Oscar Pistorius trial adjourned, verdict set for Sept. 11
The judge in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial adjourned the case on Friday after hearing closing arguments, and a verdict will come Sept. 11, according to the BBC.
Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in February 2013. He has also pleaded not guilty to three other firearms charges, though his lawyer said in his closing arguments Friday that Pistorius is guilty of one of those charges, negligently firing a gun in a public place.
If convicted of the charge of premeditated murder, Pistorius could face 25 years to life in prison, a sentence that will be decided by Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa and her two legal assessors. There is no trial by jury or death penalty in South Africa.
In his closing arguments, Barry Loux, Pistorius's chief defense lawyer, said Pistorius's shooting of Steenkamp was an accident resulting from years of feeling vulnerable and anxious due to the double-amputee's disability. That gave him a penchant for quickly moving to shoot what Pistorius thought was an intruder, Loux said.
In its closing arguments Thursday, the prosecution continued to paint Pistorius as a hothead who has a pattern of acting out angrily. Prosecutors attempted to discredit Pistorius's claims that he acted out of fear, saying the sprinter would lie at any chance to cover up the alleged murder.
Masipa and her legal assessors will spend the next month reviewing the over 4,000 pages of evidence in the case. The judge could also convict Pistorius of a lesser murder charge or negligent killing, both of which still carry multi-year jail terms.
- Ben Estes