Oscar Pistorius' Verdict Date Has Finally Been Announced, So Here's When He'll Learn His Fate
It's been a long, winding road, and it's got to come to an end eventually. Former Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius has been on trial for murder for over five months now — a far longer span of time than the trial was originally supposed to take. As myriad delays and postponements have stretched the proceedings, which have been high-profile throughout South Africa and the world at large, it makes sense if you're wondering: When will the Oscar Pistorius verdict be announced?
Well, at long last, there's a concrete answer to that question — assuming, of course, that nothing else intervenes to throw a wrench in the works. Judge Thokozile Masipa says she'll read the verdict on September 11, meaning from its start to the verdict, this whole thing will have taken over six months. Friday was the final day of closing arguments, which wrapped up shortly ago, meaning that she's now on-the-clock, having given herself five weeks to come to a decision.
Is he guilty of murder? Or maybe just culpable homicide? Or, is he innocent of wrongdoing? It'll all be up to Masipa, because South Africa doesn't have jury trials. Whatever she decides will seal Pistorius' fate.
Throughout the course of this dramatic trial, the last couple months proved especially damaging to Pistorius' case. His defense had argued he suffered from generalized anxiety disorder, a claim protested by famed South African prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who requested Pistorius undergo a month-long, outpatient psych evaluation to determine his mental condition. The results, from a four-member panel of mental health experts, found that Pistorius was not mentally impaired on the night he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
However, as defense attorney Barry Roux read in court, it also found that Pistorius suffers from post-traumatic stress stemming from the incident, and may be at risk for suicide.
Nel's hard-charging prosecution style, on the other hand, has been on full display throughout the trial, and his closing arguments were no exception. Nel has accused Pistorius of being a deliberate and deceitful liar, alleging 13 lies or inconsistencies — he called it a "baker's dozen," according to the Los Angeles Times — from Pistorius' testimony: "You tell one lie and you just have to build on it, build on it. It just becomes ridiculous."
Further, he accused Pistorius of putting on a front while on the stand, in which he used "well-calculated and rehearsed emotional outbursts to deflect attention and to avoid having to answer questions."
So, basically, Pistorius has a little over a month before he'll know how the rest of his life is going to play out. If he's convicted of premeditated murder, he'll be looking at a life sentence, with no chance of parole for 25 years. A lesser murder conviction would carry a 15 year sentence, while a ruling of culpable homicide — effectively South Africa's version of a manslaughter ruling — would leave sentencing up to Masipa's discretion.
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