Witness heard 'non-stop shouting' from Oscar Pistorius' home on night of girlfriend's death



Front pages of South African newspapers featuring Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius' Feb. 19 court appearance are displayed on February 20, 2013 outside the Magistrate Court in Pretoria. Pistorius battled on Feb. 20 to secure bail as he appeared on charges of murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Feb. 14, Valentine's Day. South African prosecutors argue that Pistorius is guilty of premeditated murder in Steenkamp's death, a charge which could carry a life sentence.



Prosecutors called into question a key detective account in Oscar Pistorius' court hearing on Wednesday, with a state prosecutor spokesperson saying it was "not certain" that the substance found at the Paralympic champion's home was testosterone as testified, said the Associated Press, detailing the latest twist in a high-profile murder case gripping South Africa. 

Wednesday's bail hearing for Pistorius, who stands accused of the premeditated murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, comes a day after the Paralympic track star said he shot the model by mistake, thinking she was an intruder. 

South Africa's National Prosecution Agency spokesperson Medupe Simasiku said the substance found is still being tested, reported AP. Detective Warrant Officer Hilton Botha earlier stated that testosterone and needles had been found in the athlete's bedroom. 

Pistorius' defense attorney had responded by saying the substance was a "herbal remedy," not something prohibited for Olympic and Paralympic athletes, while the prosecution shied away from directly accusing Pistorius of abusing it, according to Slate, adding, it's "possible that both sides are technically correct." 

Reports of steroids surfacing in Pistorius' home are incorrect, said Slate, noting that Prosecutor Gerrie Nel corrected Hilton Botha when he first called them that. 

Pistorius reportedly passed two drug tests in 2012, but Slate said the World Anti-Doping Agency bans almost a dozen types of testosterone for athletes. 

Earlier Wednesday, witnesses at the Pretoria trial described hearing "non-stop shouting" shortly before Pistorius' girlfriend Steenkamp was killed, prosecutors told a court.

The New York Times reported that Pistorius, 26, arrived at a courthouse in Pretoria in a police car, his head covered by a blue blanket.

Pistorius claims that upon hearing a strange noise coming from the bathroom in his upscale apartment home in a gated Pretoria community, he grabbed his 9-millimeter pistol, hobbled over and fired.

Prosecutors told the hearing they had a statement from a witness who heard "nonstop talking like fighting" from 2 to 3 a.m. on Valentine's Day morning, when Steenkamp was shot three times.

Reuters cited lead prosecutor Gerrie Nel as telling the court Tuesday that Steenkamp's killing was premeditated, warranting a life sentence in South Africa.

"If I arm myself, walk a distance and murder a person, that is premeditated."

The Times wrote that Pistorius broke down in court as a police investigator described Steenkamp's wounds. 

He is seeking bail, but according to the Press Association his chances of success were reduced when Magistrate Desmond Nair ruled the case a schedule six offense — meaning premeditated murder.

His defense team would now need to prove “exceptional circumstances” to have him bailed until his trial begins. 

Meanwhile, a police investigator has said that Pistorius will face more charges relating to the possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

According to Australia's ABC, investigating officer Hilton Botha said: "We found a box of .38 special caliber rounds." 

He also opposed bail on the grounds that Pistorius represented a flight risk, citing that he had offshore bank accounts and a house in Italy.

The case is taking off on Twitter, but commentators there have been warned to take care -- a legal expert on Wednesday said Twitter comments deemed defamatory of Pistorius may go to court, according to BusinessTech. Doesn't seem like the threat has had the intended chilling effect on social media, though: 

[View the story "Oscar Pistorius trial hot on Twitter" on Storify]