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Oscar Pistorius faces murder verdict on Thursday

Pretoria, Sep 11 (): The double-amputee athlete Paralympian Oscar Pistorius will get verdict on September 11, Thursday, 19 months after the 27-year-old shot and killed his 29-year-old girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013. The South African has been on trial for more than six months. He is also facing charges of ammunition and gun possession.

The Paralympian gold medalist, who won international reputation when he participated on his prosthetic ‘blades’ against able-bodied runners at the London Olympics, grabbed great attention worldwide during the trial.

During the trial that has reached over six and a half months, Pistorius has maintained always he mistook his girlfriend Steenkamp for a burglar and got panicked, after which he started shooting through bathroom door due to fear.

The double-amputee athlete did deny that he killed his girlfriend. The only question is why he did it. He said he thought that Steenkamp was safely in bed. But, the prosecution says he killed her in a rage after a quarrel.

66-year-old Judge Masipa, who has worked as a crime reporter and social worker previously, has led the trial since March. Prosecution and defence teams wrapped up their last arguments on August 7, after which they retired to allow the judge to make her decision.

Masipa is likely to take at least two days and reconsider the evidence specified by 37 witnesses in the tough testimony before she conveys her verdict in the case that has attracted worldwide attention.

If Masipa decides Pistorius intentionally murdered Steenkamp, the athlete could face a life sentence, which in South Africa means 25 years in jail.

Even if life sentence is her verdict, it would not be the conclusion of the case. Arguments will arise before sentence is given and, most probably, an appeal would be submitted to a higher court.

If Pistorius is innocent of murder he can still be sentenced on another charge of culpable homicide, which could also carry a prison sentence.