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Pistorius becomes ill during graphic testimony

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 10, 2014 at 8:48 a.m.

PRETORIA, South Africa — Oscar Pistorius threw up in the dock at his murder trial Monday as he heard graphic details of the injuries suffered by the girlfriend he fatally shot.

The testimony of Prof. Gert Saayman, the pathologist who performed the autopsy on Reeva Steenkamp's body, was not broadcast or reported live on Twitter by journalists because of its explicit content under an order from Judge Thokozile Masipa. However, journalists were allowed to report the testimony without directly quoting the witness.

The double-amputee runner, hunched over on a bench, reacted to the description of Steenkamp's wounds by throwing up and retching repeatedly, prompting Masipa to briefly halt the testimony to ask chief defense lawyer Barry Roux to attend to his client. The judge also asked whether Pistorius was able to understand the proceedings. Roux said Pistorius' reaction was not going to change. A bucket was placed at his feet.

Saayman stood for much of his time on the stand, referring to photographs that were not shown to the gallery as he described bullet wounds on Steenkamp's body, one to the right side of the head, one to the right arm and one to the right hip area. He also described exit wounds caused by the bullets and other abrasions and discoloration of the skin, consistent with the impact of a bullet fired through a wooden object such as a door.

There was another wound on one of Steenkamp's hands, Saayman said. Steenkamp, a model and personality on a television reality show, was wearing a pair of sports shorts with a Nike logo and a black vest when she was shot, he said.

Pistorius, the first amputee to run in the Olympics, is charged with premeditated murder for 29-year-old Steenkamp's shooting death before dawn on Feb. 14, 2013. Pistorius, 27, says the killing was accidental because he thought his girlfriend was a dangerous intruder when he shot her through the door of a toilet cubicle in his home.

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