Olympian and accused murderer Oscar Pistorius granted bail

By Jon Gambrell

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Feb. 22 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius stands in the dock during his bail hearing at the magistrates court in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, Feb. 22, 2013.

Themba Hadebe, Associated Press

PRETORIA, South Africa — Oscar Pistorius was granted bail Friday, paving the way for him to be freed from custody pending his trial in the Valentine's Day shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair made the ruling Friday after four days of arguments from prosecution and defense in Pistorius' bail hearing, and after spending about one hour and 45 minutes announcing his decision.

Nair said Pistorius' affidavit, in which he gave his version of the events of the shooting on morning of Feb. 14 in a sworn statement, had helped his application for bail in Pretoria Magistrate's Court.

Pistorius' supporters shouted "Yes" when the magistrate made his ruling. Nair then ordered a court break before establishing the terms of the bail.

Pistorius shot and killed Steenkamp in the predawn hours of Feb. 14. The athlete says he shot his girlfriend accidentally believing she was an intruder in his house. Prosecutors say he intended to kill Steenkamp and charged him with premeditated murder, saying the shooting followed a loud argument between the two.

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