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Pistorius trial to hear verdict Sept 11

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.
 
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.

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

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.

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.
 
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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Imray reported from Stellenbosch, South Africa.
 
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