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Pistorius Charged With Murder

Oscar Pistorius and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp pose for a picture in Johannesburg on February 7.
Oscar Pistorius and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp pose for a picture in Johannesburg on February 7.
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By RFE/RL
A South African court has charged the Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius with the murder of his girlfriend. 
 
The double-amputee sprinter known as the "Blade Runner" was in tears as the charge was formally read out by a Pretoria magistrate on February 15.

Prosecutors argued for a case of "premeditated murder." 

An application for bail was postponed until February 19, and the 26-year-old Pistorius will remain in police custody.

A statement issued by his family on February 15 said Pistorius rejects the murder charge "in the strongest terms.
 
His girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a 30-year-old model, was found dead at the athlete's upscale home in Pretoria on February 14.
 
Police said Steenkamp, who had spoken out on Twitter against rape and abuse of women, had been shot four times. 
 
Local media said neighbors had reported yelling and screaming coming from the residence in the early hours of February 14.
 
First reports said the shooting may have been an accident, after Pistorius mistook the woman for a robber. Police have denied that that claim had come from them.
 
Police spokeswoman Denise Beukes said there had been prior "allegations of a domestic nature" at Pistorius's home.

South Africa Shocked
 
The news has stunned South Africa, where Pistorius is considered a national hero. 
 
Johannesburg resident Boniswa Tele expressed disbelief.

"I hope it's really not as bad as I think it is, because Oscar is a nice dude, he has done so much for the country, but really, if you know if it's really something bad, the law has got to deal with it," Tele said.
 
Another Johannesburg resident, Shay Hanjel, was cautious.
 
"There is a lot of speculation out there. We just have to wait for what comes out from the police and the findings, anybody can say he is wrong, he deserved to do it, he didn't deserve. I don't know what the hell is going on there," Hanjel said. 
 
Pistorius runs with the aid of carbon-fiber blades attached below his knees.
 
In 2012, Pistorius made history by becoming the first amputee to compete in athletics at the Olympic Games. He also won gold medals at three Paralympic Games.

With reporting by AP and Reuters

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