Oscar Pistorius Breaks Down on the Stand

ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams explains how the emotional testimony could impact the trial.
3:00 | 04/07/14

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Transcript for Oscar Pistorius Breaks Down on the Stand
This is a special room. And students speak. Boom -- for severe reasons -- I hope that I have to -- his votes. The -- things that in the months we'll wake up -- -- -- this -- -- -- We've actually got to do to fund which. -- you know who is on wake up. To salute -- competes -- of terra. -- cover stories on the stand in South Africa breaking his fifteen month silence -- the shooting. And killing his girlfriend resisting -- However when -- Dan Clifford New York the blade runner admitting that he is taking antidepressants and sleeping pills. Because of insomnia is testimony and the apology to the -- -- family so emotional that people watch in the gallery. Started tearing up as well he's not -- it was in the courtroom during the testimony today has this update from South Africa. What an emotionally packed day in court today now we thought -- unscripted stories might take the stand before him there was a pathologist in. Because there was a surprise to many people that he actually took the stand when he did we've been waiting for this for him to break his silence for fifteen months. Speaking publicly for the first time. And it was riveting in court we watch that is. Bottom lip began to quiver he tried to apologize to -- this team -- mother and her family barely eking out that apology acknowledging. How much pain he's caused that family saying that he's remorseful. Also telling them that read the felt loved the night before she died that we saw some of his emotionally fragile state earlier. He was in the victories it's every day hunched over almost in the fetal position. From where I was sitting -- -- shoulders -- he was crying and his sister Amy was there to console and as was his brother Carl. -- sat there hugging all three of them for a very mostly packed moment. No less emotionally back then when he began that apology and then the beginning of this testimony there were people. Weeping in the gallery as they watch now. Critical to his defense will be he's saying that. He felt vulnerable that night now this testimony we're told could last for a number of days. The lead prosecutor -- -- is known as a ferocious. Cross examiner and we saw some of that today he actually -- It's the defense is pathologist on the stand and he's going to be just is rough with Oscar these stories. Probably going to try to break him down now the big question is -- unscripted stories his story and his nerves hold up. Back to New York. -- -- -- -- In South Africa for that so for more on the story -- trial wanna bring an ABC news chief legal affairs anchor Dan Abrams -- -- -- -- -- appreciated -- -- -- The stories took the stand today in his own defense. Just from the outside is that a wise move. Look I think in this kind of case. He sort of had to. I don't think he had a lot of options here. It -- he could have not testified. On the but I think that in the context of this case where what was going on in his mind is the issue right -- the question here isn't. What mediate it's why he did it. And I think of that without his testimony. He would be in a tough spot here and other questions is gonna be had as the how does he stand up against the cross examination so go through the testimony that at the events of today he started off apologizing to the family every pristine capitalists in the summit. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- First movie Mississippi said incidents this. And electing its -- like I can hardly hear them we give them a video speak up. On luck to put vigilance and says it is not a moment an innocent -- moments. Seems. Since tragedy have been that I have been -- about. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- There's people look for a -- It's -- dead of course who are gonna look at just how genuine they feel as if that apology actually was ballot to the failure puts the entire court there. But the judge even seeming somewhat sympathetic asking. Two for him to speak up a little bit how does that -- affect the overall case. But I don't know how much it's gonna affect the case that the judge is gonna let him do it he might as well do it look I think you could make an argument. There whether he committed murder or whether this was an accident. He's sorry now. About what happened. So you know I don't think this is going to be be the make or break issue a lot of people watching the case. Did feel sympathy. For him if this were the jury trial I think it would BS somewhat it's different kind of issue. Sort of every bit of his emotion and when he was his voice was breaking in all of that would would would come into play at it when you're talking about -- judge. Nam I think it's very different and as a result I don't think it's going to be the make or break issue so will most of the day was spent on his childhood on his career. There were few pieces of evidence of their testimony -- that that might be brought up again the first is -- his testimony about him standing. Without his prosthetic legs -- a play that. If you and you Stubbs. What -- offensive. -- -- offended some of stumps. I couldn't stand the -- ups. Constance still -- stumps. If not for city digs next month -- you know wake up in the morning -- put them on. In America its bid if not to take -- wolf so but seldom done -- of them have. Tom Lyn. No louima Pacific league's. So essentially that he's -- he doesn't have good balance. With he doesn't have -- his prosthetics on how is that gonna play out that shifted to his claims that this shooting how it happens what. One of the questions is what -- reasonable person have done in his situation right he's saying that he was afraid. That he feared for his life. On that yet he all of the factors together he say led to what was in effect an accident. What the stories this team is arguing is because. He did not have on an awful -- because he had to use prosthetics. That that would make a reasonable person in he's. Position in his situation generally even more fearful. And there was other testimony presented about how he'd been the victim of crimes and how. He had often been fearful. That he was going to be attacked in -- he'd -- in both the victim and witnessed crimes sort of talking about his history. With criminal being the victim or witnessed -- crime because. His position is a reasonable person. Who had my disability. Who had seen what I saw in the past who'd been a witness to what I had witnessed. Would have felt the way idea that's effectively what the defense's argument is here will go to the point that you brought up up at him claiming him he was the victim -- other crimes. The crimes other having guns for your protection not strange in South Africa in -- by the -- multiple guns. How much that is that gonna help the defense or hurt the defense will look. There -- separate crimes here with regard to use of a firearm there was illegal ammunition found -- his home those are -- -- be separate charges here. The most important one though. He's the he's the issue of murder. Right so the fact that he had a gun under his bed -- -- in and of itself going to mean he's in trouble with regard to the murder charge and actually the weapon that he had there. He did have legally -- so the questions going to be. Where was that -- How did he get it and how could he had not seen revote in bed at the time. It's going to be less about the legality of the gun. And more about its location. And how that either fits or doesn't fit -- his account of what happened that night. Another issue that's been brought up that is whether -- -- camp could have screamed. During the night of the shooting and this is the pathologists. And why he doesn't think everybody in -- could've had the ability to screen. I've -- that. Campus and in this position news behind law school and some -- Would he -- detective back to us it would be panic stricken. And think kids who may be -- let us he's likely to be a yes but optimistic hopeful that this spectrum -- -- active. And if the shots were filing that its stations. Point two plot sickens. I think. Deceased -- struck by the succeeding weeks before having the opportunity. To see you take with the pathologist says but -- you put it against what some of the neighbor testimony has -- in fact -- saying that they actually heard screams coming. Right but heard screen sometimes before the shots were fired. So that's kind of irrelevant if -- -- saying. I herds I heard them arguing read heard a man's voice or a woman's voice and then I heard shots what the pathologist -- does not. So let me -- isn't going forward what to expect from the cross examination. Well it's gonna focus on inconsistencies. In the why it was there evidence that he was using his iPad and phone. In the middle the night when he claimed that they were sleeping. I think he's gonna have to explain again that issue of where the gun was and how he could have gotten that gun without knowing that Reba wasn't in the bed. And then there is the issue of the screen Sammy he's gonna claim I guess that it was -- -- that could be heard. But that means you have to not believe the -- witnesses who were very clear in saying that they heard a woman and -- man. His voice to different voices. So look that that's the kind of stuff he's really gonna have to focus on but also expect the cross examination to focus on small details like on those firearms charges remember. You know while those aren't that the most serious charges he's facing he could still the imprisoned for real time. If convicted on the illegal ammunition and firearms charges so he's gonna have to defend those as well so the last -- them differ -- you -- the fact that South Africa courts don't have a jury system. Does it have favorability on one side over the other. It's tough to know which -- cut I think that it -- certain -- -- takes out some of the emotion. Out of the case meaning. -- the jury you're always looking at the emotional side of this how will they react how they feel. With the judge you really look at it more from a legal perspective you look -- the evidence. And the facts so I don't know which way it's it's gonna cut in this case I think that it means. Who the judges becomes that much more important. Because in essence. The the decision making is all focused. On one person in addition to those two ancestors -- the judges working. And a -- continues ABC news chief legal affairs anchor Dan Abrams in New York Dan thanks for your time here it's appreciated. And of course you can keep up with the story in real time by downloading ABC news -- and -- in the store for exclusive updates on the go. For now though I'm Dan -- -- New York with this ABC news -- special reports.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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