VOANEWS: 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.

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