Oscar Pistorius murder trial to begin

GERALD IMRAY Associated Press Published:

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) -- The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius, set to open Monday, marks the start of a dramatic new chapter in the life of the double-amputee athlete who ran at the Olympics and became a global star before he shot his girlfriend to death last year.

Prosecutors charged the 27-year-old Pistorius with the premeditated murder of Reeva Steenkamp. They 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.