Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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April 12, 2014

Prosecutor challenges Pistorius' story of killing

(Continued)

Nel argued that the position of items in the bedroom also indicated Pistorius' story was a fabrication. A duvet on the floor in police photos shows the couple were awake and arguing just before the shooting and not in bed as Pistorius has claimed, he said. Pistorius said it was one of many items apparently moved by police after the shooting.

He relentlessly attacked Pistorius' account, asking the runner why he didn't determine where Steenkamp was and make sure she was OK before firing, and why he approached what he thought was a danger zone in the dark if he felt vulnerable on his stumps.

Nel noted that throughout Pistorius' version Steenkamp "never uttered a word."

"It's not probable. It's not possible," the prosecutor said, asking why Steenkamp never responded to Pistorius' panicked shouts of an intruder when she was in the cubicle.

"I agree with Mr. Nel she would have been terrified," Pistorius said, "but I don't think she would have shouted out ... In her mind I must have been retreating toward the bathroom." Nel responded that gave Steenkamp even more reason to talk to Pistorius, who was meters away.

"She was standing behind the toilet door talking to you when you shot her," Nel said at the end of the first week of the athlete's testimony.

"That's not true," replied Pistorius.

The trial in a wood-lined courtroom in the South African city of Pretoria has been closely followed around the world, which once admired Pistorius as a man who persevered despite his disability and reached the pinnacle of his career when he was allowed to run in the London Olympics in 2012.

Now, instead of signing autographs in packed stadiums, the multiple Paralympic champion is a solitary figure in the witness box. He stumbled in some of his testimony Friday, prompting the prosecutor to pounce on what he called inconsistencies.

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