Oscar Pistorius, the South African sprinter known as the “Blade Runner” because of the blade-shaped prostheses he wears during competitions, was on Monday formally charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, reports said.
Pistorius, the Olympic and Paralympic running star, shot dead his girlfriend on Feb. 14, or Valentine’s Day, and claims that he believed her to be an intruder. However, prosecutors allege that the murder was premeditated, and want the double amputee athlete to be sentenced to life imprisonment with 25 years as the minimum service time.
According to reports, Pistorius’ trial will begin March 3 and will extend through March 20, and his lawyers want the charge to be changed to culpable homicide.
"I am satisfied with the provisions that my legal team have made," Pistorius said during the short hearing at a court in Pretoria, South Africa, NBC News reported.
Pistorius was accompanied by his brother Carl, sister Aimee and uncle Ted, and was visibly upset at the hearing. According to NBC News, he was seen wiping away tears as he was indicted on a premeditated murder charge, and for possessing illegal ammunition.
Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, had been dating Pistorius for a few months when she died of gunshot wounds to her head, elbow and hip.
According to a City Press report cited by the Telegraph, Steenkamp’s post-mortem report showed that she was crouching behind the bathroom door when Pistorius shot at her, indicating that the model was hiding in the bathroom rather than using it.
But, Pistorius, in an affidavit, cited by the Telegraph, stated that he fired the gun thinking it was an intruder. “I did not have my prosthetic legs on and felt extremely vulnerable. I believed that when the intruder or intruders came out of the toilet we would be in grave danger,” Pistorius said.
Keerthi Mohan is an IBTimes reporter covering entertainment and human interest stories.