Pistorius's fate in the murder trial of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp will be determined in August

By Sandra Sobieraj Westfall
July 08, 2014 02:15 PM
Credit: Themba Hadebe/AP

Oscar Pistorius, on trial for murder and facing possible life in prison, was given at least one month’s reprieve on Tuesday, when his defense team ended its case and the judge agreed to give lawyers until early August to pore over thousands of pages of trial documents and prepare closing arguments.

Once those arguments are aired before Judge Thokozile Masipa, she and two legal assistants will deliberate on a verdict.

The resting of the defense case comes amid controversy over the airing of a dramatic video it filmed during preparation of its case. The video shows Pistorius, a Paralympic amputee sprinter nicknamed “Blade Runner” for his prosthetic legs, reenacting the harrowing events early on Valentine’s Day morning in 2013 when he shot and killed his girlfriend – model and women’s-rights activist Reeva Steenkamp – through a locked bathroom door in his Pretoria, South Africa, home.

Pistorius, seen in the footage running on his stumps with his hand held outstretched as if clutching a gun, says he fired in self-defense, mistaking Steenkamp for a middle-of-the-night intruder. But prosecutors maintain Pistorius, 27, shot her in a rage and presented witnesses who painted him as short-tempered and gun-obssessed.

The one time Golden Boy of sports testified in his own defense in April and remains free on bail but faces 25 years to life if convicted of premeditated murder.

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