TODAY   |  March 07, 2014

Pistorius ex gives bombshell testimony at trial

Samantha Taylor, an ex-girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius, took the stand in his murder trial yesterday and talked about his temper, his guns, and his cheating. TODAY’s legal analyst Lisa Bloom weighs in. NBC’s National Investigative Correspondent Jeff Rossen reports.

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>>> the oscar pistorius murder trial where this morning we are hearing what could be the most dramatic and damaging testimony yet. that testimony coming from his ex-girlfriend who broke down in tears at one point on the stand today. today's national investigative correspondent jeff rossen at the courthouse once again for us in petoria.

>> reporter: certainly a bombshell witness. and it's the one everyone was waiting for. samantha taylor , oscar pistorius ' ex-girlfriend. testifying about his temper, guns and cheating. she was so emotional on the stand, they had to stop the trial twice this morning just so she could calm down. oscar pistorius face-to-face with his ex this morning fighting through tears, samantha taylor didn't hold back.

>> did you notice he had a gun during your relationship?

>> yes, my lady. he kept it on him all the time, my lady.

>> she testified she even saw oscar shoot a gun through a car sunroof, angry that police had pulled him over.

>> and he had -- according to him, if he screams and he's really anxious, he sounds like a woman.

>> that is not true. he sounds like a man.

>> --

>> at myself.

>> she dated oscar in 2011 and 2012 . they even appeared together in a south african reality show.

>> she's just really laid back and she understands some of the demands that i have. and it makes my life a lot easier spending time with someone very caring and --

>> but in court today, a much different samantha taylor , revealing what she says is the real oscar .

>> now, this relationship, how does it end now finally?

>> he cheated on me with reeva steenkamp.

>> did you say that when he took reeva steenkamp out for the first time that he was still in a relationship with you?

>> yes, we were.

>> she also testified about oscar 's disability, the night he shot and killed reeva, he says he wasn't wearing his prosthetic legs, there was no time to put them on thinking there was an intruder in the house.

>> but he walked well without the prosthetics on?

>> meaning he was on his stumps, my lady? he could walk on his stumps, but he often balanced against something.

>> for samantha taylor , sitting feet from the man she once loved testifying against him was too much.

>> i'm sorry.

>> just take your time, please. we'll just pause for a moment.

>> just to give you an idea of what it feels like to be inside the courtroom, this is actually where oscar pistorius sits and watches the trial. his defense team right in front of him and his family in this row behind him. reeva steenkamp's family, same row as the pistorius family. right over here.

>> you can see the emotion when they hear, you know, really sort of gruesome detail.

>> so close and so difficult, reeva's mom june hasn't been back to court since day one. her daughter, an accomplished young woman , a model with a law degree who had so much life left to live. but cameras did capture this moment in court. oscar 's sister amy deep in conversation with reeva's cousin. two families torn apart.

>> it's a tragedy for everybody involved. no matter the outcome.

>> it has certainly been a gripping week in this case. prosecutors tell me, these were their best witnesses that we saw this week. next week, all eyes turning to the forensics, including texts and messages encrypted on oscar 's iphone. and police and detectives from south africa all the way to the headquarters to crack his password trying to figure out what his mindset was when he shot her.

>> big day in court. thank you. let's turn to lisa bloom . good morning to you.

>> good morning.

>> this is potentially devastating testimony. i mean, here you have an ex-girlfriend that says oscar pistorius regularly had a gun and known to flash that gun as well as a temper.

>> right. and underreported part of this story, savannah, the two unrelated gun charges where oscar pistorius is accused of being reckless with guns, shooting ate off it off in a crowded restaurant and a car.

>> what about the other side of it? here we have a witness who said she was cheated on by oscar pistorius with none other than reeva steenkamp. can't the defense say you've got a bias, a motive to lie or shave the truth?

>> well, they can argue that, and they've had good cross-examinations of all of the witnesses. you know, i think one of the most important parts of the defense so far has been oscar pistorius after reeva was shot and a doctor, neighbor arrives, crying trying to save her life, begging with god to save her life, promising anything if she will just live. i think that paints as a sympathetic character.

>> not only that, the doctor that testified yesterday also said immediately right in those moments right after death, he said i shot her accidentally, a burglar came in. does that help his case, this is a story he's stuck with from the very beginning?

>> well, that's right. so either the story is true and it was simply a tragic mistake or if it's a lie, it's a lie he came up with immediately in the heat of that horrific moment. because as you say, he told the doctor right then and there.

>> on the other hand, we had several witnesses this week saying they heard screaming, screaming they thought belonged to a woman around the time this all happened, then gun shots. the defense is trying to say, well, how do you know that wasn't a guy screaming? maybe that was oscar pistorius ' high-pitched voice. is that a convincing argument?

>> well, and as we say, you know, we just heard the girlfriend sayin ining he doesn't scream like a woman, he screams like a man. and a very good first week for the prosecution. they said unmistakably, it was a woman screaming not just one, but repeatedly before the bullet shots rang out. that certainly sounds like the fight theory that the prosecution is offering. and also, savannah, keep in mind, that bathroom door was locked. that sounds more like a fight going on than reeva getting up in the night to use the restroom with only her boyfriend there. if that was the case, why did she lock the door?

>> thank you, always good to have you.