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Oscar Pistorius Guilty of Culpable Homicide
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Oscar Pistorius Guilty of Culpable Homicide

Summary: Olympian Oscar Pistorius has been found guilty of culpable homicide, a South African court rules. Pistorius was found not guilty of murder on Thursday.

Although a judge found Oscar Pistorius, 27, not guilty of the premeditated murder of his 29-year-old girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the Olympian has been found guilty of culpable homicide, which is the South African equivalent of the United States’ negligent killing. A person is found guilty of the crime in South Africa if it is proven that the person unintentionally, but unlawfully, killed a person.

  
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Sentencing will begin on October 13, CNN reports. Judge Thokozile Masipa granted Pistorius bail after the ruling. The maximum sentence for the crime is fifteen years, but Kelly Phelps, legal analyst for CNN, said those convicted usually serve five to eight years. There is no minimum sentence for the crime.

Pistorius also faced three other weapons-related charges. He was found not guilty of two, which involved his shooting a gun out of a sunroof and illegally possessing ammunition, which was recovered from his home. He was found guilty of a crime involving a shooting at a restaurant, for which Pistorius could serve up to five years in prison. However, he could receive a lighter punishment, such as losing his gun license or having to pay a fine.

Arnold Pistorius, Oscar’s uncle, said that he was relieved after the ruling, but that no one truly won. “It won’t bring Reeva back, but our hearts still go out for her family and friends.”

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As for the additional charges, Judge Masipa opine that the state did not prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt, and that the state’s witnesses were not persuasive since they told different versions of the events that took place. Regarding the ammunition charges, Masipa said the state did not introduce evidence to show Pistorius intended to possess the ammunition. Pistorius’ position is that he was storing it in a safe for his father. However, the state did prove its case for the restaurant incident, showing that he should not have handled a weapon on the premises.

Masipa had ruled that PIstorius did not intend to kill his girlfriend. She agreed with his testimony that he thought there was an intruder in the home. Pistorius never denied firing a gun that night, but he swore it was a horrible mistake. The judge ruled that by grabbing his weapon and moving in on the threat, Pistorius had “acted too hastily and used excessive force.” The judge added that “his conduct was negligent” and was not what a reasonable person would do in the same circumstances—not even a disabled person.



The defense had argued that Pistorius was raised to fear crime, since his mother was “paranoid and always carried a firearm,” but Masipa said that was no excuse. “The accused had reasonable time to reflect, to think and to conduct himself reasonably,” she declared.

On Thursday, the judge had found Pistorius not guilty of murder. The state had failed to show that Pistorius argued with Steenkamp on the night of the shooting, and that Pistorius had supposedly shot her in a rage. Neighbors who testified were not convincing, as their stories did not match phone records that were presented. She added, “Technology is more reliable than human perception and human memory.” She also felt that the media coverage had confused some witnesses.

The judge also dismissed other allegations from the state, such as that Steenkamp took her phone with her and locked herself in the bathroom out of fear, that the couple had texted back and forth during some tough times in their relationship, and that stomach contents showed Steenkamp may have eaten later than Pistorius claimed.

Pistorius cried quietly during the reading of the verdict.

Photo credit: independent.co.uk

 



 

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