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Oscar Pistorius indicted on murder charge, trial set for March

Pretoria, South Africa, Aug 19 (): Oscar Pistorius was indicted in a Pretoria Magistrates Court on charges of murder and illegal possession of bullets for the shooting death of the double-amputee Olympian’s girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day.

The Pretoria court set March 3 as the trial date for Pistorius, who has said he shot her girlfriend by mistake, believing she was a burglar in his home.

Reeva Steenkamp, a model and law graduate who had been dating Pistorius for just a few months, suffered gunshot wounds to her head, elbow and hip on Valentine’s Day. She would have celebrated her 30th birthday today,if she had been alive.

Oscar arrived in court in a black suit with his family today. Just before the court proceedings started, the Paralympian prayed with his sister, Aimee, and brother, Carl. At one moment, Pistorius became emotional while he continued to pray with his siblings for over 15 minutes. His sister also broke out in tears during the prayer.

Pistorius’ trial will start on 3 March 2014 in the North Gauteng High Court and is expected to run until 20 March 2014. The State is also expected to call more than 100 witnesses for the trial, some of whom said they heard a woman scream, followed by silence and then gunshots and more screaming.

Earlier this month, the police announced that they had finished their investigation in this six months in the killing of Steenkamp in the upscale home of Pistorius in Pretoria in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14.

A statement given by the office of South Africa’s national police commissioner, said forensic experts, detectives, ballistics experts, technology experts and psychologists all worked on the case and are confident that they have the indication to convict Pistorius.

The mandatory sentence for someone convicted of planned 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.