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Pistorius to face trial for murder

ESPN staff
August 19, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Oscar Pistorius will face trial for premeditated murder in March © Getty Images
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Oscar Pistorius has been formally charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after appearing before Pretoria Magistrates' Court.

On the same day Ms Steenkamp would have turned 30, Pistorius was told he will face trial between March 3 and March 20 next year at North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

It is reported that the prosecution will present 107 witnesses, some of whom claim to have heard the couple arguing loudly before hearing gunfire.

Pistorius was seen praying with sister Aimee and brother Carl before the hearing began. Friends of Ms Steenkamp were also in attendance.

When asked by Magistrate Desmond Nair if he was well, Pistorius replied: "Under the circumstances, your honour."

Wiping away tears, Pistorius stood silently in the dock as he was formally charged for the Valentine's Day killing.

He is accused of shooting Ms Steenkamp to death in an en-suite bathroom of his Pretoria gated community villa. But Pistorius, a six-time Paralympic sprint champion, claims he mistook her for an intruder.

Pistorius was initially charged with premeditated murder for bail purposes while the police carried out a six-month investigation into the shooting. The prosecution will retain a main charge of premeditated murder.

The charge carries a life sentence with a minimum 25 years in prison if convicted.

It is rumoured that Pistorius could also face additional charges of recklessly discharging firearms on two separate occasions, though prosecutors declined to comment on the matter before today's hearing.

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