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TODAY   |  March 25, 2014

Steenkamp’s text: Oscar’s temper ‘scared’ her

Could texts from Reeva Steenkamp to athlete Oscar Pistorius be a game-changer at his murder trial? Just weeks before the shooting, texts show they argued frequently. NBC national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen reports from South Africa.

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>>> let us begin with new drama at the murder trial of oscar pistorius . text messages of the victim reeva steenkamp were revealed in court. jeff rossen is at the courthouse in pretoria, jeff, good morning to you.

>> reporter: hey, matt, you said it. prosecutors are wrapping up their case in dramatic fashion right now. using reeva steenkamp's own words to try to prove premeditated murder . new details about what happened that night. all from personal text messages and phone calls . turns out, reeva and oscar pistorius argued quite a bit. weeks before the shooting, reeva was so fed up, she told him, i'm scared of you sometimes.

>> oscar pistorius just sat there today as his private life was aired in open court . his fights with reeva fueled by jealousy. jealousy that frightened her. january 27th , just weeks before the shooting that would end her life, reeva texted pistorius , i was not flirting with anyone today. i felt sick that you suggested that, and that you made a scene at the table and made us leave early. i'm scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me. i'm sorry if you truly felt i was hitting on my friend sam's husband. and i'm sorry that you think that little of me. pistorius responded, i was upset that you just left me after we got food to go and talk to a guy. and i was watching you touch his arm and ignore me. then on february 8th , now just five days before the shooting, reeva writes, i can't be attacked by outsiders for dating you and be attacked by you, the one person i deserve protection from. some legal experts call the messages a game-changer.

>> if you're pistorius ' defense attorney , how do you fight back from this?

>> well, every single message over the last six months.

>> even the loving ones?

>> they've all been downloaded. and yes, the majority of them are loving messages. and that paints a picture of a loving relationship between the two of them.

>> on cross-examination today, pistorius ' defense team points out most of the messages were loving. like this kissy face photo from reeva. you like it, she asked? i love it, he wrote. he claims he and reeva went to sleep at 10:00 p.m . that night, but records reveal his iphone was on the internet at 1:48 a.m . for five straight minutes. but the pistorius defense team explained that, too, it could have been facebook or instagram open as he sleep.

>> applications not closed, it'll carry on running.

>> that's correct, my lady.

>> pistorius didn't call anyone just before the shooting, neither did reeva. but just after the shooting, he made a flurry of calls. to an ambulance service , security at his complex, his best friend , his brother, his manager, and his own voice mail. pistorius himself could testify as early as this week.

>> he's going to have to convince the court that he felt his life and reeva's life was in danger.

>> even with that door closed.

>> exactly.

>> uphill battle ?

>> a very uphill battle . it is, indeed.

>> reporter: i was watching reeva's mother, june, in court today as they read those text messages . her head, of course, was down a lot of the time. so hard to hear about your daughter's final days. prosecutors say they're going to rest their case this week. that was the latest plan. it could be any time now. then comes the defense. and as we have said before, if the defense is going to call oscar pistorius to the stand, he has to be first. that's why many here believe it could be as early as this week.

>> jeff rossen in pretoria. lisa