The trial of double-amputee Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius on charges of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp will begin on March 3, 2014, a judge ruled on Monday.

Judge Desmond Nair, in coordination with defence lawyers and the prosecution, set the trial to run through March 20 next year at a High Court in Pretoria.

Pistorius, who shed tears as he prayed with his brother Carl and sister Aimee while awaiting the start of the hearing, was handed the eight-page indictment sheet during the brief court session.

The athlete stands accused of premeditated murder and the illegal possession of ammunition.

“The accused did unlawfully and intentionally kill a person, to wit, Reeva Steenkamp,” according to the formal charge.

Pistorius is accused of using his 9mm gun to shoot four rounds at Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door at his upmarket home in Pretoria on February 14.

The athlete admits he shot her, but says he mistook her for an intruder.

State prosecutors plan to call 107 witnesses, according to the indictment.

“We are confident the case will run smoothly,” said Medupi Simasiku, spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority.

If found guilty of premeditated murder, Pistorius could face life sentence. He will be tried by a single judge, as the country does not use a jury system.