Olympic and Paralympic runner Oscar Pistorius canceled his appearance in five upcoming races yesterday in the wake of his being charged with the Valentine’s Day murder of his girlfriend in South Africa.
The bold move is apparently an attempt to help Pistorius focus on the legal proceedings and “help and support all those involved as they try to come to terms with this very difficult and distressing situation,” said a representation of Pistorius’ management company.
The shooting stunned South Africa, where Pistorius is a national hero. Questions largely remain unanswered, as details have been scarce. The timing has also rattled the nation, which is still grappling with the aftermath of a recent murder of a 17-year old girl – a case that put a spotlight on violence against women.
Local media reported that Pistorius may have mistaken his girlfriend for an intruder, but prosecutors are likely upgrading the charge to premeditated murder (which would seem to indicate that they disagree). There was no sign of forced entry in Pistorius’ home, where officers found his girlfriend’s body in a pool of blood just before dawn on Thursday. A 9mm pistol was also found at the scene.
South Africa has a high crime rate and, according to reports, many homeowners keep weapons to ward off intruders. After the killing, however, groups are now calling for stricter gun laws.
The Pretoria court postponed Pistorius’ bail hearing until tomorrow (Tuesday), and he was ordered to remain in custody until then. Authorities indicated that they will be opposing bail, but did not indicate why, other than to reiterate that prosecutors will argue the murder was premeditated.
For more information, see the CNN.com article entitled, “Few details, plenty of questions as Pistorius disputes murder charge.”