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Oscar Pistorius Sentenced to Six Years for Reeva Steenkamp’s Murder
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Oscar Pistorius. Photo courtesy of ABC News.

Summary: Famed South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to six years in prison.

Today, Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to six years in prison for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend, model and lawyer Reeva Steenkamp. Although the athlete’s legal team pressed for a light sentence, Judge Thokozile Masipa said that a prison sentence was important to show “deterrence and retribution.”


Related: Lawyers: Oscar Pistorius Too “Broken” to Serve More Jail Time

Pistorius’ lawyers had argued that he was mentally unwell and could not serve any more time locked up. They pushed for a non-custodial sentence that included management workshops and community service, Cosmopolitan reported, but Judge Masipa appeared to scoff at what she sarcastically called a “noble gesture.” Unlike Judge Aaron Perler of the Brock Turner rape case, Judge Masipa wanted to send a message that punishment must be painful and not something one can choose for himself.

However, Masipa did want to stress that the court had a duty to correct Pistorius’ image of being a cold-blooded killer. She wanted the public to know the shooting of Steenkamp was unintentional in order “to prevent unjustified outrage from the public.”

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In South Africa, the usual minimum sentence for murder is 15 years in prison, but Judge Masipa showed some leniency by lessening Pistorius’ time to six years. She believed that Pistorius was genuinely remorseful and that he had killed his girlfriend only because he thought she was an intruder.

Related: Oscar Pistorius Sickened after Photos of Bloody Scene in Bathroom Shown in Court

On Valentine’s Day in 2013, Pistorius fired shots into his bathroom door in the wee hours between late at night and early morning, believing his home was invaded. Sadly, his girlfriend, Steenkamp, was the one in the bathroom, and she was shot multiple times.

Pistorius was originally convicted of culpable homicide but later a Supreme Court changed the charge to murder, a harsher conviction.

CNN reported that one prosecutor stated Pistorius and his girlfriend had argued earlier that evening, painting the shooting as motivated instead of accidental. However, the judge said there was no indication of abuse between the two nor proof of an argument.

Whatever happened, there was only one thing that was certain—Pistorius shot the gun that killed Steenkamp.

Before the death of Steenkamp, Pistorius was a Paralympic superstar. At the age of 11, he had his legs amputated, and as an athlete he was known as “Blade Runner” because of his prosthetics.

Pistorius’ team said they will not appeal this decision.

Do you think Pistorius deserved his sentence? Let us know in the comments below.


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