updated 03/25/2014 AT 12:05 PM ET
•originally published 03/25/2014 AT 12:30 PM ET
Oscar Pistorius, who is expected to testify in his murder trial at the end of the week, said Tuesday he’s going through “a tough time” in a rare comment after the prosecution closed its case against the double-amputee runner.
It is “likely” Pistorius will take the stand to open the defense’s case, said defense lawyer Brian Webber, adding there’s no specific requirement for him to testify first but it is normal practice.
“I don’t think we have a choice, it’s a question of when,” Webber said of Pistorius’s testimony, which legal experts describe as critical because the judge will have a chance to assess firsthand whether he is a credible witness. Judge Thokozile Masipa will deliver a ruling in the case, with the help of two assessors. There is no jury system in South Africa.
On Tuesday, Pistorius made brief comments to reporters after the court adjourned.
“It’s a tough time,” Pistorius said. “We’ve got a lot ahead of us.”
Pistorius is accused of premeditated murder for the death of Reeva Steenkamp, the girlfriend he shot through the closed door of a toilet cubicle last year.
Masipa adjourned the trial until Friday so that Roux could prepare his arguments that Pistorius, 27, killed the 29-year-old model by accident, thinking she was an intruder in his home.
Pistorius has sometimes reacted emotionally during the prosecution’s case, shedding tears this week during testimony of text messages that he and Steenkamp exchanged in the weeks before he killed her in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013. In earlier testimony, he retched and vomited at a pathologist’s descriptions of Steenkamp’s gunshot wounds. At other times, he has appeared calm, taking notes during testimony and conferring with his lawyers during breaks.