Oscar Pistorius' Defense Team Rests Case

After revealing some witnesses refused to testify
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2014 4:10 AM CDT
Oscar Pistorius' Defense Team Rests Case
Oscar Pistorius attends court at his murder trial for the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on St. Valentine's Day 2013 in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, July 8, 2014.   (AP Photo/Alon Skuy, Pool)

Once again, the Oscar Pistorius murder trial is going on hiatus: The defense rested today, and closing arguments won't start until August 7. The last break took place so Pistorius' mental state could be evaluated; the long delay this time around could be thanks to the fact that the transcript, which both sides will review before the trial resumes, is believed to run some 4,000 pages long, CNN reports. As the defense rested, Pistorius' lawyer told the court that some witnesses had refused to testify because they didn't want "their voices all over the world," the BBC reports, though he didn't name those witnesses.

After closing arguments, the judge in the case, assisted by two assessors, will rule whether Pistorius, 27, killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp intentionally or whether it was an accident, as the athlete claims. If Pistorius is found guilty of murder, he faces a prison sentence anywhere from 15 years to life. He could also be found guilty of the lesser charge of culpable homicide, if the judge decides the shooting was an accident but does not want to acquit Pistorius. That verdict would leave his sentence at her discretion, but the BBC notes it could be about 15 years. (More Oscar Pistorius stories.)

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