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Pistorius refuses to listen to gruesome testimony

| Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 6:27 p.m.
AFP/Getty Images
South African paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius is comforted by his sister Aimee on the 13th day of his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday, March 19, 2014.

PRETORIA, South Africa — Oscar Pistorius put his fingers in his ears during his murder trial on Wednesday as forensic experts described the gruesome impact of the four bullets that killed the Olympic sprinter's girlfriend when he fired through a bathroom door.

Pistorius, 27, is charged with premeditated murder in the shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year. The double-amputee runner, nicknamed “Blade Runner,” insists that he opened fire because he thought there was an intruder in the bathroom. Prosecutors charge that he killed her after a loud argument that caused her to run into the bathroom to hide.

The paralympic athlete could be given 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

The testimony on the 13th day of the sensational trial in Pretoria, South Africa, was particularly grim, as a police ballistics expert and a specialist in blood-spattering described Steenkamp's last moments alive.

Capt. Christian Mangena testified that Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, was standing facing the closed door of the bathroom cubicle when Pistorius fired the first shot, hitting her in her right hip. That, said Mangena, caused her to fall back onto a magazine holder in the cubicle, TimesLive reports.

She then crossed her arms over her head, in an attempt to protect herself. He said the second bullet ricocheted off the wall, broke up and bruised her back.

Pistorius fired from a distance of at least 24 inches and no further than a wall behind him, about 10 feet away, Mangena said, noting the devastating impact of hollow-point 9 mm bullets.

“It hits the target, it opens up, it creates six talons, and these talons are sharp,” Mangena said. “It cuts through the organs of a human being.”

The third and fourth shots hit Steenkamp in the right arm and in the head. She then collapsed, with her head on the toilet seat, Mangena said.

As Mangena showed the court how Steenkamp cowered during the shootings, and described details of the head wound, Pistorius put his fingers in his ears.

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