JOHANNESBURG — Oscar Pistorius will be indicted on a charge of premeditated murder on Monday and the double-amputee Olympian will go on trial in early 2014, about a year after shooting dead his girlfriend, prosecutors said.
In a somber twist, Pistorius will be indicted on the day the woman he killed, Reeva Steenkamp, would have celebrated her 30th birthday.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Medupe Simasiku said today that the exact date for the trial had not yet been set and would likely be decided on Monday, Pistorius’ next appearance in court.
The indictment papers will be served at Pretoria Magistrate’s Court and the prosecution will retain a main charge of premeditated murder, Simasiku said. Pistorius faces a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years in prison if convicted on that charge.
Pistorius was initially charged with premeditated murder for Steenkamp’s death for bail purposes while police investigated the circumstances of the Valentine’s Day shooting. Police said this week they had completed their six-month investigation and are convinced Pistorius “had a charge to answer to,” leading to the indictment.
Pistorius denies he committed murder and says he shot Steenkamp by mistake in the early hours of Feb. 14 because he thought she was a nighttime intruder in his bathroom in his villa in a gated community in the South African capital, Pretoria.