September 29, 2014
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - Double amputee Olympian Oscar Pistorius began his murder trial in South Africa today by pleading not guilty.
He says he killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, by accident, in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day last year, thinking she was an intruder.
The first witness, a neighbor, testified to hearing "blood-curdling" screams before the sound of four gunshots.
Prosecutors say they will seek a life sentence if Pistorius is convicted, the sternest punishment available in South Africa, which does not have the death penalty.
If convicted on the murder charge, Pistorius could be sent to prison for at least 25 years before the chance of parole, the minimum time someone must serve if given a life sentence in South Africa.
He would be older than 50 before he could be released.
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