Pistorius weeps as murder trial date is set

Oscar Pistorius will face trial on March 3 next year charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a South African court ruled today.

South African Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius appears at the Magistrate Court in Pretoria today.
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PRETORIA // The South African Olympic and Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius, accused of murdering his model girlfriend, prayed and wiped away tears in a court hearing yesterday that set the starting date for his trial in March next year.

Pistorius 26, a double amputee and known as "Blade Runner" for the prostheses he wears in competition, bowed his head and held hands in prayer with his brother, Carl, and sister, Aimee, before the brief hearing in a Pretoria court.

Detailed charges were presented outlining the prosecution's case of premeditated murder. Pistorius has admitted shooting Reeva Steenkamp through a bathroom door at his Pretoria home on Valentine's Day.

He claims he was acting in self-defence against what he thought was an intruder. His arrest and upcoming trial has riveted South Africa and made headlines around the world.

"Some of the state witnesses heard a woman scream, followed by moments of silence, then heard gunshots and then more screaming," the prosecution's charges summary reads.

Steenkamp was hit in the head, arm and hip and died at the house on February 14.

Yesterday's court hearing was held on the day that the victim, a fashion model and aspiring TV star, would have turned 30.