New Lead Investigator Appointed in Pistorius Case, Because Old Detective Is Facing 7 Counts of Attempted Murder

South African Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius appears at the Magistrate Court in Pretoria on Feb. 21, 2013. Pistorius battled to secure bail as he appeared on charges of murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day. South African prosecutors will argue that Pistorius is guilty of premeditated murder in Steenkamp’s death, a charge which could carry a life sentence. South African police on Thursday dropped the lead detective investigating murder charges against Pistorius, after it emerged that he himself is facing seven attempted murder charges. (Getty Images)

South African police appointed a new lead investigator in the Oscar Pistorius murder case Thursday after an embarrassing series of blunders involving top detective Hilton Botha, including attempted murder charges against him.

Botha faces seven counts of attempted murder in connection with a 2011 shooting incident — a revelation that came after he bungled his testimony on Wednesday, when he acknowledged that nothing in Pistorius’ account of the shooting of his girlfriend contradicted what police had found.

The world-famous Olympic runner, whose lower legs were amputated when he was an infant and earned himself the nickname the “Blade Runner” for his high-tech prosthetics, claims he shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder. Police said Pistorius fired four shots through a locked door in a bathroom in his home, striking Steenkamp three times.

Botha’s removal came after prosecutors urged he be taken off the case. Prosecutors on Wednesday were forced to walk back Botha’s assertion that performance-enhancing testosterone and steroids were found in the 26-year-old Pistorius’ home. A spokesman for South Africa’s National Prosecution Agency said it was too early to identify the substance and that laboratory was still underway.

​The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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