Expert: Screaming gives Pistorius 'major problem'

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Expert: Screaming gives Pistorius 'major problem'
Oscar Pistorius's brother Carl Pistorius, leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Carl Pistorius appears in court on the second day of his brother Oscar Pistorius' trial at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine's Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Kim Ludbrook,Pool)
Oscar Pistorius, front, gets a hug from his brother, Carl, back, in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Thursday, April 17, 2014. Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Alet Pretorius, Pool)
Oscar Pistorius' siblings Carl, left, and Aimee Pistorius, right, attend the ongoing murder trial of their brother in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday June 30, 2014. The trial resumed Monday, after one month during which mental health experts evaluated the athlete to determine if he has an anxiety disorder that could have influenced his actions on the night he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. (AP Photo/Phill Magakoe, Pool)
FILE - In this Tuesday May 20, 2014 file photo brother of murder accused, Oscar Pistorius, left, Carl Pistorius, right, speaks with his brother in court in Pretoria, South Africa. Carl Pistorius has been "badly hurt" in a car accident after a head-on collision on a highway in South Africa, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Siphiwe Sibeko, Pool, File)
Oscar Pistorius reacts as he listens to evidence by a pathologist in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, April 7, 2014. A pathologist called as the first defense witness in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial offered a different sequence for the shots that killed Reeva Steenkamp and also testified Monday that if the double-amputee athlete fired his 9 mmm pistol in two quick bursts, as Pistorius claims he did, his girlfriend probably didn’t have time to scream. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day 2013. (AP Photo/Deaan Vivier, Pool)
Oscar Pistorius talks on a mobile phone while arriving in a car at the Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital on May 26 2014 in Pretoria. A South African judge on May 20, 2014 ordered Oscar Pistorius to undergo up to 30 days of psychiatric tests to establish if he is 'criminally responsible' for killing his girlfriend on Valentine's Day 2013. AFP PHOTO / MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Oscar Pistorius looks back in a courtroom at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, May 6, 2014. A man who lives next to the house where Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend has testified at the athlete's murder trial about the night of the killing, saying he heard a man crying loudly and that he called the security of the housing estate for help. (AP Photo/Mike Hutchings, Pool)
Oscar Pistorius is seated in a courtroom at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, May 6, 2014. A man who lives next to the house where Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend has testified at the athlete's murder trial about the night of the killing, saying he heard a man crying loudly and that he called the security of the housing estate for help. (AP Photo/Mike Hutchings, Pool)
Oscar Pistorius, right, talks with his defense attorney Barry Roux, left, in a courtroom at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, May 6, 2014. A man who lives next to the house where Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend has testified at the athlete's murder trial about the night of the killing, saying he heard a man crying loudly and that he called the security of the housing estate for help. (AP Photo/Mike Hutchings, Pool)
Oscar Pistorius looks back as he arrives at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Using witness accounts of a panicked nighttime phone call from Pistorius begging for help and his desperate pleas for Reeva Steenkamp to stay alive, the defense at his murder trial tried to reinforce its case Monday that the double-amputee Olympian fatally shot his girlfriend in a tragic error of judgment. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Oscar Pistorius, center, leaves after the court adjourned for the day in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Oscar Pistorius weeps as he listens to evidence by a pathologist in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, April 7, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, Pool)
Oscar Pistorius talks on a mobile phone while arriving in a car at the Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital on May 26 2014 in Pretoria. A South African judge on May 20, 2014 ordered Oscar Pistorius to undergo up to 30 days of psychiatric tests to establish if he is 'criminally responsible' for killing his girlfriend on Valentine's Day 2013. AFP PHOTO/MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
June Steenkamp, right, mother of the late Reeva Steenkamp listens to evidence by a pathologist during the murder trial of Osacr Pistorius in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, April 7, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, Pool)
Oscar Pistorius gets a hug from his aunt Lois Pistroius in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, April 7, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day 2013. (AP Photo/Deaan Vivier, Pool)
Friend of the late Reeva Steenkamp, Kim Myers, listens to a witness giving evidence during the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius, in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday May 6, 2014 Pistorius is charged with the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013. (AP Photo. (AP Photo/Alon Skuy, Pool)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - MARCH 5 (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court on March 5, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2014. This is Pistorius' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. (Photo by Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - MARCH 5 (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court on March 5, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2014. This is Pistorius' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. (Photo by Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - MARCH 5 (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court on March 5, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2014. This is Pistorius' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. (Photo by Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - MARCH 5 (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court on March 5, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2014. This is Pistorius' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. (Photo by Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, gestures on the third day of his trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, on March 5, 2014. Three days into the athlete's trial for his lover's premeditated killing, the state called Pistorius' friend Kevin Lerena to testify about one of three other charges against Pistorius. AFP PHOTO/ POOL/ MIKE HUTCHINGS (Photo credit should read MIKE HUTCHINGS/AFP/Getty Images)
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius (L), accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp,confers with his lawyer Barry Roux (R) on the third day of his trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, on March 5, 2014. Three days into the athlete's trial for his lover's premeditated killing, the state called Pistorius' friend Kevin Lerena to testify about one of three other charges against Pistorius. AFP PHOTO/ POOL/ MIKE HUTCHINGS (Photo credit should read MIKE HUTCHINGS/AFP/Getty Images)
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, attends the third day of his trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, on March 5, 2014. Three days into the athlete's trial for his lover's premeditated killing, the state called Pistorius' friend Kevin Lerena to testify about one of three other charges against Pistorius. AFP PHOTO/ POOL/ ALON SKUY (Photo credit should read ALON SKUYI/AFP/Getty Images)
Oscar Pistorius is comforted by a relative in court, on March 5, 2014. The double amputee and Paralympian is appearing in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is accused of the murder of model Reeva Steenkamp on February 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO: Alon Skuyi/Pool (Photo credit should read ALON SKUYI/AFP/Getty Images)
Carl Pistorius, at center in blue suit, the brother of Oscar Pistorius is escorted by police as he arrives at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, March 3, 2014. Oscar Pistorius is charged with murder with premeditation in the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day 2013. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
South African Paralympian star Oscar Pistorius (C), accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, attends the opening day of his trial, at the High Court in Pretoria on March 3, 2014. Pistorius, 27, appeared in court and on television screens around the world to answer charges that he wilfully shot his gilfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead on Valentine's Day 2013 through a locked bathroom door at his home in the city, and faces a life sentence if convicted. AFP PHOTO / POOL / THEMBA HADEBE (Photo credit should read THEMBA HADEBE/AFP/Getty Images)
South African amputee Olympian sprinter Oscar Pistorius (L) arrives, watched by June Steenkamp (R), mother of Reeva Steenkamp, in the High Court in Pretoria on March 3, 2014 on the opening day of his murder trial, accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius, 27, appeared in court and on television screens around the world to answer charges that he wilfully shot his gilfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead on Valentine's Day 2013 through a locked bathroom door at his home in the city, and faces a life sentence if convicted. AFP PHOTO / POOL / THEMBA HADEBE (Photo credit should read THEMBA HADEBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Oscar Pistorius smiles in court during his trial at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, March 3, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder with premeditation in the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day 2013. (AP Photo/Herman Verwey Media24-Pool)
South African amputee Olympian sprinter Oscar Pistorius (L), accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, looks at his watch on the opening day of his trial at the High Court in Pretoria on March 3, 2014. Pistorius, 27, appeared in court and on television screens around the world to answer charges that he wilfully shot his gilfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead on Valentine's Day 2013 through a locked bathroom door at his home in the city, and faces a life sentence if convicted. AFP PHOTO / POOL / THEMBA HADEBE (Photo credit should read THEMBA HADEBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This Nov. 4, 2012 photo shows Oscar Pistorius and girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa. A lawyer for the family of Oscar Pistorius' slain girlfriend said Tuesday Aug. 20 2013, that representatives of the two families were in contact, possibly over an out-of-court settlement that would compensate Steenkamp's parents for her killing by the double-amputee Olympian, Pistorius. (AP Photo/City Press, Lucky Nxumalo) SOUTH AFRICA OUT
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 19: South African athlete Oscar Pistorius (L) prays with his sister Aimee Pistorius and brother Carl Pistorius prior to his indictment hearing in Pretoria Magistrates Court on August 19, 2013. Pistorius, 26 is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp which Pistorius denies claiming he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder. The indictment was served and the trial date of March 3, 2014 has now been set. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
The Gauteng ANC Women's League held a march on February 14, 2014 to the Pretoria Magistrates Court to commemorate South African model Reeva Steenkamp who was shot on this day a year ago by her boyfriend, Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius. Pistorius said on February 14 he was consumed with 'sorrow' as he marked one year since he shot dead his girlfriend on Valentine's Day in what he maintains was an accident. In a case that grabbed international headlines, the world-famous double amputee, 27, shot Reeva Steenkamp through his toilet door, claiming he mistook her for an intruder at his upmarket Pretoria home. AFP PHOTO/STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 19: South African athlete Oscar Pistorius (L) speaks with his lawyer Kenny Oldwage in Pretoria Magistrates Court prior to an indictment hearing on August 19, 2013 in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius, 26 is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp which Pistorius denies claiming he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder. The indictment was served and the trial date of March 3, 2014 has now been set. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 19: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Oscar Pistorius prays with sister Aimee and brother Carl before he appears in the Pretoria Magistrates court on August 19, 2013, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is accused of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp on February 14, 2013. He faces two charges, murder and contravention of the Firearms Control Act. The case has been postponed to March 2014. (Photo by Alet Pretorius/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 19: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Carl Pistorius, Oscar's brother, arrives at the Pretoria Magistrates court on August 19, 2013, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius is accused of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp on February 14, 2013. He faces two charges, murder and contravention of the Firearms Control Act. The case has been postponed to March 2014. (Photo by Herman Verwey/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 19: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Oscar Pistorius appears in the Pretoria Magistrates court on August 19, 2013, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is accused of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp on February 14, 2013. He faces two charges, murder and contravention of the Firearms Control Act. The case has been postponed to March 2014. (Photo by Alet Pretorius/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 19: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT)Oscar Pistorius arrives at the Pretoria Magistrates court on August 19, 2013, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is accused of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp on February 14, 2013. He faces two charges, murder and contravention of the Firearms Control Act. The case has been postponed to March 2014. (Photo by Herman Verwey/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 19: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Gina Meyers, Reeva Steenkamps close friend, in the Pretoria Magistrates court on August 19, 2013, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius is accused of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp on February 14, 2013. He faces two charges, murder and contravention of the Firearms Control Act. The case has been postponed to March 2014. (Photo by Alet Pretorius/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 19: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Oscar Pistorius prays with sister Aimee and brother Carl before he appears in the Pretoria Magistrates court on August 19, 2013, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is accused of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp on February 14, 2013. He faces two charges, murder and contravention of the Firearms Control Act. The case has been postponed to March 2014. (Photo by Alet Pretorius/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
A man walks by newspaper advertising placard marking the anniversary of the killing of South African model Reeva Steenkamp by her boyfriend, Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius on March 14, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Pistorius said on February 14 he was consumed with 'sorrow' as he marked one year since he shot dead his girlfriend on Valentine's Day in what he maintains was an accident. In a case that grabbed international headlines, the world-famous double amputee, 27, shot Reeva Steenkamp through his toilet door, claiming he mistook her for an intruder at his upmarket Pretoria home. AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (Photo credit should read GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2013 file photo, a mourner carries a program at the funeral for Reeva Steenkamp, portrait, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. A lawyer for the family of Oscar Pistorius' slain girlfriend said Tuesday Aug. 20 2013, that representatives of the two families were in contact, possibly over an out-of-court settlement that would compensate Reeva Steenkamp's parents for her killing by the double-amputee Olympian. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam, File)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA NOVEMBER 16: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Oscar Pistorius at the Canteen at Maboneng Precint on November 15, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The double amputee, who now spends most of his time with his family, said he was very doing well, although he sometimes gets anvious about his upcoming court case. (Photo by Johan Eybers/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
June Steenkamp (3rd R), mother of Reeva Steenkamp, attends the opening day of the trial of South African amputee Olympian sprinter Oscar Pistorius accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, at the High Court in Pretoria on March 3, 2014. Pistorius, 27, appeared in court and on television screens around the world to answer charges that he wilfully shot his gilfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead on Valentine's Day 2013 through a locked bathroom door at his home in the city, and faces a life sentence if convicted. AFP PHOTO / POOL / THEMBA HADEBE (Photo credit should read THEMBA HADEBE/AFP/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 20(SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Oscar Pistorius hugs his brother, Carl Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court on May 20, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is his' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. (Photo by Deaan Vivier/Foto24/Gallo Images - Pool /Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 20(SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Oscar Pistorius arrives at the Pretoria High Court on May 20, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is Pistorius' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. (Photo by Deaan Vivier/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 20(SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Oscar Pistorius talks to his brother, Carl Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court on May 20, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is his' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. (Photo by Deaan Vivier/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 14: Oscar Pistorius leaves North Gauteng High Court after the judge ordered that he should undergo mental evaluation on May 14, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Judge Thokozile Masipa has ordered Pistorius should undergo a mental evaluation as an out-patient at a clinic. Pistorius, aged 27, is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius denies the allegation claiming he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder inside their home on Valentines Day 2013. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 14: Oscar Pistorius leaves North Gauteng High Court after the judge ordered that he should undergo mental evaluation on May 14, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Judge Thokozile Masipa has ordered Pistorius should undergo a mental evaluation as an out-patient at a clinic. Pistorius, aged 27, is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius denies the allegation claiming he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder inside their home on Valentines Day 2013. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
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Mar 23, 8:54 AM EDT
By GERALD IMRAY
Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- Prosecutors at Oscar Pistorius' murder trial have presented a "golden thread" of evidence suggesting Reeva Steenkamp screamed before she died, leaving the double-amputee athlete with "serious questions" to answer and his defense likely hinging on his own testimony, a legal expert in South Africa said.

Three neighbors say they heard a woman scream before and during the deadly gunshots coming from Pistorius' home in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year. The pathologist who performed the autopsy on Steenkamp's body said it would have been "abnormal" for her not to scream from some of her injuries.

A police ballistics expert concluded that the first shot Pistorius fired through a toilet door hit Steenkamp in the hip and caused her to collapse, but didn't immediately kill her. The second shot missed. From the policeman's testimony, Steenkamp likely had time to yell out before she was hit by two more shots as she covered her head with her arms in a desperate attempt to protect herself.

"Suddenly what we have is Oscar Pistorius firing at Reeva Steenkamp while her hands are covering her head while she's screaming in the toilet, and that's murder," said Marius du Toit, a defense lawyer and former state prosecutor who says he has worked on at least 100 murder cases.

Du Toit, who is following the trial but not involved, said the prosecution has "definitely" made a case for murder against the Olympic runner for the fatal shooting of Steenkamp, and Pistorius' defense must now respond.

Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel has so far presented a specific line of evidence compellingly, du Toit said. Using the accounts of neighbors and backing them up with the expert opinion of pathologist Gert Saayman and police ballistics investigator Capt. Christiaan Mangena, Nel may have shown to the court that it was "reasonable" that Steenkamp screamed during the four shots fired at her, du Toit said.

"There's definitely a golden thread here," du Toit told The Associated Press in a telephone interview, using a courtroom term that refers to the prosecution's duty to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. "A golden thread of someone who was screaming and who was shot. The objective facts, which are the injuries she sustained, coupled with the expert opinion, tied with your circumstantial evidence presented by witnesses. And if that ties up with one another then Oscar has got a major problem."

Prosecutors say they will wrap up their case next week, the fourth week of the trial, by calling four or five more witnesses. The defense will then present its case. High court authorities in Gauteng province said in a statement Sunday that the trial will be halted for the week beginning April 7, and then resume from April 14 until May 16.

Pistorius, 27, was a celebrated track athlete who made history as the first amputee to run against able bodied runners at the Olympics after having his lower legs amputated as a baby because of a congenital condition. He now faces going to prison for 25 years to life if convicted of premeditated murder. If found guilty of murder without premeditation for killing Steenkamp, who was 29, Pistorius faces a minimum 15-year sentence.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by mistake believing she was an intruder in his home and has maintained throughout that he was the only person to scream, partly after realizing his tragic error.

In a court case being broadcast live on television to millions and followed by over 100 reporters at the Pretoria courthouse, Pistorius' chief defense lawyer, Barry Roux, has attracted attention for his cross-examination of prosecution witnesses, and his consistent criticism of an apparently flawed police investigation into the shooting in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14, 2013.

Du Toit identified two areas he believes will be crucial to Pistorius' defense: The world-famous runner's own testimony and evidence given by the defense's forensic and ballistics experts.

Defense lawyer Roux has made it clear that Pistorius' experts will offer another version regarding the shots that killed Steenkamp, arguing that Pistorius fired with "double-tap" bursts that gave Steenkamp no time to scream, and so Pistorius did not realize he was shooting at Steenkamp.

Du Toit also noted that police experts did not test if parts of Pistorius' story were plausible.

"So all they (the defense) have to do is say, `well you never bothered so we tested it and this is what we found," du Toit said.

But, ultimately, Pistorius has admitted killing Steenkamp and he is expected to explain his decision to fire four times into a small cubicle from close range. That will open him up to cross-examination by the prosecution.

"The only question is whether there was intent and intent is subjective," du Toit said. "That means the accused must come and dispel that. Oscar (testifying) is definitely going to be the key, but I wonder if it's going to be good for him."

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Gerald Imray is on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP

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