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Jane Velez-Mitchell

Jane Velez-Mitchell takes a stand on the biggest topics of the day that people across the country are buzzing about.

On location: Pistorius friend's shocking claim

NEED TO KNOW
  • Double-amputee Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius is on trial for murder in the death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
  • Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder on Valentine's Day 2013
On location: Pistorius friend's shocking claim

JVM: Could pressure influence Pistorius judge?

JVM: Could pressure influence Pistorius judge?

Editor's note: Jen Su is a TV & Radio Presenter for 5 FM, SABC3, and Business Day TV in Johannesburg, South Africa. She will be providing additional coverage and local insight to the Oscar Pistorius murder trial on HLN with Jane Velez-Mitchell weeknights at 7 p.m. ET.

Day three of the Oscar Pistorius trial saw four witnesses take the stand: Charl Johnson, professional boxer Kevin Lerena, Tasha’s restaurant owner Jason Loupis and his wife Maria.

Charl Johnson, the husband of first witness Michelle Burger, will continue his testimony tomorrow after State prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked for Johnson’s notes to compare with Burger’s. He was a bit shaken after receiving death threats last night, after his cellphone number was read out in court.

The afternoon session seemed to go more quickly for a change thanks to Judge Masipa moving things along and defense lawyer Barry Roux keeping his cross-examination short.  Testimony was related to count two of the charges against Pistorius – discharging a firearm in a public place, to which the Paralympian had pleaded “not guilty” on the first day of the trial.

Kevin Lerena recounted an accidental gunshot fired inside popular Johannesburg eatery Tasha’s in Melrose Arch, in January of last year.  He was there having lunch with friends, and testified that Pistorius was handed over the gun by friend Darren Fresco, and the gun went off by accident. He added that Pistorius asked Fresco to “take the blame” to avoid the incident from getting into the media.

When the shot went off, Jason Loupis was told by Darren Fresco that the gun fell out of his tracksuit pants and went off by accident.  The restaurant owner continued to testify that Oscar and all of his friends were extremely apologetic, although he could not remember if Pistorius had offered to pay for the damage to the floor following the gunshot.  

His wife Maria Loupis added that there was a child sitting nearby the table where Pistorius was sitting with his friends, prodded on by State Prosecutor Gerrie Nel to demonstrate that there might have been possible danger to the public. Another friend of Pistorius’, British runner Martyn Rooney, was at the table with the others.

Some days after the gunshot incident, Rooney and Lerena were also at a dinner with Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp, the night after the Tasha’s White Party.  This was the same dinner that I attended -- and as I recounted to Jane Velez-Mitchell on Monday night on HLN, was the last time I saw them together before Reeva died.

Tweet your thoughts on the trial to me on Twitter @jennifer_su  or on my Facebook page – Jen Su

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