Oscar Pistorius removed his prosthetics in court today, drawing a gasp from the overflow crowd as he discussed the night he shot his girlfriend to death.
Pistorius is accused of murdering Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013. He claims he mistook her for an intruder.
Pistorius said in court today that he awoke that night afraid someone had broken in.
“The first thing that ran through my mind was that I needed to arm myself, get my gun,” he told the court.
He was not wearing his prosthetics at the time, he said. He said as he entered a passageway near the bathroom, he was “overcome with fear,” shouting for the intruder to leave while screaming at Steenkamp to get on the floor and call police.
“Just before I got to the passage of the bathroom I heard a door slam, which could only be the toilet door,” he said.
Before he could discuss further details from the tragic night, court broke for lunch, suspending the tense, dramatic moment.
Earlier, Pistorius changed into a long-sleeve T-shirt and compression shorts, showing his walking prosthetics in plain view. Pistorius then removed his prostethics and hobbled over to the bathroom door that is displayed in the courtroom.
Pistorius began his testimony today about his relationship with Steenkamp and read messages between the couple aloud to the court. The messages reveal fights between the couple, but also loving moments, of two people learning to trust one another.
The messages also show Steenkamp's struggles in dealing with the attention that came with dating Pistorius, a paralympian known as the Blade Runner.
Pistorius first took the stand Monday, crying repeatedly, his voice wavering as he discussed the night Steenkamp died.
"There hasn’t been a moment since this tragedy happened that I haven’t thought about your family. I wake up every morning and you’re the first people I think of, you’re the first people I pray for. I can’t imagine that the pain and sorrow and the emptiness that I caused you and your family," he said.
"I was simply trying to protect Reeva. I can promise that when she went to bed that night she felt loved. I’ve tried to put my words on paper many times to write to you but no words would ever suffice," Pistorius said.
If convicted of premeditated murder, Pistorius could be sentenced to at least 25 years in prison.