The Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has been found guilty of culpable homicide on Friday, for the fatal shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, just a day after the judge cleared him of murder.
With this new verdict, Pistorius could receive anything from 15 years in prison to a suspended sentence. This would potentially allow the double-amputee athlete a chance to resurrect his career.
Judge Thokozile Masipa, known for her strict sentencing, ordered Pistorius to stand as she delivered the verdict, as 27-year-old Pistorius stood with his hands folded in front of him. Steenkamp’s parents, Barry and June, were at the court with other family member sitting in the front row of the public gallery. After the verdict, Pistorius turned to his family.
Masipa made it clear that the state did not have to prove a motive for murder; however, there was no evidence to say that Pistorius wanted to kill Steenkamp.
She said that it was clear that Pistorius acted unlawfully in opening fire at his home, but the evidence for the murder charge was “purely circumstantial.”
As she convicted Pistorius, the judge said he had acted negligently when he shot Steenkamp: “A reasonable person, with a similar disability, would have foreseen that the person behind the door would be killed, and the accused failed to take action to avoid this.”
South Africa’s prosecuting authority said that it was “disappointed with the verdict.”
Asked if the Steenkamp family was disappointed by the outcome, their lawyer Dup de Bruyn said that they had no comment at that moment.
Regarding the tragic deed he’d done, Pistorius said that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he shot four times through a locked bathroom door, which resulted in her almost instant death.
He was also cleared on two unrelated firearms charges: “of firing a firearm through a sunroof and of illegal possession of ammunition,” but he was found guilty on a third charge of “illegally discharging a firearm” in a crowded restaurant in January 2013, weeks before the tragedy occurred.
Pistorius was granted bail. The court will resume for sentencing on October 13th.