Oscar Pistorius to Be Released on Bail Ahead of Girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp Murder Trial

Celebrity News Feb. 22, 2013 AT 10:20AM
Oscar Pistorius appears at the Magistrate Court in Pretoria, South Africa on February 22, 2013. Oscar Pistorius appears at the Magistrate Court in Pretoria, South Africa on February 22, 2013. Credit: Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty

Oscar Pistorius was granted bail before the murder trial of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. In a South African court on Friday, Feb. 22, Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair ruled that the double amputee Olympic track runner was not a "flight risk."

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Pistorius, 26, has been held in jail since being charged with premeditated murder after Steenkamp's body was found by police in his home Feb. 14. ABC News reports that the athlete sobbed in court Friday, which was the fourth and final day of his bail hearing.

"The issue before me is whether this accused, being who is and the assets he has [here], would seek to duck and dive all over the world," Nair said while reading his decision to grant Pistorius bail.

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Pistorius claims he accidentally killed his 30-year-old model girlfriend, who was found with three bullet wounds locked in a bathroom, after mistaking her for an intruder. "I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder as I had no intention to kill my girlfriend," he said in court Feb. 19.

Prosecutors, however, argue that Pistorius' story of events are implausible. "I am not saying the planning of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp happened weeks ahead, days ahead," prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, said. "I am saying the planning to kill Reeva Steenkamp happened that night."

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"What kind of life would he lead, a person who has to use prostheses, if he has to flee?" Nair asked.

Nel replied, "A life not in prison." 

Steenkamp's funeral was held in South Africa on Feb. 18. Pistorius' trial is expected to begin in six to eight months.

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