Friend: Oscar Pistorius had 'a big love for guns'

2:37 PM, Mar 11, 2014   |    comments
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Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court on March 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Kevin Sutherland/The Times/Gallo Images - Pool/Getty Images)



(USA TODAY) - A friend of Oscar Pistorius said the Olympic runner, who is accused of killing his girlfriend, had a fascination with guns and corroborated testimony Tuesday about two incidents in which the defendant allegedly discharged a weapon in public.

Pistorius, a double-amputee runner, is charged with premeditated murder for the killing of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day, 2013. He has pleaded not guilty, saying he fired four times through the door of a bathroom door in his apartment because he thought he heard an intruder.

On the 7th day of the murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa, Darren Fresco largely corroborated the testimony of another witness, a former Pistorius girlfriend, regarding the firing of a pistol through an open sunroof.

Pistorius also faces three firearms charges, including two involving Fresco as a witness.

In 2012, Fresco told the court, he, Pistorius and a former girlfriend, Samantha Taylor, were pulled over for speeding. He said Pistorius got angry when the officer handled his weapon during the incident, TimesLive reported.

"You can't just touch another man's gun,'" Fresco recalled that Pistorius told the officer.

Under cross examination, however, he said the incident occurred some time after the traffic stop and that Fresco fired the weapon "out of the blue." Taylor had testified that both men were angry after the encounter with police and had fired the shot because "they found it funny to irritate the police," TimesLive reported.

Fresco stuck with his version, telling the female judge, "My testimony is the truth, My Lady, that's what I remember."

He also corroborated earlier testimony involving a Glock 27 .40 caliber pistol that went off after he had passed it to Pistorius under the table at a restaurant in 2013.

At the time, he testified, Pistorius asked him to take the blame for the incident because he was under such constant media scrutiny.

Fresco testified Tuesday that he warned Pistorius that the gun was "one-up," meaning it had a bullet in the chamber, reported.

"I thought he was competent. We had been to the shooting range before and I know he had a big love for guns," Fresco said.

In earlier testimony, the chief lawyer for Pistorius questioned the methods of the pathologist who conducted an autopsy on Steenkamp. Prof. Gert Saayman was testifying for a second day about the gunshot wounds suffered by Reeva Steenkamp during the fatal shooting.

Saayman has asserted that, judging by the food contents in her stomach, Steenkamp probably last ate no more than two hours before her death. Steenkamp was shot after 3 a.m., meaning she must have eaten after 1 a.m. Pistorius has said the couple was in the bedroom by 10 p.m.

Lawyer Barry Roux asked Saayman what medical texts he had consulted in reaching his conclusion about the food, and said he wanted to see them. Saayman said his findings were a "synthesis" of his own professional experiences and observations in addition to consultation of past studies.

Saayman also said the amount of urine in Steenkamp's bladder at the time of her death amounted to the rough equivalent of a teaspoon. The evidence could relate to theories about whether Steenkamp had gotten up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet, as Pistorius contends, or was there following a loud argument with the runner, as the prosecution has suggested.

The pathologist said he had conducted between 10,000 and 15,000 autopsies over 30 years.

Pistorius, known as the "Blade Runner," was born without fibula bones because of a congenital defect and his legs were amputated when he was 11 months old.

He has run on carbon-fiber blades and is a multiple Paralympic medalist. He also competed at the London Olympics but didn't win a medal.

Contributing: Associated Press


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