Pistorius has pleaded not guilty in the shooting death of his girlfriend, whom he shot to death thinking she was an intruder.
Pretoria, South Africa (CNN) — “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius asked a friend to take the blame when he accidentally discharged a pistol under the table at a Johannesburg restaurant one month before he killed his girlfriend, another athlete testified Wednesday in the runner’s murder trial.
On the third day of the South African Olympic and Paralympic track star’s trial in Pretoria, professional boxer Kevin Lerena described how he, Pistorius and two others were having dinner at Tashas restaurant when the gun went off.
Lerena said one of the group, Darren Fresco, had passed his pistol under the table to Pistorius, telling him, “I’m one up” — an indication that there was a bullet loaded in the chamber.
“A shot went off in the restaurant and then there was just complete silence,” Lerena said.
Pistorius apologized to his friends and checked no one had been hurt, and then turned to Fresco and asked him to take responsibility, Lerena said.
“‘Please take the blame for me — there’s too much media hype around me,'” Lerena quoted Pistorius as saying to Fresco. “When the restaurant owners came up, Darren took the blame.”
Lerena was giving evidence in relation to a lesser charge brought against Pistorius of discharging a weapon in a public place. The main charge he faces is murder in the death of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day 2013.
Pistorius has pleaded not guilty, saying it was a tragic error and he mistook her for an intruder when he shot her through a locked toilet door.
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