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Feb. 19, 2013 at 5:15 PM   |   Comments

Pistorius says he thought he shot intruder

PRETORIA, South Africa, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Paralympic runner Oscar Pistorius, accused of murder in South Africa, thought he was shooting at an intruder when he killed his girlfriend, his lawyer said.

In a statement read during a bail hearing Tuesday by his lawyer, Barry Roux, Pistorius, a paraplegic runner, gave his account of events Feb. 14, when his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp died in his house in a gated community in Pretoria, The Guardian reported.

The hearing was adjourned until Wednesday after the defense team said it wanted the option of presenting more evidence once it gets information requested from the prosecution.

Pistorius, a double-amputee who races on carbon-fiber blades, said the two were asleep when he heard a noise as he was closing a sliding door on his balcony. He said he felt vulnerable, grabbed a gun and shot through the door. When he saw Steenkamp wasn't in bed, he used a cricket bat to open the door.

Steenkamp was alive, but died in his arms, Pistorius said in his statement.

"I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder, let alone premeditated murder, as I did not intend to kill my girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp," he said in the statement.

In presenting the prosecution's version of events, Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said there was an argument before the shooting. Later Pistorius got up from bed, attached his prosthetic legs, got a gun, walked about 20 feet to the bathroom and shot Steenkamp four times, hitting her three times.

"She could not go anywhere," Nel said. "It must have been horrific."

Pistorius, 26, sobbed as prosecutors offered their version of how Steenkamp died.

Magistrate Desmond Nair ruled that Pistorius should be charged with premeditated murder, an offense that makes it more difficult for a defendant to get bail.

Nair said during the hearing he could reduce the charge once he had heard all the evidence.

Friends and family mourned Steenkamp, 29, at a funeral service in her hometown of Port Elizabeth.

"There's a space missing inside all the people she knew that can't be filled again," her brother, Adam Steenkamp, told reporters.


Shalala urges NCAA to end UM investigation

MIAMI, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- University of Miami President Donna Shalala says an NCAA investigation has "wronged" the school and is calling for a quick resolution with no further penalties.

The NCAA has admitted its own "improper conduct" has tainted about 20 percent of the evidence gathered in the case against UM, The Miami Herald reported Tuesday.

In a statement Monday night, Shalala said, "we have been wronged in this investigation, and we believe that this process must come to a swift resolution, which includes no additional punitive measures beyond those already self-imposed."

A 52-page report on an investigation by an outside firm found, among other things, the NCAAA paid $18,000 to the lawyer of now-imprisoned former UM booster Nevin Shapiro, and paid another $8,200 for communications with Shapiro from jail and transferred $4,500 to his prison commissary account.

Shapiro is serving a 20-year sentence for a $930 million Ponzi scheme. He has told NCAA investigators he provided more than 100 mostly former UM athletes with improper benefits between 2002 and 2010.

Despite the admitted wrongdoing by the NCAA, the organization's president, Mark Emmert, said Monday UM would soon received a formal Notice of Allegations so the case can move forward.

He said any earlier allegations based on the tainted evidence would be removed from the complaint.


Mayweather sets WBC title bout on Showtime

LAS VEGAS, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced Tuesday he will defend his WBC welterweight title against Robert Guerrero in Las Vegas in May.

Mayweather, 43-0 with 26 knockouts, will be fighting for the first time since he won a unanimous decision in 12 rounds over Miguel Cotto in May 2012.

Guerrero, 31-1-1 with 18 knockouts, has won 15 straight fights since his most recent loss, a 2005 split-decision against Gamaliel Diaz.

The May 4 fight at the MGM Grand will be televised on Showtime Pay Per View -- part of an overall package that calls for Showtime and its parent company, CBS Corp., to promote as many as six Mayweather fights.

HBO, which has televised 23 Mayweather bouts, issued a statement Tuesday to BoxingScene.com saying it had made "an aggressive and responsible pay-per-view offer."

"Now we move on," HBO said. "We are focused on the best boxing franchise in the television business. We are proud of the roster of superstar fighters and emerging stars who are scheduled to appear on the multiple HBO television platforms this year."

Mayweather, 35, served two months in jail in Clark County, Las Vegas, last year for domestic abuse.


Azarenka withdraws from Dubai championship

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- World No. 2-ranked Victoria Azarenka on Tuesday withdrew from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships due to injury.

Azarenka was seeded first in the tournament before the rankings were updated Monday and Serena Williams supplanted Azarenka as the world No. 1. Azarenka lost the top ranking even though she beat Williams in Sunday's final of the Qatar Open.

Azarenka had a first-round bye in Dubai but pulled out of the tournament because of a right foot injury.

Carla Suarez Navarro will take Azarenka's spot in the draw.

On the court Tuesday, fifth-seeded Sara Errani needed three sets to get by Julia Goerges 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 and advance to the second round. Errani had five breaks on the day, including the sole break of the third set.

The other seeded players won in straight sets with No. 6 Petra Kvitova stopping Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-1; seventh-seeded Samantha Stosur beating Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-1; and No. 8 Caroline Wozniacki defeated Lucie Safarova 6-2, 6-2.

Also Tuesday, as the first round was completed, Nadia Petrova got by Dominika Cibulkova 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 and Zheng Jie edged Urszula Radwanska 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.

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