South African paralympic runner Oscar Pistorius broke his lengthy silence Friday by posting a message of remembrance on his website one year to the day after he shot dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius has been charged with Steenkamp's murder, but maintains that her death was a "devastating accident." He says he thought she was an intruder in his gated Pretoria home when he shot her from behind a locked door on Valentine's Day 2013.
Pistorius, a double amputee known as "Blade Runner" for the fiberglass blades he sprints on, was considered a South African hero for overcoming his physical odds to become a worldwide running star. He competed in the 2012 London Olympics, becoming to first Paralympian to do so, and took home three medals, two of them gold. He also had lucrative endorsement deals with Nike and cosmetics firm Clarins, which promptly disintegrated following the shooting.
The runner's trial for premeditated murder, which carries a minimum 25-year sentence before parole, and possession of 38 unlicensed bullets that were found when police searched his home, begins on March 3. The trial will receive 24-hour coverage by a South African news channel, with one journalism professor calling it the country's "O.J. Simpson moment."
Pistorius announced the statement on Twitter, which he has not updated since Feb. 13, 2013, the day before the shooting.
A few words from my heart on http://t.co/WNF7RXMNLP— Oscar Pistorius (@OscarPistorius) February 13, 2014
“No words can adequately capture my feelings about the devastating accident that has caused such heartache for everyone who truly loved — and continues to love Reeva,” Pistorius wrote on his personal website .
“The pain and sadness – especially for Reeva’s parents, family and friends consumes me with sorrow. “The loss of Reeva and the complete trauma of that day, I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”
A private family gathering is planned to mark the anniversary of Reeva Steenkamp's death, according to her uncle, Michael Steenkamp. A law graduate and model, Steenkamp supported the "Black Friday" campaign in South Africa that honored victims of domestic violence.