Famous runner Oscar Pistorius rejects murder allegation
Pistorius weeps in court; prosecutors to seek premeditated murder charge
PRETORIA, South Africa (CNN) -- South African sports icon Oscar Pistorius broke into tears Friday when a judge officially charged him with killing his girlfriend on Valentine's Day.
A grim-faced Pistorius, wearing a dark suit, shook uncontrollably with his head buried in his hands during the hearing at a packed courtroom in Pretoria.
Prosecutors say they plan to charge him with premeditated murder.
The athlete rejected the murder allegation "in the strongest terms," his agent, Peet Vanzuyl, told CNN.
His girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, was found in a pool of blood at Pistorius' home Thursday in an upscale neighborhood in the capital.
Neighbors alerted authorities to the early morning shooting, saying they had "heard things earlier," according to police spokeswoman Denise Beukes. She did not clarify what the neighbors heard.
The track star was arrested the same day.
Steenkamp's killing rattled South Africa, not only because the two were famous, but also because the country is grappling with a disturbing problem -- 71% of women report that they've been the victim of sexual abuse. Just in the past few weeks, 17-year-old Anene Booyson died after being gang raped and mutilated in the tiny tourist town of Bredasdorp, two hours southeast of Cape Town.
Her death sparked outrage, inspiring this week's nationwide rape awareness day dubbed Black Friday. The day before she was killed, Steenkamp retweeted a message on Twitter in support of Black Friday.
While police have not discussed a possible motive for the model's killing, local media reported that Pistorius had mistaken his girlfriend for an intruder.
South Africa has a high crime rate, and many homeowners keep weapons to protect themselves from intruders.
But Beukes, the police spokeswoman, stressed that this scenario did not come from authorities.
There was no evidence of forced entry at the home, she said.
Police said there had been previous "allegations of a domestic nature" at his house, but they did not elaborate.
Investigators found a pistol at the scene.