Neighbor: Pistorius prayed over girlfriend's body after shooting
PRETORIA, South Africa -- Oscar Pistorius shook slightly, his hands covering his ears as a neighbor described in court Thursday how the famous athlete knelt next to his dead or dying girlfriend, praying as he tried to help Reeva Steenkamp breathe.
The testimony in high court in Pistorius' murder trial was riveting and was the first detailed public description of the immediate aftermath of the shooting of Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, by the double-amputee Paralympic champion in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14 -- Valentine's Day -- last year.
"It was obvious that she was mortally wounded," said Johan Stipp, a radiologist, as he described what he saw at Pistorius' villa. Stipp said he was one of the first there.
"At the bottom of the stairs ... there was a lady lying on her back on the floor," Stipp testified.
Sitting on a courtroom bench on Thursday, Pistorius bent forward and put his hand over his face, then moved them to cover both ears. He stayed that way for a while, even when one of his lawyers reached back to reassure him and touch him on the head.
"I went near her and as I bent down, I also noticed a man on the left kneeling by her side," Stipp said under questioning by prosecutor Gerrie Nel. "He had his left hand on her right groin, and his right hand, the second and third fingers in her mouth. I remember the first thing he said when I got there was 'I shot her. I thought she was a burglar. I shot her."
Stipp, who said he didn't know that man was Pistorius until later, said he tried to help, but that he knew it was probably no good because Steenkamp showed no signs of life. Stipp said he noticed a wound in her right thigh, in her upper arm and in the right side of the head, and there was brain tissue around the skull.
Pistorius is charged with shooting Steenkamp three times out of four shots through a toilet door in his home. Prosecutors said the athlete intentionally killed Steenkamp after an argument but Pistorius says it was a mistake.
"She had no pulse in the neck, she had no peripheral pulse. She had no breathing movements that she made," Stipp said. "Oscar was crying all the time," he said. "He was praying to God, 'Please let her live.'"
Oscar said he would dedicate "his life and her life to God" if she would live and not die that night, according to Stipp.
Pistorius, who ran at the 2012 Olympics on his prosthetic legs and who was known as the Blade Runner, is charged with murder with premeditation.
Pistorius' lead defense lawyer started the fourth day of the trial by cross-examining another neighbor and questioning whether the man heard a woman screaming and then gunshots on the night Steenkamp died.
The neighbor, Charl Johnson, said he also owned a gun, a 9mm pistol, and knew what gunfire sounded like.
"I can confidently say I heard gunshots," Johnson insisted on cross-examination by Barry Roux. Later, Johnson said: "I'm convinced that I heard a lady's voice."
Roux says the banging sounds were actually Pistorius hitting a toilet door with a cricket bat and the screaming was the distressed athlete calling for help -- and there were no sounds from Steenkamp who had been shot in the head.
Johnson said he "disputed" some of what Roux was saying and described in more detail what he heard on the night Pistorius shot his girlfriend to death. Johnson and his wife live around 177 meters from Pistorius' villa.
"The fear ... in the lady person's calls contrasted with a very monotone male voice," Johnson testified. "The man almost sounded embarrassed to be calling for help."
Johnson also said the timing of the bangs didn't match a repeated bat swing. He said it would have taken Pistorius more time to swing the bat repeatedly, and that the bangs he heard were closer together.
Roux did get Johnson to concede that he never heard what he thought was the woman's voice and the man's voice at the same time. Roux wants to show that it was the same person, Pistorius, screaming.
The sequence of events soon after 3 a.m. on the morning of Feb. 14 last year is a critical aspect of the case. Prosecutors say there was a loud argument between Pistorius and Steenkamp before the shooting. Pistorius says there was no argument and that he had thought Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, was in bed when he fired through the locked toilet stall door.
Thu, 06 Mar 2014 14:01:13 +0000
Sheriff seeks to charge Hernandez in jail fight
DARTMOUTH, Mass. (AP) A Massachusetts sheriff is seeking a criminal complaint against former NFL star Aaron Hernandez after a recent jail scuffle with another inmate.
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson told Boston's WHDH-TV Thursday the paperwork has been filed in district court. A clerk magistrate will review it.
Hodgson said last week neither inmate required medical attention after the Feb. 25 fight in the Bristol House of Correction. Hernandez is held there without bail after pleading not guilty to murder in the 2013 death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, a Boston man dating Hernandez's fiancee's sister.
Bristol County district attorney's spokesman Gregg Miliote said his office was aware a complaint was filed against the former New England Patriots tight end by the sheriff's department, but had no further comment.
Hodgson's spokesman and Hernandez's attorney didn't return messages Thursday night.
Fri, 07 Mar 2014 01:09:00 +0000
Red Wings retire Nicklas Lidstrom's No. 5 jersey
DETROIT (AP) Nicklas Lidstrom was the last person to speak at his Detroit Red Wings jersey-retirement ceremony.
He might have spoken the least while perhaps saying the most, fittingly for a player who was subtly spectacular on the ice.
Lidstrom was honored Thursday night before Detroit hosted the Colorado Avalanche. A red banner - with his last name and number in white - was raised to the rafters.
"It's not like winning a trophy for a successful season or playoff; it's not winning an individual trophy," he said on a puck-shaped podium. "This is something different. This is all about being a Detroit Red Wing."
The storied franchise previously retired six jerseys: Gordie Howe's No. 9, Steve Yzerman's No. 19, Ted Lindsay's No. 7, Terry Sawchuk's No. 1, Alex Delvecchio's No. 10 and Sid Abel's No. 12. But Lidstrom is the first defenseman to have his jersey retired by the Red Wings.
Detroit drafted the Swede in the third round and between 1991 and 2012 he played in the most games (1,564) by someone who was on only one NHL team.
"For the first couple of years, he didn't seem that great, but then you began to appreciate him," Delvecchio said.
Lidstrom, with sound positioning and a strong shot, helped the Red Wings win four of their 11 Stanley Cups between 1997 and 2008. He won seven Norris Trophies as the NHL's best defenseman and trailed only Bobby Orr's record total of eight.
"As much as we didn't like him when we were playing against each other, I had tons of respect for him," Colorado coach and former NHL goaltending great Patrick Roy said.
Lidstrom became the first European-born captain to win a Stanley Cup in 2008, six years after being the first from Europe to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the league's postseason MVP. With his signature slap shot, he scored the gold-medal winning goal for Sweden against Finland at the 2006 Olympics.
In a video tribute shown during a first-period timeout, Yzerman said Lidstrom was one of the game's all-time greats.
"You made our jobs so much easier," Yzerman said.
Lidstrom retired after the 2011-12 season - his 20th with the Red Wings. He refused to settle for being merely a good defenseman in the league and turned down a chance to make about $6 million with a third straight one-year contract.
"No regrets, but that doesn't mean I don't miss it," he said. "I miss playing, but I never had any urge to get back to being on the ice and playing in a game."
With his wife and their four hockey-playing boys, he is living back home in Sweden and enjoying a simple life.
"What's been so relaxing about it is that I get weekends off," Lidstrom said. "I never had any weekends off that I can remember since I was a teenager."
When Lidstrom was 21 and going into his first NHL season, he was asked what number he wanted to wear if he made the team.
Not knowing much about the Red Wings other than Yzerman being their captain, Lidstrom asked for No. 9 - a number that had been retired for nearly 20 years to honor Howe.
"Kid, that just ain't going to happen," Lidstrom recalled being told.
Lidstrom was later given a winged-wheel jersey with another single digit.
"No. 5 was handed to me," he said with a grin.
Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylage
Fri, 07 Mar 2014 02:31:00 +0000
A slow start for Woods, and the tournament
DORAL, Fla. (AP) Tiger Woods only made it through 10 holes Thursday - this time because of the weather, not his back.
The debut of the new Blue Monster, and the return of Woods, received an incomplete grade Thursday when the opening round of the Cadillac Championship was halted more than two hours because of menacing thunderstorms.
Harris English was among only six players who finished the round, hitting 5-iron into the par-3 ninth hole and rolling in a 45-foot birdie putt for a 3-under 69.
The golf course and the world's No. 1 player showed enough.
Woods, who walked off after 13 holes Sunday in the Honda Classic because of lower back pain and spasms, said he warmed up well and felt good during the delay. His golf didn't look all that great. He was 2-over par through 10 holes, ending the day with a wedge that came up some 20 yards short of his target, leading to a three-putt for bogey from about 55 feet.
"I'm ready to go back out tomorrow and play well," he said.
Trump National Doral, completely overhauled by Gil Hanse, showed plenty of bite on a windy, cloudy afternoon. Jason Dufner was going along beautifully for 10 holes until he struggled to find fairways in a crosswind. Brett Rumford began his round by hitting four shots before he put one in play. Three went into the water on the par-5 10th, and he started out with an 11.
"Mr. Trump wanted a very tough test on the Blue Monster, and I think that's what he got," English said.
The course average was at 73.8.
Dufner, Hunter Mahan, Francesco Molinari and Patrick Reed also were at 3 under when the round was suspended by darkness. The 62 players who failed to finish will return Friday morning to complete the round.
Russell Henley, coming off a playoff win last week at the Honda Classic, made only one par in six holes on the back nine - two birdies, three bogeys. He was in the group at 2 under that included Masters champion Adam Scott, who is in the Nos. 1-2-3 group with Woods and Henrik Stenson.
Stenson might have hit the most memorable shot of the day - a cold shank from the middle of the second fairway that sailed at a 45-degree angle into bushes.
Scott has a chance to replace Woods at No. 1 in the world if he wins this World Golf Championship and Woods finishes worse that fifth.
Rory McIlroy got off to a blazing start with four birdies in five holes, only to end the back nine with back-to-back bogeys with a long three-putt bogey and a tee shot on the 18th that caught the edge of the water and bounded into the hazard.
That might be the most penal aspect of the new Doral. Anything hit toward some of the edges feeds toward the water, and there's a lot of water in play.
Not even English was immune. His tee shot on the 18th found the water, and he still had 4-iron to get to the green. But he bounced back on the par-5 first hole by smashing a tee shot so far with help from the wind and the firm fairways that he had a 7-iron left from 213 yards. He hit that to 12 feet for a two-putt birdie, and he was bogey-free the rest of the way.
Dufner said he hasn't had to think his way around a golf course this much since he was at Muirfield last year for the British Open, even though the tracks are nothing alike.
"This used to be a golf course where you grab your driver on every hole, swing for the fences and play from there," he said. "You can't get away with that here at Doral anymore."
Dufner didn't feel comfortable with driver on the 14th, so he laid back and had 236 yards left to the par 4. He hit 3-iron and made birdie, anyway. Other times, he failed to dial it back and paid the price.
"You're not going to go through this tournament on this golf course anymore with no bogeys," he said. "Everybody is going to be making some bogeys here and there, so pretty happy with where I'm at."
Jordan Spieth already had three bogeys and a double bogey on the par-5 12th hole. He countered with five birdies and was even par through 15 holes. Only 19 players were under par when the round was stopped.
Woods made two bogeys without a single birdie. He'll have eight holes remaining Friday morning to make up some ground.
"Should be a long day for all of us," Woods said. "Hopefully, tomorrow I can get back out there in the morning, play well and work back to even par by the end of the first round, then shoot a low one in the afternoon."
DIVOTS: Brendon de Jonge said he injured his right ribs in the final round at the Honda Classic. He is on pain medication, which he said makes him feel a bit light-headed. The Zimbabwean opened with a 76. He said he would take next week off and have an MRI. ... Jason Day withdrew before the round began with an injury to his left thumb, which he said was hurting him when he won the Match Play Championship two weeks ago.
Fri, 07 Mar 2014 00:44:00 +0000
Jeter ends 0-for-10 slide as Yanks beat Phils 4-3
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) Derek Jeter had two hits that ended an 0-for-10 slide at the start of spring training and Masahiro Tanaka gave up a home run to Freddy Galvis in the New York Yankees' 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday.
Jeter, limited to 17 games last season after breaking an ankle during the 2012 playoffs, grounded out in the first inning, then singled to left in the third and doubled to center in the fifth.
Tanaka, the Japanese star signed to a $155 million, seven-year contract, made his second spring-training appearance and second against the Phillies. Starting for the first time, he allowed two hits and one run in three innings, giving up Galvis' tying homer in the third.
"I felt that I wasn't at the top of my game going onto the mound today," Tanaka said through a translator. "Including the results and everything, I feel like I did OK."
Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick gave up one run and three hits in three-innings, including a home run by Ramon Flores leading off the third.
Thu, 06 Mar 2014 22:46:00 +0000