Oscar Pistorius, the South African double amputee a k a blade-runner, has been indicted on charges of murder and illegal possession of ammunition. He has been embroiled in a controversy over the death of his girlfriend on Valentine's Day. A Pretoria court has set March 3 as the trial date for Pistorius, who has claimed that he shot Reeva Steenkamp mistakenly in the belief that she was an intruder in his home. The prosecutors have submitted a list of more than 100 witnesses for the trial.
Pistorius, 26, appeared in court for the indictment. The indictment papers mean that the case will be sent to the High Court in Pretoria, the South African capital, where a judge will preside over the trial and ultimately pronounce the athlete innocent or guilty. South Africa does not have the provision for a trial by jury.
The mandatory sentence for convicts in a premeditated murder is a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years in prison. There is no death penalty in South Africa.
The office of South Africa's national police commissioner says that it is confident of getting Pistorius convicted. The most telling evidence may be in cellphone records and through examination of the cubicle door through which Pistorius shot four bullets. The angle or trajectory of the bullets could show whether Pistorius was standing on his stumps when he shot, as he claims or was on his prosthetics, as the prosecution maintains. It could make a marked difference in the case.