - Independent Newspapers Ltd South Africa) SOUTH AFRICA OUT

PRETORIA, South Africa — The prosecution case against Oscar Pistorius began to unravel Wednesday with revelations of a series of police blunders and the lead investigator's admission that authorities have no evidence challenging the double-amputee Olympian's claim he killed his girlfriend accidentally.

Detective Hilton Botha's often confused testimony left prosecutors rubbing their heads in frustration as he misjudged distances and said testosterone — banned for professional athletes in some cases — was found at the scene, only to be later contradicted by the prosecutor's office.

The second day of what was supposed to be a mere bail hearing almost resembled a full-blown trial for the 26-year-old runner, with his lawyer, Barry Roux, tearing into Botha's testimony step by step during cross examination.

Police, Botha acknowledged, left a 9 mm slug from the barrage that killed Reeva Steenkamp inside a toilet and lost track of illegal ammunition found inside the house. And the detective himself walked through the crime scene without wearing protective shoe covers, potentially contaminating the area.

Authorities, Roux asserted, were selectively taking "every piece of evidence to try to extract the most possibly negative connotation and present it to the court."


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