Oscar Pistorius

Defense team for Oscar Pistorius closes case

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After 39 days in court, the team defending Oscar Pistorius against charges he murdered his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, have finished calling witnesses. Pistorius’ lawyers have argued that the double amputee and 2012 Olympian thought Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot through a locked door in his South Africa home bathroom on Valentine’s Day 2013.

The trial will adjourn until August 7-8, when final arguments for both the defense and prosecuting teams are scheduled.

Lawyer Barry Roux said “there’s nothing that we can do” about witnesses who did not want to testify due to the intensely public nature of the case, according to the AP. Roux chose not to ask the judge to compel unwilling witnesses to testify.

After closing arguments are presented, Judge Thokozile Masipa will pass a verdict on whether Pistorius is guilty of premeditated murder. Pistorius could also be convicted of culpable homicide, South Africa’s version of manslaughter for negligent killing.

He could face a prison sentence of 25 years to life. South Africa does not have the death penalty.

Here’s NBC News’ coverage of the trial.

 

 

 

2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships to be in San Jose

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The 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the final competition to determine the Pyeongchang Olympic team, will be in San Jose, California, at the SAP Center, concluding Jan. 7.

It appears to be the earliest the U.S. Figure Skating Championships will end in an Olympic year in at least 50 years.

The competition will be broadcast live on NBC and streamed live on Icenetwork.com.

San Jose previously hosted the U.S. Championships in 1996 and 2012, but it has never hosted in an Olympic year.

Sochi Olympian Polina Edmunds is from San Jose and figures to receive a boost of crowd support. Edmunds, 18, begins classes at nearby Santa Clara University next month.

The January 2017 U.S. Championships will be in Kansas City. The international figure skating season starts next month, with Skate America kicking off the Grand Prix season in October.

Recent Nationals host cities in Olympic years were Boston in 2014 and Spokane, Washington, in 2010.

MORE: Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold headline Skate America

Fiji Olympic rugby coach given 3 acres of land, special name

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 11:  Gold medalists Ro Dakuwaqa of Fiji and Fiji head coach Ben Ryan celebrate after the medal ceremony for the Men's Rugby Sevens on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympics at Deodoro Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
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Olympic coaches don’t receive gold medals. Fiji Olympic men’s rugby coach Ben Ryan may have gotten something better anyway.

Ryan’s reward for guiding Fiji to its first Olympic medal in any sport — gold in rugby sevens’ Olympic debut — included three acres of land in Fiji and a new name, Ratu Peni Raiyani Latianara, according to Fijian reports.

Ryan, a London native, is stepping down as coach of the Fijian team. The 44-year-old coached the team for three years after leading the England national sevens team for six years.

MORE: Fiji wins nation’s first Olympic medal