Oscar Pistorius is set to learn his verdict in the climax of a six-month trial over the killing of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013.
Judge Thokozile Masipa said on the last day of the trial, Aug. 8, that it would resume this Thursday at 3:30 a.m. ET with Pistorius’ “judgment.” The judgment will likely be hundreds of pages long, according to NBC News, and could last into Friday, according to The Associated Press:
Masipa will read her verdict Thursday in a lengthy process, filled with summaries of testimony and legal references, that some analysts say might require more court time on Friday. Clues about the looming verdict could emerge during the reading, but Pistorius will only know the judgment for or against him at the end of what is likely to be a long reading that will grip the world’s attention.
Pistorius, the first double amputee to run in the Olympics in 2012, shot four times through a locked door in his Pretoria home bathroom on the early morning of Valentine’s Day 2013, hitting and killing Steenkamp inside.
Pistorius has said he thought Steenkamp was an intruder. The prosecution said Pistorius shot Steenkamp after an argument.
There is no jury system in South Africa. The 66-year-old judge and her two assessors took the last month to decide if Pistorius is guilty of premeditated murder (25 years to life in jail), murder or culpable homicide (up to 15 years), according to NBC News.
He could be acquitted, and he also faces other charges such as discharging a firearm in public.
The defense or prosecution will likely appeal, depending on the verdict.
The murder trial, initially slated for March 3-20, has taken up 41 days of court time scattered among several breaks over six months.