Pistorius murder trial to hear verdict Sept. 11

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Pistorius murder trial to hear verdict Sept. 11
South African Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius (C) leaves the High Court in Pretoria on 8 August 2014. A verdict in the high profile murder trial of sports star Oscar Pistorius has been set for September 11, after lawyers wrapped up five months of drama-filled proceedings on August 8. Eighteen months after Pistorius shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013, the star's fate now lies in the hands of South African Judge Thokozile Masipa. AFP PHOTO/MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA SEPTEMBER 4: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Oscar Pistorius arrives at his Uncle's house on September 4, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is currently awaiting the verdict on his murder trial. Judge Thokozile Masipa will deliver her verdict on September 11, 2014. (Photo by Waldo Swiegers/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 21:(SOUTH AFRICA OUT) A broken toilet seat from the bathroom where the Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on August 21, 2014 in the house in Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is currently awaiting the verdict on his murder trial. Judge Thokozile Masipa will deliver her verdict on September 11, 2014. (Photo by Waldo Swiegers/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 21:(SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Bullet holes on the tiles inside the bathroom where the Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on August 21, 2014 in the house in Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is currently awaiting the verdict on his murder trial. Judge Thokozile Masipa will deliver her verdict on September 11, 2014. (Photo by Waldo Swiegers/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 21:(SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Bullet holes on the tiles inside the bathroom where the Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on August 21, 2014 in the house in Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is currently awaiting the verdict on his murder trial. Judge Thokozile Masipa will deliver her verdict on September 11, 2014. (Photo by Waldo Swiegers/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 21:(SOUTH AFRICA OUT) An empty room in the house where the Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on August 21, 2014 in the house in Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is currently awaiting the verdict on his murder trial. Judge Thokozile Masipa will deliver her verdict on September 11, 2014. (Photo by Waldo Swiegers/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 21:(SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Inside the bathroom where the Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on August 21, 2014 in the house in Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is currently awaiting the verdict on his murder trial. Judge Thokozile Masipa will deliver her verdict on September 11, 2014. (Photo by Waldo Swiegers/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 8: Oscar Pistorius walks past Reeva Steenkamp's parents in the Pretoria High Court on August 8, 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 Herman Verwey - Pool/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA -AUGUST 8: OBarry Roux gives his closing arguments in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius in the Pretoria High Court on August 8, 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 Herman Verwey-Pool/Foto24/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA -AUGUST 8: Barry Roux gives his closing arguments in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius in the Pretoria High Court on August 8, 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 Herman Verwey-Pool/Foto24/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius leaves the Pretoria High Court at the end of the first of two days of concluding arguments on August 7, 2014. A South African prosecutor branded Pistorius 'deceitful' and insisted the Paralympian cannot avoid a conviction for murdering his glamorous model girlfriend, as the state closed its case against him. AFP PHOTO/MuJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA -AUGUST 8: Oscar Pistorius talks to a member of his defence team, Brian Webber in the Pretoria High Court on August 8, 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 Herman Verwey - Pool/Foto24/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA -AUGUST 7: Oscar Pistorius during his murder trial in the Pretoria High Court on August 7, 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 Werner Beukes/Independent Newspapers/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
South African paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius gestures during the presentation of the final arguments of his murder trial at the high court in Pretoria on August 7, 2014. Pistorius is accused of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who was fatally shot inside his home. AFP PHOTO/ POOL/MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius leaves the Pretoria High Court at the end of the first of two days of concluding arguments on August 7, 2014. A South African prosecutor branded Pistorius 'deceitful' and insisted the Paralympian cannot avoid a conviction for murdering his glamorous model girlfriend, as the state closed its case against him. AFP PHOTO/MuJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius leaves the Pretoria High Court at the end of the first of two days of concluding arguments on August 7, 2014. A South African prosecutor branded Pistorius 'deceitful' and insisted the Paralympian cannot avoid a conviction for murdering his glamorous model girlfriend, as the state closed its case against him. AFP PHOTO/MuJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
South African paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius attends the presentation of the final arguments of his murder trial at the high court in Pretoria on August 7, 2014. Pistorius is accused of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who was fatally shot inside his home. AFP PHOTO/ POOL/MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
South African paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius blows his nose during the presentation of the final arguments of his murder trial at the high court in Pretoria on August 7, 2014. Pistorius is accused of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who was fatally shot inside his home. AFP PHOTO POOL/MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 7 (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Oscar Pistorius's father, Henke Pistorius leaves the Pretoria High Court on August 7, 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. Closing arguements begin today. (Photo by Herman Verwey/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 7 (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Barry Steenkamp, Reeva Steenkamp's father arrives at the Pretoria High Court on August 7, 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. Closing arguements begin today. (Photo by Herman Verwey/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
South African paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius (C) arrives to take part in a hearing of his murder trial at the high court in Pretoria on August 7 2014. Pistorius is accused of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who was fatally shot inside his home. AFP PHOTO/MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA -AUGUST 7: Oscar Pistorius during his murder trial in the Pretoria High Court on August 7, 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 Werner Beukes/Independent Newspapers/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
Oscar Pistorius listens to evidence being given in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, April 15, 2014 after questioning by state prosecutor Gerrie Nel, had earlier finished. Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Alon Skuy, Pool)
Oscar Pistorius puts on his jacket as he arrives at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, April 11, 2014. The chief prosecutor laughed scornfully at an answer from Pistorius during the Olympic athlete's murder trial Thursday, mocking the man who shot his girlfriend. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
The bullet-riddled toilet door through which Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Sttenkamp is exhibited in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, April 14, 2014. The chief prosecutor in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius on Monday accused him of tailoring his version of how he killed his girlfriend to fit evidence at the scene, exhaustively listing alleged inconsistencies in the athlete's account of the fatal shooting of Reeva Steenkamp. (AP Photo/Antoine de Ras, Pool)
South African chief state prosecutor Gerrie Nel questions Oscar Pistorius in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, April 14, 2014. A judge temporarily adjourned the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius after the athlete started to sob while testifying about the moments before he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home last year. (AP Photo/Antoine de Ras, Pool)
South African chief state prosecutor Gerrie Nel gestures as he explains a possible scenario into how Oscar Pistorius might have fired on girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, April 14, 2014. A judge temporarily adjourned the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius after the athlete started to sob while testifying about the moments before he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home last year. (AP Photo/Antoine de Ras, Pool)
Sister of Oscar Pistorius Aimee Pistorius, center, attends his murder trial as chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel questions Oscar Pistorius in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, April 14, 2014. Pistorius who is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013, is being cross-examined at his trial for the fourth day by Nel. (AP Photo/Kim Ludbrook, Pool)
Oscar Pistorius arrives at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, April 9, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Oscar Pistorius leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, April 9, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for shooting dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
State prosecutor Gerrie Nel during cross questioning of Oscar Pistorius, in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, April 9, 2014. Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Siphiwe Sibeko, Pool)
Lois and Arnold Pistorius, aunt and uncle of South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, cry as he testifies during his ongoing murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa, on April 8, 2014. Star Paralympian Oscar Pistorius returned to the witness box at his murder trial on April 8, insisting he and girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp had a loving relationship and saw a future together before he shot her dead on Valentine's Day. AFP PHOTO / POOL / KIM LUDBROOK (Photo credit should read KIM LUDBROOK/AFP/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 9: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Gina Myers, Reeva Steenkamp's best friend, is overcome with emotion as she listens to Oscar Pistorius' testimony in the Pretoria High Court on April 9, 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 Sydney Seshibedi - Pool/Getty Images)
Oscar Pistorius leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, March 25, 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 hops into the car as a police offer watches the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, March 25, 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 leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, March 24, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Oscar Pistorius, left, with a relative leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, March 24, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 11 (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Oscar Pistorius arrives at the Pretoria High Court on April 11, 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 Deaan Vivier/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 11 (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Oscar Pistorius arrives at the Pretoria High Court on April 11, 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 Deaan Vivier/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA -AUGUST 7: scar Pistorius's defence lawyer Barry Roux in the Pretoria High Court on August 7, 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 Werner Beukes/Independent Newspapers/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius (L) reads notes during the lunch break on the first of two days of concluding arguments at the Pretoria High Court on August 7, 2014. A South African prosecutor branded Pistorius 'deceitful' and insisted the Paralympian cannot avoid a conviction for murdering his glamorous model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, as the state closed its case against him. AFP PHOTO/POOL/MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius attends the first of two days of concluding arguments at the Pretoria High Court on August 7, 2014. A South African prosecutor branded Pistorius 'deceitful' and insisted the Paralympian cannot avoid a conviction for murdering his glamorous model girlfriend, as the state closed its case against him. AFP PHOTO/POOL/MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA -AUGUST 8: Oscar Pistorius's family in the Pretoria High Court on August 8, 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 Herman Verwey-Pool/Foto24/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
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By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA and GERALD IMRAY

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - As Oscar Pistorius' lawyer put it Friday, the murder trial of the double-amputee athlete comes down to a sliver of time - the seconds before he fired four gunshots through a closed toilet door and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

The world will have to wait another month to hear a verdict in a globally televised five-month trial whose blend of shock and celebrity, framed by the rise and fall of a role model-turned-murder suspect, has transfixed people far beyond South Africa's borders.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said at the end of two days of final arguments that she will give a verdict on Sept. 11, signaling the approaching end of a trial that has had several delays, including one break for an evaluation of Pistorius' state of mind. Earlier, in monologues that lasted for hours, chief lawyers for both sides gave their clashing versions of what happened at the Olympic runner's Pretoria home in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

Pistorius has said he mistakenly shot Steenkamp through the closed door of a toilet cubicle, thinking there was an intruder in his home. The prosecution alleges the athlete intentionally killed her after an argument.

After the court adjourned, a rare message appeared on the once-active Twitter account of Pistorius, who last tweeted in July after an altercation with another man at a nightclub last month that his own family acknowledged was the result of poor judgment on his part. Friday's message read:

"Thank you to my loved ones and those that have been there for me, who have picked me up and helped me through everything."

Pistorius, who has been free on bail, sat calmly on a bench Friday behind his lawyer. He wore glasses, mostly looking straight ahead.

Masipa will decide with the help of two legal assistants whether Pistorius, 27, is guilty of premeditated murder, for which he could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted. He could also be convicted of a lesser murder charge or negligent killing, both of which call for years in jail. The judge could acquit him if she believes he made a tragic error.

South Africa does not have a jury system. Nor does it have the death penalty.

"It comes down to that split second, that one minute or 20 seconds, I don't know how long it was, or 30 seconds in the accused's life where he was standing at the entrance to the bathroom, firearm pointed at the door," defense lawyer Barry Roux said. "That is what this case is all about."

Roux argued the killing was an accident and said Pistorius' disability had made him particularly vulnerable and anxious about crime over the years, comparing him to a victim of abuse who kills an abuser after a long period of suffering. Pistorius had his lower legs amputated as a baby, and Roux said that the athlete's long-held fear of being attacked with the disability played a central role in the shooting on Feb. 14, 2013.

At one point Friday, Roux slammed his hand onto a desk in the Pretoria courtroom to mimic a sudden sound he says the disabled athlete heard during the fatal night, startling him and causing him to open fire.

"You're anxious. You're trained as an athlete to react ... He stands now with his finger on the trigger ready to fire," Roux said, describing the allegedly fearful mindset of Pistorius when he killed Steenkamp.

Pistorius pleaded not guilty to the main murder charge and also three separate firearm charges. Roux, however, conceded that he was guilty in one of those firearm charges, of negligently firing a gun in a public place in a restaurant weeks before he killed Steenkamp. Prosecutors have used those firearm charges to paint Pistorius as a hothead who was obsessed with guns, not the vulnerable figure described by his legal team.

Roux also alleged that items in Pistorius' bedroom, near the bathroom where he killed Steenkamp, may have been moved around by investigating officers, repeating the defense's allegation that police tampered with evidence, albeit unintentionally.

The positioning of bedroom items, including a fan, a bedcover and a pair of Steenkamp's jeans, are important because, in police photographs, they were not in the places where Pistorius said they were before the shooting. Prosecutors have used this to argue Pistorius is lying to hide a murder.

Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel has urged the judge to dismiss Pistorius' story as a set of lies.

In final arguments Thursday, Nel accused the once-celebrated Paralympic champion of being an "appalling witness" who was constantly "deceitful" during his testimony to try to cover up a murder after a quarrel with Steenkamp.

On Friday, Nel gave a brief rebuttal to the defense' final remarks.

"The accused intended to kill a human being," he said. "There must be consequences."

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