Oscar Pistorius (AP/Themba Hadebe)

Oscar Pistorius murder trial begins, neighbor testifies she heard "bloodcurdling screams"

"Something terrible was happening at that house," neighbor Michelle Burger testified on Monday



Katie McDonough
March 3, 2014 7:44PM (UTC)

The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius began Monday in Pretoria, South Africa.

Pistorius, a former Olympian, has been charged with premeditated murder for shooting and killing Reeva Steenkamp, a model and Pistorius' former girlfriend, on Feb. 14, 2013. According to trial testimony, Pistorius shot Steenkamp four times through a closed bathroom door in his home in an upscale gated community in Pretoria; he claims he believed she was an intruder. He has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.

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On Monday in the trial, a neighbor testified that she heard "bloodcurdling screams" coming from Pistorius' home the night Steenkamp was shot and killed.

"Something terrible was happening at that house," Michelle Burger testified. "Just after 3, I woke up from a woman's terrible screams. Then I also heard a man screaming for help. Three times he yelled for help."

“It was very traumatic for me,” she continued. “You could hear that it was bloodcurdling screams. It leaves you cold. You can’t translate it into words, the anxiousness in her voice and fear.”

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Burger also testified, “The fear in that woman’s voice; you only fear like that if your life is threatened.”

If found guilty, Pistorius faces a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison.

For more information, check out Salon's rolling timeline of events related to the case.


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Domestic Violence Murder Oscar Pistorius Reeva Steenkamp South Africa Violence Against Women

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