Atlanta 2/23/2013 4:57:13 AM
News / World

Oscar Pistorius Granted Bail, Family Is “Relieved”

Oscar Pistorius was granted bail Friday by Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair despite prosecutors insisting he is a flight risk. Nair said prosecutors failed to prove the Olympian is at risk of fleeing the country to escape premeditated murder charges in the Valentine’s Day shooting death of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp. Bail was set at 1,000,000 South African rand, or $112,800. Pistorius is banned from returning to his Pretoria home where Steenkamp died, and he is required to check in with authorities at a local police station twice a week. The double-amputee runner must also handover his passport and guns to authorities. Pistorius must appear in court next on June 4.  

After bail was granted, Pistorius’ uncle said the family is “relieved” he is leaving jail. "Although we are obviously relieved that Oscar has been granted bail, this is still a very sad time for the family of Reeva and for us. We are grateful that the Magistrate recognized the validity and strength of our application. As the family, we are convinced that Oscar's version of what happened on that terrible night will prove to be true,” Arnold Pistorius said.

While prosecutors accuse Pistorius of purposely shooting Steenkamp through a bathroom door after a heated argument on February 14, the athlete has insisted Steenkamp’s death was an accident. In a written affidavit read at the bail hearings this week, Pistorius said he believed someone had broke into his home. "I believed someone had entered my house. I was too scared to switch a light on. I grabbed my 9mm pistol from underneath my bed,” he explained.

Pistorius said Steenkamp, 29, died in his arms. "I returned to the bathroom and picked Reeva up as I had been told not to wait for the paramedics, but to take her to the hospital. I carried her downstairs in order to take her to the hospital. On my way down ... a doctor who lives in the complex also arrived. Downstairs, I tried to render the assistance to Reeva that I could, but she died in my arms,” he said.

"I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder, let alone premeditated,” Pistorius added. “I had no intention to kill my girlfriend. ... We were deeply in love and I could not be happier. I know she felt the same way.”

Pistorius is nicknamed Blade Runner and “the fastest man on no legs” because he sprints on carbon fiber blades. He was born with fibular hemimelia, or the absence of fibula, in both legs and had them amputated below the knee before his first birthday. He has competed in the Paralympics and became the first double amputee to sprint in the able-bodied Olympics.


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