JOHANNESBURG – The police investigation into Oscar Pistorius' killing of his girlfriend on Valentine's Day won't be completed until August, prosecutors said Saturday, ahead of the double-amputee Olympian's first court appearance in nearly four months.
The National Prosecuting Authority said in a statement that it was "content with the progress thus far" of the investigation, which will have taken nearly six months by the time the state is ready to proceed with Pistorius' murder trial.
Pistorius will return to Courtroom C at Pretoria Magistrate's Court on June 4. He is expected to appear for only 10 minutes, but will give the world its first view of him since bail was granted on Feb. 22 in a hearing that lasted nearly a week and during which he cut a broken, sobbing figure as details of the shooting were aired.
The NPA expects the June 4 proceedings to be "a mere postponement" ahead of another date in August. Meanwhile, police investigators continue to collect and scrutinize evidence and identify and interview possible witnesses to Pistorius' shooting of Reeva Steenkamp at his upscale home in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14.
Since Pistorius left public view, whisked away from the court building in the back seat of an SUV with darkened windows, his defense team has successfully appealed some of his bail restrictions. He has been living at the house of his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, in an upmarket Pretoria suburb that is not far from the gated community in which he fired the shots through a toilet door that killed Steenkamp.
Pistorius denies murdering Steenkamp, claiming he mistook her for a nighttime intruder. The state says he killed the 29-year-old model and law graduate intentionally following a fight and charged the multiple Paralympic champion with premeditated murder.
But while Pistorius has been finding ways to cope "with his sense of isolation," according to a statement by his family, he faces a life sentence in prison if found guilty.
"We as the National Prosecuting Authority are content with the progress thus far on the currently continuing investigations," the NPA said, "and we anticipate ... the investigations shall be wrapped up by or before August 2013."
The NPA said the hearing would be presided over by Acting Chief Magistrate Daniel Thulare, who is not the same magistrate from the bail application.
There have been only two reported sightings of Pistorius in public since he was freed: an image of him on his carbon fiber blades walking on his practice running track, and a visit to a Johannesburg restaurant.
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