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Pistorius Readies for Murder Trial Verdict

  • VOA News

FILE - South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius arrives in court for closing arguments of his trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, Aug. 7, 2014.

FILE - South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius arrives in court for closing arguments of his trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, Aug. 7, 2014.

South African running star Oscar Pistorius is set to hear the verdict in his murder trial as the proceedings resume in Pretoria on Thursday.

Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to recount the evidence and testimony presented by nearly 40 witnesses before handing down her ruling, in a process that could stretch for hours and extend into Friday.

Pistorius is accused of deliberately killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp inside his home on Valentine's Day 2013. The double-amputee runner, known for his high-tech running blades, said he thought he was shooting at an intruder when he fired four shots through a locked bathroom door.

During a 41-day trial closely watched by international media, defense lawyers portrayed Pistorius as anxious and vulnerable because of his disability, while prosecutors tried to paint him as deceitful.

The judge could hand down three possible guilty verdicts for the main charge, including murder, premeditated murder and culpable homicide. If convicted, sentencing would happen at a later date.

Pistorius also faces lesser firearm-related charges.

Because South Africa has no trial by jury, Judge Masipa is deciding the case with the help of two legal assistants.

The 66-year-old Masipa was only the second black woman to be appointed a high court judge in South Africa and has a reputation for handing down stiff sentences in crimes against women.

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