Oscar Pistorius' Expert Can't Rule Out Woman's Screams

The athlete was planning a trip before fatal shooting, manager says.

ByABC News
July 1, 2014, 10:02 AM

PRETORIA, South Africa — -- Oscar Pistorius' neighbors could have heard the terrified screams of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp the night she was shot to death, an acoustics expert conceded under cross-examination today.

Ivan Lin had been called by the defense team, part of an effort to suggest neighbors who said they heard the screams of a woman on Valentine’s Day 2013 were wrong and that they actually heard Pistorius screaming after realizing he had shot his lover.

Prosecutors allege that Pistorius, 27 and a champion paralympic sprinter known as the Blade Runner, and Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, were fighting the night of the shooting, with a woman’s screams potentially bolstering that claim. The defense has claimed that the screams came from a grief-stricken Pistorius.

Pistorius admits that he shot Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door in the middle of the night, but insists he believed he was shooting at an intruder.

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Lin has testified that he conducted tests that showed ambient noise and other factors can make it difficult to hear accurately from a distance.

Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel cross-examined Lin, saying the screams of a woman have a “tonal character.” Lin conceded that he could not say whether the neighbors were “correct or incorrect.”

Pistorius’ manager Peet van Zyl also took the stand today, testifying that the athlete – nicknamed “Blade Runner” for his prosthetic legs – planned to take Steenkamp to his athletic events in England and Brazil, the first time Pistorius had made such a request.

He wanted Steenkamp to understand his world, Van Zyl said.

Pistorius also hoped to take Steenkamp to an Andrea Bocelli concert in Tuscany, the manager said.

Van Zyl says he was planning the trip hours before he received a call about the shooting.

Van Zyl recalled two occasions when Pistorius lost his temper – including an interview when Pistorius was accused of cheating for wanting to compete against able-bodied athletes.

Pistorius often drove over the speed limit and carried a gun because “he was fearing for his own safety,” Van Zyl said.

At the time of the shooting, Pistorius was on the brink of raking in five to six times the money than before the London Olympics due to his heightened profile.

"I think people will agree that the London Olympics was about two people, Husain Bolt and Oscar Pistorius," Van Zyl said. Bolt was the top sprinter at the Olympics.

Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if found guilty of premeditated murder.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.