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Pistorius prosecutors pursue premeditated-murder charge

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 15, 2013 at 7:42 a.m.

— Oscar Pistorius held his head in his hands and wept openly in court Friday as prosecutors said they would pursue a charge of premeditated murder against the Paralympic superstar.

Pistorius was formally charged at Pretoria Magistrate’s Court with one count of murder after his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a model and budding reality TV show contestant. The 30-year-old was shot multiple times and died at Pistorius’ upmarket home early Thursday morning.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said Friday in court that it was premeditated murder, indicating the prosecution would file that more serious charge, upgraded from murder.

The double-amputee athlete’s arrest and murder charge had already left South Africa stunned after Steenkamp’s death on Valentine’s Day at Pistorius’ house in a gated community in an eastern suburb of South Africa’s capital, Pretoria.

After the hearing, Pistorius’ family and his London management company issued a statement calling into question the criminal charge the 26-year-old athlete faces.

“The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms,” the statement read. The statement did not elaborate.

The statement also said Pistorius wanted to “send his deepest sympathies to the family of Reeva.”

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