Oscar Pistorius Is A Murderer, Almost 3 Years After Shooting Reeva Steenkamp
The Debrief: The athlete was formerly found guilty of culpable homicide, but today a court of appeal ruled that regardless of who he was shooting at, he knew he would kill...
Nearly three years after Reeva Steenkamp suffered four fatal shot wounds delivered by then-boyfriend Oscar Pistorius, the one-time Paralympian and Olympian has been found guilty of murder. Here are the questions we’re asking, along with the answers.
Wasn’t he sentenced before?
Yes, but as the previous Judge Thokozile Masipa believed that Pistorius had not intended to kill Reeva, who had been on the other side of the door of the athlete’s en-suite, he was found guilty of culpable homicide.
The verdict, which is a bit like manslaughter in the UK, means he was ordered to spend five years in prison. He served one year of that, before being moved under house arrest in October.
Who appealed and why?
South African prosecutors appealed against Pistorius’ sentence to the South Africa High Court of Appeals. Justice Lorimer Leach found that the lower court in which Pistorius was first sentenced, did so in error as it had failed to note that because Pistorius had armed himself, there was something called dolus eventualis. That's latin for ‘eventual death’: he knew that a death would be the likely result of his actions. This is regardless of who he thought was behind the door at the time he shot at it.
The judge compared Pistorius’s actions to setting a bomb off in a public place. No, you don’t know who the victims will be, but you know there will be victims.
What happens now?
Since it was ruled that Pistorius is not guilty of culpable homicide but guilty of murder, he faces a minimum of 15 years in prison.
When does he go back to prison?
It’s likely Pistorius will get to spend Christmas at his uncle’s home, where he is under house arrest. He will then be transferred in January or February.
What have Reeva’s parents said?
June Steenkamp attended court whereas her husband Barry didn’t. She closed her eyes as the verdict was read.
A spokesperson for the family said: ‘The legal team will study the finding and we will be guided by them in terms of options going forward.’
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