Pistorius Murder Trial Delayed Until April 7

The murder trial of South African runner Oscar Pistorius has been delayed because one of the legal experts assisting the judge is sick.

Pistorius was expected to testify Friday, the day his defense lawyers were due to begin presenting their case.

But Judge Thokozile Masipa said one of her assessors is ill, and announced the trial would resume on April 7 after a scheduled break next week.

Under the South African legal system, the judge has two experts that help the court reach a decision.

Earlier this week, prosecutors wrapped up their case against Pistorius, who is accused of intentionally killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his home in Pretoria last year.

The Olympic athlete shot the 29-year-old law graduate and model through a locked bathroom door. He says he thought he was shooting at an intruder.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to charges of premeditated murder and three firearm-related counts.

If convicted, he faces 25 years to life in prison.

Pistorus is known as the “blade runner” for his carbon-fiber prosthetic legs. He was the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics at the 2012 games in London.

Oscar Pistorius consults with his legal team in court in Pretoria, March 28, 2014.

Oscar Pistorius covers his head with his hands and a notebook as he listens to forensic evidence during his trial in court in Pretoria, March 13, 2014.

A family friend of the late Reeva Steenkamp holds a portrait of Steenkamp as she attends the trial of Oscar Pistorius in Pretoria, March 13, 2014.

Oscar Pistorius, walks with his legal team towards the high court in Pretoria, March 12, 2014.

Forensic investigator Johannes Vermeulen, with a cricket bat in hand, demonstrates how Oscar Pistorius could have broken down the bathroom door, Pretoria, March 12, 2014.

Members of the public crowd around Oscar Pistorius as he leaves the high court, Pretoria, March 12, 2014.

Oscar Pistorius cries as he prays with his sister Aimee and brother Carl at his indictment at the magistrates court in Pretoria, August 19, 2013.

This aerial image taken from video provided by VNS247 shows the home of Oscar Pistorius in a gated housing complex in Pretoria, Feb. 14, 2013.

Olympian sprinter Oscar Pistorius posing next to his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, Jan. 26, 2013.

Oscar Pistorius celebrates winning the men’s 400 meter final during the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Sept. 8, 2012.

Source : Voice of America