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TODAY   |  March 05, 2014

Pistorius trial witness receives threats

A witness at athlete Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial in South Africa has received harassing phone calls, while the judge in the case has been given an increased security detail. NBC’s Jeff Rossen reports.

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>> let us begin with day three of the murder trial of oscar pistorius . jeff rossen is covering that trial. good morning to you.

>> reporter: happening right now, new issues with security here. one of the witnesses says he is actually getting -- threatening, his words threatening phone calls from random numbers angry he's testifying against oscar . one of the voice mails said, and i'm quoting from him, why are you lying? you know oscar didn't kill reeva. also reports out this morning, the judge has an increased security detail herself escorting her to and from court. her office wouldn't confirm from us or deny she's been getting threats. but it does go to show you how much is at stake here as there's more drama on the stand this morning.

>> reporter: for the first time this morning, oscar pistorius walked into court without being mobbed. silent and stoic. very different from tuesday when the courthouse chaos caused him to be late for his own trial.

>> mr. roux, i don't see your client.

>> sometimes he's blocked in by the media.

>> reporter: minutes later, oscar finally arrived. prosecutors are back at it this morning. calling this professional boxer to the stand who was there when oscar accidentally fired a gun inside a restaurant just weeks before reeva's death.

>> -- in the restaurant and then there was just complete silence. once the shot went off, i looked down, i was in shock.

>> reporter: prosecutors also called more of oscar 's neighbors that testified off camera they heard screaming that night. first this woman.

>> it was awful to hear her shouts before the shots.

>> then her husband took the stand.

>> and the fear in her voice escalated. and it was clear this person saw danger. that's when the first shots were fired.

>> prosecutors are trying to prove their theory that oscar and his girlfriend reeva steenkamp weren't having a rom n romantic evening as he claims, but fighting so intensely he went on a violent rampage shooting reeva four times through the bathroom door killing her. his defense fired back saying no neighbor can hear that kind of detail 580 feet away.

>> a man's life at stake.

>> reporter: here the locals can't get enough of this trial. in fact, at this outdoor restaurant, look, they even set up a large flat screen right on the street so people can come here and watch live coverage of the trial on south african television.

>> you can look --

>> reporter: do you think he did it intentionally?

>> yes.

>> scary sometimes living in south africa , sometimes you get scared and i can completely understand he thought possibly there was an intruder.

>> reporter: you think it was an accident?

>> yeah, i do.

>> reporter: we've been talking to a lot of the people here in south africa . and public opinion really seems split about whether oscar knew what he was doing or whether it was an accident split down the middle. a couple of notes from inside the courthouse, guys. oscar pistorius very, very engaged. taking a lot of notes, writing a lot and tapping his lawyers on the shoulder a lot. he's clearly very involved in this.

>> covering this trial for us, jeff, thanks very much.