PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - Escorted by police, Oscar Pistorius arrived early at a courthouse in South Africa's capital Tuesday for a bail hearing in the killing of his girlfriend.
Prosecutors say they will press a charge of premeditated murder against the 26-year-old double-amputee Paralympian and Olympic athlete. Pistorius' family says police evidence will show there should be no murder charge.
The shooting death in the early hours of Valentine's Day of Reeva Steenkamp, 29, in Pistorius' home in a gated neighborhood has shocked South Africans and many around the world who idolized Pistorius for overcoming adversity to become a sports champion, competing in the London Olympics last year in track besides being a Paralympian.
Journalists watched Pistorius, head covered with a hoodie, leave the police station and arrive at the back entrance to the courthouse in Pretoria.
Pistorius' brother Carl and longtime track coach Ampie Louw - the man who convinced Pistorius to take up athletics - were also in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court building, pointing out friends of the family that should be allowed in. Queue of dozens of people waited to go in that public entrance.
The family of Oscar Pistorius' slain girlfriend wants answers, her mother told a Johannesburg newspaper, as South Africans braced to hear why prosecutors believe a national hero murdered the model who was reportedly shot four times.
June Steenkamp, Reeva Steenkamp's mother, told The Times in a front page interview published Monday: "Why? Why my little girl? Why did this happen? Why did he do this?" "Just like that she is gone," the newspaper quoted her as saying in what it described as an emotional telephone interview.
"In the blink of an eye and a single breath, the most beautiful person who ever lived is no longer here."
The bail hearing will be the first opportunity for the prosecution to describe evidence police gathered against the runner and the reasons why he was charged with murder.