Steenkamp's mother to attend Pistorius trial

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 11, 2014 at 8:33 am •  Published: February 11, 2014
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The Steenkamp family added that they intended to set up a foundation in honor of the 29-year-old Reeva, a model and reality TV star, after the trial.

"Reeva, who held such a passion for women's abuse issues and frequently spoke out against domestic violence, intended to one day open an establishment where abused women would be cared for," her parents said.

They also repeated their request for privacy ahead of the anniversary of the killing on Friday, and the start of the trial in a few weeks.

Steenkamp's family has rarely spoken publicly in recent months, with their last prepared media statement last August around the date that would have been their daughter's 30th birthday. On that day, Aug. 19, Pistorius was formally indicted on charges of premeditated murder and illegal possession of ammunition and it was announced he would stand trial at a high court. He is also expected to be indicted on two other charges relating to reckless shooting of firearms in public when his trial starts.

The 27-year-old Pistorius, an international track star even before he became the first double-amputee to run at the world championships and the Olympics, faces a possible life sentence with a minimum of 25 years in prison before the chance of parole if he is convicted of premeditated murder in Steenkamp's killing. While prosecutors maintain he intended to kill his girlfriend, the athlete says he fired in self-defense, fearing for his and Steenkamp's safety.

A female judge will preside over Pistorius' case and ultimately pronounce the superstar guilty or innocent. There is no trial by jury in South Africa.

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Gerald Imray is on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP