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Tearful 'Blade Runner' faces murder charge

By Jon Gambrell and Gerald Imray

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Feb. 15 2013 9:53 p.m. MST

Oscar Pistorius, centre, is led from the Boschkop police station east of Pretoria, en route to court, Friday Feb. 15, 2012. 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)

Antoine de Ras, Associated Press

PRETORIA, South Africa — In a courtroom, not an Olympic stadium, there was no click-click-click of Oscar Pistorius' prosthetic limbs. His only sound Friday was loud, uncontrollable sobs as prosecutors charged him with premeditated murder in the shooting death of his model girlfriend.

"Take it easy," Chief Magistrate Desmond Nasir told the Olympic star-turned-murder-defendant as his father, Henke, and his brother, Carl, reached out to touch his shoulder to comfort him.

The 26-year-old Pistorius, the double-amputee sprinter who won world acclaim by competing in last summer's London Olympics, did not speak or enter a plea. He held his head and wept as he heard the charge, which carries a life sentence.

A statement released later by his family and agent said Pistorius disputed the murder charge "in the strongest terms."

The track star's arrest in the Valentine's Day killing of 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp shocked South Africa, where Pistorius was a national hero dubbed the Blade Runner for his high-tech prosthetics and revered for overcoming his disability to compete in the London Games.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said he would pursue a charge of premeditated murder against Pistorius in the slaying of Steenkamp, a leggy blonde model with a law degree who had spoken out on Twitter against rape and abuse of women.

— Associated Press

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