Pistorius Gets 6 Years for Murder

Judge goes easy on 'fallen hero'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 6, 2016 3:53 AM CDT
Updated Jul 6, 2016 5:33 AM CDT
Pistorius Gets 6 Years for Murder
Oscar Pistorius, center, leaves the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, on Wednesday.   (Narco Longari, Pool Photo via AP)

Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to six years in prison Wednesday for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, with the judge who decided the punishment calling the double-amputee Olympian a "fallen hero." South Africa's minimum sentence for murder is 15 years, but the judge said "substantial and compelling circumstances" existed to give Pistorius a lesser sentence for shooting Steenkamp at his home in 2013, the AP reports. Judge Thokozile Masipa described Pistorius as a "good candidate for rehabilitation." Prosecutors had sought at least 15 years in prison for the 29-year-old Pistorius. His defense lawyers had asked for no jail time at all for the athlete and that he be allowed to do charity work with children.

Pistorius "has lost his career and been ruined financially. He cannot be at peace," the judge said. In 2014, Masipa acquitted Pistorius of murder following a dramatic seven-month trial. He was instead convicted of manslaughter and served one year in prison. His conviction was upgraded to murder last year when prosecutors appealed to South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal. Pistorius' defense lawyers say they won't be appealing the sentence. Prosecutors may still appeal, but supporters of the Steenkamp family say the law has "run its course," the Guardian reports. "Nothing will bring Reeva back. The best thing to do is to maintain a dignified silence," says a family lawyer. (Pistorius recently told an interviewer that Steenkamp wouldn't have wanted him to serve a long sentence.)

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