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Next Hearing in Pistorius Murder Case Set for August

  • Anita Powell

Oscar Pistorius leaves after court proceedings at the Pretoria Magistrates court, June 4, 2013.

Oscar Pistorius leaves after court proceedings at the Pretoria Magistrates court, June 4, 2013.

South African track star Oscar Pistorius appeared Tuesday in a Pretoria court ahead of his murder trial for the shooting death of his model girlfriend earlier this year. Both legal teams agreed to postpone the high profile case until August to allow for more investigation.

Oscar Pistorius will again appear in the dock on August 19.

The prosecution says it needs the next 11 weeks to continue the investigation into what happened the night of February 14, when Pistorius shot dead model Reeva Steenkamp at his upscale Pretoria home.

Pistorius says he mistook his girlfriend of three months for an intruder and did not mean to shoot her four times through a locked bathroom door. The prosecution argues the shooting was premeditated murder.

The Olympic runner, dressed in a crisp grey suit, stared solemnly ahead as he stood through his 15-minute appearance Tuesday. He clasped his hands together the whole time.

Both legal teams quickly agreed to postpone the hearing, but magistrate Daniel Thulare took the time to address recent media coverage of this closely followed case. He warned that some media coverage - likely a veiled reference to the recent leak of bloody photos of the crime scene to a British TV channel - could further "scandalize" the already hot case.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesman, Medupe Simasiku, said he was confident investigators will meet the August deadline but he offered few details of what the trial might bring.

"I cannot go into detail as to what is exactly happening inside the case itself, but I can tell you that we hope by the time when the investigations are completed, we will be able now to serve the indictment to the defense," he said.

This case has captivated South Africa, where the runner was hailed as a hero after being the first double amputee to complete in the Olympics in 2012. Since his arrest in February, the runner's case has been plagued with dramatic twists and turns.

No South African court case has so riveted international attention in the last few decades. On Tuesday morning, hundreds of journalists waited outside the court as more than 90 accredited journalists attempted to squeeze into a packed courtroom.

But Simasiku says officials are treating the case like any other.

"I wouldn't say it's a special case," he said. "We have had had so many cases almost similar to this one. And I believe that we'll treat it as any case, and like I say every case has its own merits that we need to deal with. And it will be done in a fair way, like any other case we have handled before."

Pistorius remains free on bail. His next court appearance happens to fall on Steenkamp’s birthday. She would have turned 30.