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Pistorius faces early 2014 murder trial

ESPN staff
August 16, 2013
The date for Oscar Pistorius's trial will be set at his next court appearance on Monday © AP

Oscar Pistorius is to be formally charged with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend on Monday and will go on trial in early 2014, prosecutors said.

In a sombre twist, Pistorius will be accused on the day the woman he killed, Reeva Steenkamp, would have celebrated her 30th birthday.

Prosecutors said an exact date for the trial will likely be decided on Monday, when Pistorius next appears in court, but refused to comment on reports he will face further charges for allegedly discharging a firearm recklessly in two separate incidents.

However it was confirmed the main charge would "definitely" be premeditated murder, meaning Pistorius could be sentenced to 25 years in prison if convicted.

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".

Pistorius denies the charge and says he shot Steenkamp by mistake in the early hours of February 14 because he thought she was an intruder in his bedroom's en-suite bathroom at his Pretoria gated community villa.

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