Oscar Pistorius, the Paralympic gold medalist, was convicted of culpable homicide in the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year and firing a gun at a restaurant.
Judge Thokozile Masipa delivered her judgment after a 41- day trial at the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa’s capital. She acquitted him on the charges of murder and two gun-related offenses. A conviction for culpable homicide, or manslaughter, could carry a sentence ranging from a fine to a prison sentence.
“The accused acted negligently when he fired shots into the toilet door knowing that there was someone behind the door and that there was very little room in which to maneuver,” Masipa said. “A reasonable person therefore in the position of the accused with similar disability would have foreseen that the possibility that whoever was behind the door might be killed by the shots.”
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Masipa, 66, said the prosecution failed to prove the charge of premeditated murder. She also rejected a murder verdict, saying he couldn’t have foreseen that the shooting would have killed whoever was behind the door.
Pistorius hugged his sister, Aimee, in the dock after the verdict. June Steenkamp, Reeva’s mother, comforted a family member.
Known as the Blade Runner because of his J-shaped prosthetic running blades, Pistorius was the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics. He’s been free on 1 million rand ($91,500) bail since February last year.
The charges have derailed the running career of the winner of six Paralympic gold medals and cost Pistorius sponsorship deals with Nike Inc. and Luxottica Group SpA’s Oakley.
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