File: Oscar Pistorius bows his head in prayer at the Magistrate's Court in Pretoria on February 22, 2013
JOHANNESBURG - Judge Thokozile Masipa will preside over the Oscar Pistorius trial scheduled to begin in March in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
Masipa worked earlier in her career as a crime reporter for the Sowetan newspaper. In the course of her reporting, she developed an interest in the legal system and studied law.
According to eNCA legal journalist Karyn Maughan, Masipa has a “reputation for fairness and decency”.
Masipa, who has served as a judge for 16 years, was the second black woman appointed to the Transvaal bench.
Pistorius is facing murder charges after shooting and fatally wounding girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine&39;s Day 2013.
Pistorius admits to shooting Steenkamp through a closed door, but claims he believed she was a potentially dangerous intruder.
Pistorius will also face two additional firearms-related charges.
The initial indictment lists 107 witnesses to testify for the State, including Pistorius&39;s sister Aimee, his uncle Arnold, former police investigator Hilton Botha, and residents of the Silver Woods Country Estate in Pretoria, where Steenkamp was killed.
A number of expert witnesses, including forensic and medical experts, will also be called to testify.