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Oscar Pistorius trial starts Monday; key information

Feb 28, 2014, 4:03 PM EST

Oscar Pistorius AP

Oscar Pistorius will go on trial beginning Monday, charged with murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on the early morning of Valentine’s Day 2013.

Pistorius, the first double amputee to run at the Summer Olympics when he competed in London, said he unknowingly shot and killed Steenkamp, who was with Pistorius at his Pretoria, South Africa, home that overnight.

Pistorius shot four times through a bathroom door, hitting Steenkamp three times with bullets from his licensed 9mm Parabellum pistol. His defense was that he thought the person in the bathroom was an intruder and that Steenkamp was in bed.

When and where is the trial?

The trial begins at 3 a.m. ET on Monday at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria with the full trial period set for March 3-20, though it won’t necessarily end March 20. The schedule (subject to change by the judge) calls for court proceedings to run from 3-4:15 a.m., 4:30-6 a.m. and 7-9 a.m. ET.

As many as 107 witnesses could be called based on this indictment from August.

How can I follow the trial?

South African media outlets were granted permission Tuesday to broadcast live video of parts of the trial, not including Pistorius’ potential testimony. The broadcasts also can be made available to international stations, according to The Associated Press.

A live audio feed will be allowed for the whole of the trial. Links to live audio were made available at Pistorius’ court appearances last year. (Update: South African media outlet Eyewitness News has an audio live stream link here)

Here’s a Twitter list of accounts related to the trial.

What are the potential outcomes?

Pistorius, 27, was indicted on a charge of premeditated murder in August. If convicted of premeditated murder, he faces a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years in prison. There is no death penalty in South Africa.

If not premeditated murder, he could be convicted of lesser charges such as culpable homicide (negligent killing) with shorter prison sentences.

A judge will determine Pistorius’ guilt or innocence. There is no trial by jury in South Africa.

Here’s NBC News’ full coverage of the Pistorius trial.

  1. mogogo1 - Feb 28, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    He might as well pack his bags for the next 25+ years. His “I didn’t know she’d gotten up to use the bathroom” defense isn’t going to be able to explain why she was fully clothed and had two cell phones with her in the bathroom. Or why multiple neighbors reported hearing screams when he claims they were sound asleep.

    • truecelt - Apr 17, 2014 at 6:38 PM

      It’s full of holes, the story is very weak unfortunately, because if he is innocent he’s giving himself little chance of a not guilty verdict, I think. I’m trying to ascertain whether he used a Taurus though, the pistol is faulty, and there’s a case of Brazilian police recalling a number of units. Check it out, the pistol goes off with a simple shake of the wrist, which would explain a lot. Still, lots heaped against him

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