Oscar Pistorius Jailed For 6 Years For Girlfriends Murder
1.Pistorius murdered his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14, 2013
2.Pistorius had pleaded not guilty to murder in 2014
3.Pistorius was first double amputee to run in Olympics
4.Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to six years in prison for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
South African Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius was on Wednesday sentenced six years in jail for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, bringing the curtain down on a trial that gripped the world.
“Public opinion may be loud and persistent, but it can play no role in the decision of this court,” High Court judge Thokozile Masipa said in her ruling.
Dressed in a dark suit, the 29-year-old hugged members of his legal team in the packed Pretoria court room, before being sentenced.
Pistorius was found guilty of murdering Steenkamp by an appeals court last December. He had initially received a five-year sentence for a manslaughter conviction in 2014, a ruling derided by women’s groups as too lenient.
The athlete had the lower part of his legs amputated when he was a baby and his lawyers have argued that his disability and mental stress should be considered as mitigating circumstances to reduce his sentence.
The state said that he had shown no remorse and has called for him to receive no less than the minimum 15-year sentence for murder.
Pistorius was freed from prison last October after almost a year behind bars to serve out the remainder of his term under house arrest at his uncle’s house in a wealthy suburb of the capital.
Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to six years in prison for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp :
Pistorius stood and faced Judge Thokozile Masipa as she announced the sentence in a South African courtroom on Wednesday.
Pistorius was facing a possible 15-year jail term for shooting Steenkamp through a toilet cubicle door at his home in 2013, but Masipa said substantial and compelling circumstances existed in the double-amputee Olympic runner’s case to give him a lesser sentence.
Steenkamp’s parents, Barry and June, were present in the courtroom, which was packed with relatives of both Pistorius and Steenkamp and other observers.
In reading out the sentence, Judge Masipa said Pistorius was a “fallen hero.”
The judge ordered a recess to give prosecutors and Pistorius’ defense lawyers time to decide if either wanted to appeal the sentence.
Judge Thokozile Masipa began with the background to her decision of Pistorius’ sentence. The double-amputee Olympian faces a possible 15-year jail term for shooting Steenkamp in 2013, although Masipa can give a reduced sentence if she believes there are compelling circumstances to be lenient.
Masipa asked Pistorius to sit on his wooden bench in the Pretoria courtroom on Wednesday while she explained the reasons for her decision.
“It now remains for this court to impose an appropriate sentence,” Masipa said.
The judge said she would consider a variety of factors, including the interests of society and those of the victims, as well as themes of crime deterrence and rehabilitation of perpetrators.
Steenkamp’s parents, Barry and June, sat on the other side of the courtroom, which was packed with journalists and other observers.
Pistorius appeared calm and looked straight ahead at the judge as she read from her notes.
Pistorius was initially acquitted of Steenkamp’s murder by Masipa at a trial in 2014. He served a year in jail for manslaughter but his conviction was changed to murder by South Africa’s Supreme Court last year.
Pistorius shot Steenkamp through a toilet cubicle door at his home, and claimed he mistook her for an intruder. Prosecutors said the athlete killed his girlfriend intentionally after an argument.
The fact that the killing was purportedly a mistake, in Pistorius’ account, “does not in any way make the offense any less serious,” Masipa said Wednesday.
Masipa also noted testimony by defense witnesses during sentencing hearings that Pistorius was suffering from mental problems and was effectively a “broken man,” after the killing, and that he wanted to give back to society by assisting underprivileged children in sports programs at a number of South African schools.
Masipa also delved into Pistorius’ childhood, recalling defense testimony that his mother’s reported anxiety over crime made him anxious as well, and that her death when he was a teenager left him feeling abandoned. She also commented on the year he spent in jail after initially being convicted of manslaughter. She said Pistorius now has an aversion to guns, a dramatic contrast to the fact that he used to avidly collect firearms before he killed Steenkamp.