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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