Oscar Pistorius indicted on premeditated murder in girlfriend's death

Aug. 19, 2013 at 7:05 AM   |   0 comments

PRETORIA, South Africa, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius was indicted Monday in a South African court on a charge of premeditated murder in his girlfriend's death in February.

During the hearing, state prosecutors released a copy of the indictment, which accused Pistorius of intentionally shooting his girlfriend, model and law student Reeva Steenkamp, while she was behind a locked bathroom door Feb. 14 in his home in a gated community in Pretoria, The New York Times reported.

A trial date was set for March 3.

More than 100 potential witnesses were listed for the prosecution.

Before the hearing, Pistorius prayed with his family and wept, the Times said. Friends of Steenkamp, who would have celebrated her 30th birthday Monday, sat nearby.

Defense lawyers have portrayed the shooting as an accident in which Pistorius, 26, thought an intruder had entered his home while Steenkamp was spending the night. Defense testimony indicated Pistorius fired through a locked bathroom door and didn't realize Steenkamp was inside. At least three bullets hit her.

Weekend news reports in South Africa said Pistorius could face new charges of recklessly firing a weapon in public based on accusations he fired a weapon in a restaurant in January and again from a car while driving home from a vacation, the Times said. Neither the defense nor prosecution have confirmed the reports.

The double-amputee Olympic and Paralympic champion sprinter is free on $100,000 bond.

Premeditated murder carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Pistorius, nicknamed the Blade Runner for the prosthetics he uses in competition, won two gold medals and a silver at September's Paralympic Games in London. In the 2012 Olympics, he reached the 400-meter semifinal and competed in the 4x400-meter relay.

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