Pistorius: How the verdict will be delivered

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Pistorius: How the verdict will be delivered
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 GERALD IMRAY

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - Guilty or not guilty? The verdict in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial will not be delivered so simply.

Judge Thokozile Masipa will first recount and analyze the evidence given by each of the nearly 40 witnesses in the criminal case that captured considerable international attention. The verdict on whether Pistorius intentionally killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp is expected to take hours, maybe days.

And if there are any convictions on the four charges Pistorius faces - murder and three unrelated firearm charges - sentences will only be decided later at a separate hearing.

Here's a look at how it might unfold.

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VERDICT PROCESS

Because South Africa has no trial by jury, Judge Masipa must show why she and her two legal assessors reached their decision on each count. The process will likely take most of Thursday's court session and might run into Friday.

The judge will give a summary of the testimony of all 37 witnesses. Masipa will then give her assessment of each witness - including Pistorius - and what was accepted or rejected from their testimony. Then, she will give a summary of her own findings based on how she interpreted the evidence and how it ties in with the law. Finally, she will pronounce Pistorius guilty or not guilty on the charges: Murder, two charges of unlawfully shooting a gun in public in unrelated incidents and one count of illegal possession of ammunition.

Pistorius will likely be asked to stand while the judgment is read out.

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POSSIBLE VERDICTS

Murder: If Pistorius is convicted of murder - of intentionally killing Steenkamp - the judge will explain if she found it was with premeditation, as prosecutors argue, or not. There is a longer prison term for premeditated or pre-planned murder.

Culpable homicide: If Pistorius is acquitted of murder, which he pleaded not guilty to, he still faces a culpable homicide or negligent killing charge even though it isn't on the indictment. That's because the double-amputee Olympic runner shot Steenkamp and must also be judged on whether he acted negligently in her death, even if it's found he didn't intend to kill her.

Acquitted: Pistorius could be acquitted of both murder and culpable homicide if the judge finds he had no intention to kill and also acted reasonably.

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WILL PISTORIUS REMAIN FREE ON BAIL?

If convicted, Pistorius would likely remain free on bail until sentencing because he has been out on bail during the trial, legal expert Marius du Toit said. However, that's not guaranteed and the judge could order Pistorius be taken into custody. A defendant's bail expires on conviction, meaning Masipa must make a new ruling on bail if Pistorius is convicted.

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SENTENCING: A SECOND TRIAL

If there is any conviction, prosecutors and Pistorius' defense lawyers will have the chance to present witnesses in a separate sentencing hearing before Masipa decides if and how long Pistorius goes to prison. In what amounts to a second trial, prosecutors could call members of Steenkamp's family, maybe her mother and father, to testify for sentencing. Defense lawyers might call psychiatrists to argue for a lighter sentence.

Premeditated murder calls for a life sentence in prison with a minimum of 25 years before the chance of parole in South Africa, which does not have the death penalty. Murder without pre-planning has a minimum of 15 years in prison.

Culpable homicide has five years if a gun is used, but this can be increased or decreased depending on circumstances. For example, the fact that Pistorius fired multiple times into a small space and didn't fire a warning shot first could count against him.

The three unrelated firearm charges Pistorius faces usually carry fines or suspended sentences on conviction.

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APPEAL

Du Toit said an appeal is "extremely likely" and predicts that Pistorius would probably appeal if he is given any jail time. An appeal can only happen after sentencing. Pistorius could appeal against a conviction, against a sentence, or against both. The possibility is one of the reasons why Judge Masipa must be so thorough in the verdict she reads out on Thursday.

"The appeal courts start by reading her judgment," Du Toit said.

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