Oscar Pistorius indicted on murder charge
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius was indicted Monday on charges of murder and illegal possession of ammunition for the shooting death of the double-amputee Olympian's girlfriend on Valentine's Day.
A Pretoria court set March 3 as the trial date for Pistorius, who has said he shot Reeva Steenkamp by mistake, believing she was an intruder in his home. Prosecutors, who allege he killed her after an argument, submitted a list of more than 100 witnesses for a trial that will be followed around the world.
Pistorius, 26, appeared in court for the indictment, and was seen crying and holding hands with his siblings before proceedings started. Steenkamp would have celebrated her 30th birthday on Monday.
The indictment papers served on Pistorius by the state mean the case will be sent to the High Court in Pretoria, the South African capital, where a judge will preside over the trial and ultimately pronounce the athlete innocent or guilty. South Africa does not have trial by jury.
The mandatory sentence for someone convicted of premeditated murder is life with a minimum of 25 years in prison, meaning if Pistorius is found guilty, he will be older than 50, at least, when he leaves prison. There is no death penalty in South Africa.