Verdict in Pistorius trial scheduled for Sept. 11
by Christopher Torchia, Associated Press and Gerald Imray, Associated Press
August 08, 2014 10:15 AM | 1186 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Oscar Pistorius, left, walks past Barry Steenkamp, the father of Reeva Steenkamp, right, during his trial, in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. The chief defense lawyer for Pistorius delivered final arguments in the athlete's trial on Friday, alleging that Pistorius thought he was in danger when he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and also that police mishandled evidence at the house where the shooting happened. (AP Photo/ Herman Verwey, Pool)
Oscar Pistorius, left, walks past Barry Steenkamp, the father of Reeva Steenkamp, right, during his trial, in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. The chief defense lawyer for Pistorius delivered final arguments in the athlete's trial on Friday, alleging that Pistorius thought he was in danger when he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and also that police mishandled evidence at the house where the shooting happened. (AP Photo/ Herman Verwey, Pool)
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Oscar Pistorius, gestures, as he sits in court, during his trial in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. The chief defense lawyer for Oscar Pistorius delivered final arguments in the athlete's murder trial on Friday, alleging that Pistorius thought he was in danger when he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and also that police mishandled evidence at the house where the shooting happened.(AP Photo/Herman Verwey, Pool)
Oscar Pistorius, gestures, as he sits in court, during his trial in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. The chief defense lawyer for Oscar Pistorius delivered final arguments in the athlete's murder trial on Friday, alleging that Pistorius thought he was in danger when he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and also that police mishandled evidence at the house where the shooting happened.(AP Photo/Herman Verwey, Pool)
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Chief defense lawyer for Oscar Pistorius, Barry Roux, addresses the court, in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. In his final arguments Roux alleges that Pistorius thought he was in danger when he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and also that police mishandled evidence at the house where the shooting happened. (AP Photo/Herman Verwey, Pool)
Chief defense lawyer for Oscar Pistorius, Barry Roux, addresses the court, in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. In his final arguments Roux alleges that Pistorius thought he was in danger when he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and also that police mishandled evidence at the house where the shooting happened. (AP Photo/Herman Verwey, Pool)
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Oscar Pistorius, left, sits in court during his trial, in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. The chief defense lawyer for Pistorius delivered final arguments in the athlete's trial on Friday, alleging that Pistorius thought he was in danger when he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and also that police mishandled evidence at the house where the shooting happened. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, Pool)
Oscar Pistorius, left, sits in court during his trial, in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. The chief defense lawyer for Pistorius delivered final arguments in the athlete's trial on Friday, alleging that Pistorius thought he was in danger when he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and also that police mishandled evidence at the house where the shooting happened. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, Pool)
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PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — The judge in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius said Friday that she will give a verdict on Sept. 11, ending a televised trial that stretched for five months and transfixed South Africans and others around the world.

Judge Thokozile Masipa made the announcement after the prosecution and the defense ended final arguments in the murder case against the double-amputee athlete, who shot dead girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius said he mistakenly shot Steenkamp through the closed door of a toilet cubicle, thinking there was an intruder in his home. The prosecution alleges the Olympic runner intentionally killed her after an argument on Valentine's Day last year.

"The accused intended to kill a human being," chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel said. "There must be consequences."

Nel has urged the judge to dismiss Pistorius' entire story as an elaborate lie and to convict him of premeditated murder, a charge that carries a sentence of at least 25 years and up to life in prison. South Africa does not have trial by jury, nor does it have the death penalty.

Pistorius could also be convicted of a lesser murder charge or negligent killing, both of which call for years in jail. Judge Masipa could acquit him if she believes he only made a tragic error.

Barry Roux, the chief defense lawyer, said Pistorius' disability had made him particularly vulnerable and anxious about crime over the years, comparing him to a victim of abuse who kills an abuser after a long period of suffering. Pistorius' had his lower legs amputated as a baby, and Roux argued that the athlete's long-held fear of being attacked with the disability played a central role in an accidental killing.

Pistorius pleaded not guilty to murder and three separate firearm charges. Roux, however, conceded that he was guilty in one of those firearm charges, of negligently firing a gun in a public place in an incident in a restaurant weeks before the killing. Prosecutors have used those firearm charges to paint Pistorius as a hothead who was obsessed with guns, not the vulnerable figure his defense puts forward.



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