The live broadcast of Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius' murder trial may have scared off potential witnesses for the Blade Runner, his lawyer said today while ending the spectacular trial's testimony.
Pistorius, 27, is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in a pre-dawn shooting at his home on Valentine's Day last year. Prosecutors claim he fired four shots at his model girlfriend as she was cowering behind a locked bathroom door during a loud argument. Pistorius denies intentionally killing Steenkamp, saying he thought there was an intruder hiding in his house.
The defense closed its case today but defense lawyer Barry Roux told the court, "We were unable to call a number of witnesses because they refused, and didn't want their voices heard all over the world." Roux said there was nothing the defense could do to change their minds. He did not identify those witnesses to the court.
The prosecution will file its final argument on July 30, and Pistorius' legal team will file their final arguments on Aug. 4. The two sides will deliver those arguments orally in a courtroom showdown on Aug. 7 and 8. Judge Thokozile Masipa will indicate when she will hand down her verdict.
Before adjourning the trial, the judge made an order that the written arguments may not be published before they have been heard in court.
The trial has featured a very emotional Pistorius who has cried, sobbed, prayed and vomited in court during the sometimes graphic testimony. Besides the murder charge, Pistorius also faces several gun charges.
If convicted of the most serious charge, Pistorius could face at least 25 years in prison.
South Africa does not have a jury system and the trial judge, assisted by two assessors, will determine whether Pistorius is guilty or innocent.