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Oscar Pistorius’s Murder Sentence Is Increased to 15 Years


Oscar Pistorius leaving the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, in 2016. Credit Karel Prinsloo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal on Friday more than doubled the sentence imposed by a lower court on Oscar Pistorius, a double-amputee Olympic sprinter convicted of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in his home in February 2013.

The case, evoking questions about racial fears and violence against women, transfixed South Africa’s tangled, post-apartheid society — and a broader international audience. Ms. Steenkamp, 29, was a model and law graduate, and Mr. Pistorius, now 31, had been an emblem of triumph over adversity after the amputation in his infancy of both legs below the knee. They had been dating for several months and became known as a celebrity couple.

After his initial trial in 2014, Mr. Pistorius, sometimes nicknamed Blade Runner for the curved prosthetics on which he runs, was sentenced for manslaughter, but that was later changed on appeal to murder. He was jailed for six years in July 2016.

Prosecutors said the six-year term was “shockingly lenient,” however, and they appealed. The Supreme Court of Appeal increased the sentence on Friday to 15 years but deducted the time he has already served either in prison or under house arrest, meaning that he faces an outstanding sentence of 13 years and five months. South African law sets 15 years as the recommended minimum for murder, but it can be lower if there are mitigating circumstances.


Victim’s Father Speaks Against Pistorius

In a South African court where Oscar Pistorius is to be sentenced for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, the victim’s father said Mr. Pistorius must pay for his crime.

Photo by Pool photo by Kim Ludbrook. Watch in Times Video »

In his defense, Mr. Pistorius argued that he had shot Ms. Steenkamp by accident, firing four bullets through a bathroom door in the belief that an intruder had entered his upscale villa in Pretoria. Only when he smashed down the door, he said at his trial, did he discover that he had shot Ms. Steenkamp.

Prosecutors said he had killed her in a jealous fury after an argument in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013.

Source: NYT > World

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