Oscar Pistorius Guilty of Culpable Homicide in Reeva Steenkamp Killing
In her lengthy review that began Thursday, Judge Thokozile Masipa found Pisotirus not guilty of murder and premeditated murder.
On Friday, she ordered Pistorius to stand before she delivered the culpable homicide verdict. (Culpable homicide is similar to involuntary manslaughter in America.) It was reported that he showed no emotion as he was handed his fate.
His sentencing will take place Oct. 13 and will be determined by the judge. It can range from a suspended sentence and a fine to up to 15 years in prison. Immediately after the verdict, Pistorius was placed in a holding cell before being released on bail.
Pistorius was also convicted on one of three unrelated firearm charges. Judge Masipa ruled that the athlete was guilty of unlawfully firing a gun in a public place when a friend’s pistol he was handling discharged under a table in a restaurant in Johannesburg in early 2013 – weeks before Steenkamp’s killing.
Pistorius was acquitted on two other gun charges, including a count of firing a gun in public and a count of illegal possession of ammunition in the Pretoria home where he killed Steenkamp.
The emotional trial lasted six months in Johannesburg, South Africa, and included a month-long break so the Paralympian sprinter known as “Blade Runner” could be evaluated by a team of mental health experts.
Judge Masipa, along with two legal assistants, then spent the past five weeks deliberating on a verdict in the shooting death of Steenkamp – a model and women’s rights activist – early in the morning on Valentine’s Day 2013.
While on the witness stand, Pistorius, 27, said he heard a window open in his bathroom in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013, causing him to believe intruders had entered his house and race to get to his gun to defend himself and his girlfriend, who he claimed he thought was still in bed.
In a quivering voice, Pistorius referred to the moment when he said he thought there was a burglar as when “everything changed.”
“I wanted to put myself between the person who gained access to my house and Reeva,” Pistorius said.
Prosecutors, however, maintained that Pistorius shot his girlfriend in a rage and presented witnesses who painted him as short-tempered and gun-obsessed.
Pistorius had faced 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder.
• Additional reporting by ASSOCIATED PRESS