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Fri, 08 Aug 2014 10:57:37 +0000
(PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA) -- The judge in Oscar Pistorius' murder trial gaveled arguments to a close Friday and said she would give herself five weeks to consider the case, setting Sept. 11 as the day to announce her verdict.
Judge Thokozile Masipa adjourned the case after five months of testimony, interrupted at one point for a month-long psychological evaluation of Pistorius, who is accused of premeditated murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The judge will deliberate the case along with her two assistants. South African courts do not use juries.
In the final day of arguments, Pistorius' attorney Barry Roux the legless athlete's condition must be taken into account in deciding whether he is guilty of murder because his disability made him vulnerable and heightened his "primal instincts" to defend himself.
Prosecutors allege that he killed her in a rage after a loud argument, while Pistorius claims he mistook her for an intruder and thought he fired in self-defense when he shot four times through a closed bathroom door.
Roux also said that Pistorius should have been charged with culpable homicide or manslaughter instead of murder.
Police also mishandled evidence at the house where the shooting happened, Roux said.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel delivered the state’s closing arguments Thursday, focusing on inaccuracies in Pistorius’ testimony during the trial, which began March 3 at the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa.
The prosecutor compared the trial to a relay race and said the legless athlete had "dropped the baton of truth."
After Friday’s oral arguments from Roux, it will be up to Judge Thokozile Masipa, along with two legal assistants, to determine the athlete’s fate. Pistorius could be sentenced to at least 25 years in prison if found guilty of murder.
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