Defense team closes case in Pistorius murder trial

 

The Sports Network

Pretoria, South Africa (SportsNetwork.com) - Oscar Pistorius' defense team closed its case Tuesday in the murder trial of the Olympic and Paralympic athlete.

The court was adjourned until August, when both sides will present their final arguments. The prosecution will file closing arguments on July 30 and the defense will do so on Aug. 4. Final arguments are scheduled for Aug. 7-8.

Pistorius has been charged with murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Steenkamp was killed by Pistorius on Feb. 14, 2013 in the bathroom of his home. He has maintained the shooting was an accident, believing he was firing into the bathroom at an intruder. The prosecution has countered that he knew Steenkamp was in the bathroom in a premeditated murder.

Judge Thokozile Masipa will decide guilt or innocence in the trial, since South Africa does not have trial by jury.

In addition to the murder charge, Pistorius also faces charges of contravening South Africa's Firearms Control Act.

The murder charge could carry a sentence of life in prison. There is no death penalty in South Africa.

Steenkamp, who was 29 years old, was a model and reality television star in South Africa.

Pistorius, known as the "Blade Runner," made history at the London Olympics in 2012 when he became the first double-amputee runner to compete in the Games. He had both legs amputated before he was a year old after being born without fibula bones and runs on prosthetic blades.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had initially said that his prosthetics were considered technical aids and in violation of an IAAF rule. But the Court of Arbitration for Sport later overturned that decision, making him eligible to compete against able-bodied runners.

Pistorius qualified for South Africa's Olympic team in 2012 and competed in the 400-meter race, reaching the semifinals, and the 1,600-meter relay.

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