JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Oscar Pistorius is due to re-appear in a South African court on Monday to face charges of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Here's what is expected to happen next:
The 26-year-old double-amputee Olympian will be indicted on a main charge of premeditated murder on Monday at Pretoria Magistrate's Court, prosecutors say, confirming they will maintain the charge they initially laid against Pistorius for Steenkamps's shooting death in February when they go to trial.
Pistorius denies he committed murder and says he shot Steenkamp by mistake thinking she was a dangerous intruder.
The blockbuster trial is expected to start in early 2014 but the exact date will likely be set on Monday, according to prosecutors. It will probably be in February or March, around a year since Steenkamp's killing.
The indictment papers served on Pistorius by the state mean the case will be sent to the High Court in the South African capital Pretoria, where a judge will preside over the trial and ultimately pronounce the world-famous 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.
The indictment papers are expected to include a list of witnesses to be called by the prosecution during the trial, and detail some of the evidence police investigators have gathered in the six months since Pistorius fatally shot Steenkamp in a bathroom in his home on Valentine's Day.
Prosecutors told The Associated Press it is "possible" that additional charges could be added to the indictment but declined to comment on South African media reports that Pistorius would face two other charges relating to recklessly discharging a firearm in a public place in two separate incidents. The incidents — reportedly when Pistorius shot a gun out of the sunroof of a moving car and let one off accidentally in a restaurant — would seemingly show the prosecution's attempt to paint Pistorius as trigger-happy at his trial.
Neither Pistorius' defense lawyers nor his family would comment in detail on any of the charges, but a spokeswoman said they would see a copy of the indictment papers before Monday so they could prepare.