Murder Trial Adjourned Until April 7
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[March 28, 2014]
PRETORIA (Reuters) — The murder
trial of Oscar Pistorius was adjourned on Friday until April 7, when the
South African Paralympic and Olympic track star is expected to take the
stand in his own defense in a high-stakes bid to prove his innocence and
avoid life in prison.
Judge Thokozile Masipa postponed proceedings for more than a week
due to the illness of one of the legal assistants who has been
sitting at her side throughout the trial, one of the most
high-profile in South African history.
Prosecutors took 15 days to lay out their case against the
27-year-old, arguing he deliberately killed girlfriend Reeva
Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year by firing
four rounds from a 9 mm pistol through a closed toilet door.
Several neighbors testified to hearing a woman's terrified screams
before a volley of shots, countering Pistorius' assertions that he
mistook Steenkamp for an intruder hiding in the toilet cubicle in
the middle of the night.
If found guilty of murder, Pistorius faces at least 25 years in
The trial has gripped South Africa and millions of athletics fans
around the world who saw Pistorius as a symbol of triumph over
The sprinter's lower legs were amputated as a baby but he went on to
achieve global fame as the "fastest man on no legs," winning gold
medals at the Beijing and London Paralympics.
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He also won a battle against athletics authorities for the right to
compete against able-bodied men, becoming the first amputee runner
at an Olympics when he reached the 400 meters semi-finals in London
(Reporting by Ed Cropley; editing by David Dolan)
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