Oscar Pistorius sentenced to six years in prison for girlfriend’s murder
Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to six years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013.
Pistorius killed Steenkamp, a law student and model, by shooting multiple times through a bathroom door in his home. He later claimed he mistook her for a home invader.
Pistorius spent the last few months living under house arrest in his uncle’s mansion after initially serving one year of a five-year prison sentence for manslaughter. The manslaughter conviction was overturned last year by South Africa's Supreme Court, which instead convicted Pistorius of murder, a much more serious charge.
The minimum sentence for murder in South Africa is 15 years in prison, but Judge Thokozile Masipa was able to reduce that number, which is what Pistorius’s legal team was hoping for.
Masipa explained he showed leniency to Pistorius because there was compelling evidence he was unlikely to commit another crime, was a good candidate for rehabilitation and showed genuine remorse over Steenkamp’s death.
“He’s a fallen hero, he has lost his career and he is ruined financially,” Masipa said, according to the Associated Press.
A psychologist had evaluated Pistorius and diagnosed him with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder during last year’s trial and as recent as last month. Pistorius was visibly emotional and sick as the trial and hearings took place.
Prosecutors have not said whether they will appeal for a longer sentence, but a spokesperson for the Pistorius family said the family accepted the sentence. Pistorius can apply for parole in three years.
Pistorius’s first television interview since the shooting is expected to air later this month. He will give his account of what happened that night.
Pistorius was the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics, making the semifinal round of the men's 400 meters at London 2012.