PRETORIA, South Africa — The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius took a turn toward reality TV Friday with the testimony of one of the Paralympic runner's ex-girlfriends.
Courtroom GD was a titter as a young, blonde woman named Samantha Taylor took to the witness stand at Pretoria's High Court to testify about her dating history with 27-year-old Pistorius.
We learned how they met — in 2010, when Taylor was just 16, before starting a relationship via Facebook a year later. And how they broke up in November 2012 — after Pistorius "cheated on me with Reeva Steenkamp," Taylor said, by taking Steenkamp to a sports banquet.
It was a significant change in tone from the testimony of the previous witness, Johan Stipp, a neighbor and medical doctor who provided a clinical, at times gruesome account of the scene at Pistorius' house soon after the shooting.
Like all but two of the witnesses so far, Taylor asked that her image not be broadcast on the live TV feed of the trial. The court was adjourned twice as she broke into tears at mention of her breakup with the sporting star. She was comforted by another young blonde woman, believed to be a sister or a friend.
In her testimony, she recounted Pistorius's fiery temper — he had screamed at Taylor and her friends. The pitch of Oscar Pistorius's screams has become surprisingly relevant in this trial, the defense arguing that screams heard by neighbors the night of Steenkamp's death could have been Pistorius's, rather than his girlfriend's. Taylor specifically responded to suggestions that Pistorius screams like a woman: It is "not true," she said.
Taylor also told of an incident in which Pistorius fired a gun through the sunroof of a moving car.
Taylor said she was in the car with Pistorius and his friend — Darren Fresco, who is also on the official witness list — when they were pulled over by the police for speeding.
Pistorius shot a bullet through the sunroof because he and Fresco "were angry at the police, and they found it very funny to irritate the police," Taylor said. After Pistorius fired the shot, "he laughed about it."
She also spoke of some of the more mundane details of their relationship: which side of the bed they each slept on, where he placed his cellphone overnight, and where he kept his firearm. There was one confused exchange between Taylor and Pistorius's lawyer Barry Roux in which Roux asked if she had "slept with" Pistorius on a particular night.
"From what I remember, yes," she said. Roux responded: "I didn't mean did you physically interact with him."
The trial continues.