Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pistorius: I'm Selling My Home To Pay Trial Costs

The upscale home where Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year is going up for sale, according to a statement posted on his website Thursday.

The double-amputee sprinter who earned the nickname "Blade Runner" hasn't returned to the Pretoria, South Africa, house since February 14, 2013, and he "cannot contemplate ever returning to live there again," according to his website.

Pistorius is now making the decision to sell the home in order to pay his mounting legal bills. The Olympian is currently on trial in South Africa, accused of premeditated murder in Steenkamp's death. Pistorius has pleaded not guilty and says he accidentally shot his girlfriend after mistaking her for an intruder. Prosecutors, however, allege that Pistorius intentionally shot through his bathroom door, killing Steenkamp, after the two engaged in a heated argument.

Monday will mark the start of the fourth week of his murder trial. Prosecutors asked for court to adjourn Thursday and Friday so they could re-examine their case before calling their last few witnesses next week.

Pistorius' decision to sell "is due to the unexpected extension of the trial beyond the initial three-week period for which it was originally set down," according to the statement. "It is important to note that Mr. Pistorius has been funding his own defence [sic] from the outset. Due to the delay in finalising [sic] the trial, the decision to urgently dispose of his single biggest asset, has had to be made."

Pistorius was originally banned from visiting the home as part of his bail conditions. After authorities eventually handed the home back over to Pistorius, "a decision was taken to keep the house sealed until after the trial," according to his website. "He has been forced to revisit this decision due to the reasons outlined in this statement."

Once the prosecution rests its case -- a move that's expected to take place early next week -- Pistorius' defense team will likely ask for the case to be thrown out or "discharged." If the judge decides to move forward with the trial, Pistorius may then take the stand in his own defense.

Pistorius faces life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder.