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Oscar Pistorius' Manslaughter Conviction Changed to Murder on Appeal

Image: Oscar Pistorius' Manslaughter Conviction Changed to Murder on Appeal
South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius is escorted to a police van after his sentencing at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria October 21, 2014. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters)

By    |   Thursday, 03 Dec 2015 01:20 PM

Oscar Pistorius' manslaughter conviction for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was changed to a murder conviction on Thursday by South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal.

According to CNN, Judge Eric Leach and a unanimous panel of five judges reasoned that the Paralympic gold medalist should have known that firing four bullets through a locked bathroom door in his home would have killed whoever was on the other side — whether it was an intruder or someone else. 

"As a matter of common sense at the time the fatal shots were fired, the possibility of the death of the person behind the door was clearly an obvious result," the judge said. "And in firing not one but four shots, such a result became even more likely."

Under South African law, citizens cannot fire a gun without knowing for certain that their own life is being threatened.

Pistorius, 29, is currently under house arrest. He's also previously served one year of his original five-year prison sentence.

Pistorius is now expected to return to court to be re-sentenced. That court date is expected to be next year.

The BBC reported that the minimum sentence for murder in South Africa is 15 years in prison, however judges have some discretion.

Pistorius can appeal the ruling if his lawyers can show that the judges may have violated his constitutional rights.

The judge called the case "a human tragedy of Shakespearean proportions."

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Oscar Pistorius' manslaughter conviction for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was changed to a murder conviction on Thursday by South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal.
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2015-20-03
Thursday, 03 Dec 2015 01:20 PM
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