Oscar ‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius Sentenced to Six Years for Murdering Girlfriend

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South Africa's Oscar Pistorius competes the men's 400-meter semifinal during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. (Photo: AP)

South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius competes the men’s 400-meter semifinal during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. (Photo: AP)

What has been called “South Africa’s O.J. Simpson trial” has likely come to an end.

Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius – the double-amputee competitive runner who made national headlines by participating in the 2012 Olympic Games – was sentenced yesterday to six years in prison for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at their home in 2013.

The six-year sentence raised eyebrows in South Africa and around the world, as a murder conviction normally carries a 15-year minimum sentence. But Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa of the High Court in Pretoria cited “mitigating circumstances” in her decision to cut the standard punishment by more than 50 percent.

One of those mitigating circumstances – and the fact around which the entire case revolves – is Pistorius’s claim that he believed his girlfriend was an intruder before he shot her.

Pistorius held throughout the trial that on the night of February 14, 2013, he believed an intruder had climbed into his bathroom through the window. When he heard a noise coming from the bathroom, he grabbed his gun and shot through the closed door four times. Only later did he realize that the person behind the locked door was his girlfriend, Steenkamp.

The prosecution argued that Pistorius knew Steenkamp was in the locked bathroom, and he killed her in the wake of an argument between the couple.

Pistorius was originally convicted in 2014 of culpable homicide – South Africa’s equivalent to manslaughter – and was sentenced to five years. Pistorius served the first year before being released to serve the rest of his term under house arrest.

Pistorius in court. (Photo: CNN)

Pistorius in court. (Photo: CNN)

But prosecutors appealed the ruling to a higher court, citing a legal principle known as dolus eventualis, which, when applied to Pistorius’s case, holds the athlete guilty of murder because he should have known that firing through the locked door would kill whoever was inside.

The higher courts agreed. In his opinion, Judge Eric Leach said that “the identity of [Pistorius’s] victim is irrelevant to his guilt” because “the accused must have foreseen, and therefore did foresee, that whoever was behind the toilet door might die, but reconciled himself to that event occurring and gambled with that person’s life.”

Despite the higher court’s ruling, Judge Masipa’s comments during the sentencing were largely sympathetic to the former Olympian. “He’s a fallen hero who has lost his career and is ruined financially,” she said. “The worst is that having taken the life of a fellow human being in the manner that he did, he cannot be at peace.”

The judge also noted that Pistorius had tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to apologize to Steenkamp’s parents, he was a first-time offender, and he seemed genuinely remorseful and willing to reform. “I am of the view that a long-term imprisonment will not serve justice,” she said.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Ken July 8, 2016, 5:05 pm

    They told on the news that same day that a Rino poacher got 25 years for killing a rino.
    Beautiful women aren’t worth as much …

  • RetNavet July 8, 2016, 4:22 pm

    Look, regardless of what the courts or courts of opinion say….she should have gone to the bathroom before she went to bed, then she would not have had to get up in the middle of the night and get shot. Pretty basic stuff any girlfriend should know.

  • SuperG July 8, 2016, 11:07 am

    It will be re-visited 6 years from now, and the public then will demand a longer sentence, and then they’ll re-try him again and extend it. Obviously for him to get such a light initial sentence, there must have been facts presented that we are not allowed to see. The only thing that scares me about this case is that they can keep going back and issuing sentences that placates the public. Law by public opinion is not law.

  • Christian July 7, 2016, 4:31 pm

    I may sound violent in what I will write now but seriously guys, to me there is only one sentencing if someone is rightfully charged for murder: Immediate execution right after the judge spoke his/her verdict. No pity, no remorse, no regret and the same kind of death the killer brought to his/her victim (in this case shooting him). “Eye for an eye, tooth for tooth” and so on (Exodus 21:24-25, Leviticus 24:20 and Deuteronomy 19:21). In this case you also would prevent of having prisoners 15-20 years waiting in death chambers like in the US (what the Hell they are waiting for?). Yes guys, sorry for writing things like this but there is no remorse in my eyes for a murderer that killed someone without having a good reason like self-defense, prevention of another harmed life etc.

    He surely knew the bathroom door was locked so even if there would have been an intruder he could just have waited with the gun pointed towards the door, waiting for the door to open and then decide what to do next. I mean, there would have surely been nothing worth for an intruder in the bathroom to steal. Just as it is written in the article, I’m also sure that he knew that via shooting through the door he would kill whoever was inside, without having checked if it’s really an intruder or not. He could have at least asked “Who’s there?”. That is enough proof to charge him fully guilty, simple as that if you ask me.

    I do believe that only to the fact that he is well known (which is mostly a positive fact for you if you get charged) and according to the fact that the judge is a woman, are for me the reasons why he only received six years. I do believe if he would have been just a random guy nobody knows and the judge would have been a man, he would have received the full 15 years. Or even if the judge would have been Mrs. Masipa or any other female judge but he would have been just a random guy in this case too, he also would surely have received the full 15 years.

    That is my personal opinion about this matter so far. By the way, I was feeling extremely sorry when I saw the father of the slain woman in this video during sentencing in court. Poor man, I surely do not want to be in his body! His sorrow and anger also showed me how wrong the decision of Judge Masipa truly is.

    • Josh 'Acecool' Moser July 8, 2016, 7:10 am

      Until the justice system is fixed, immediate execution wouldn’t be even remotely “fair”. So many innocent people are convicted based on confessions given under duress ( Also very stupid to ever give a confession to something you didn’t do even when being threatened ), false evidence, lies, etc…

      But, shooting through a closed door is stupid. Note the guy heard “noises” coming from a bathroom… so far it seems normal… I haven’t read the transcript or seen it so I don’t know if the GF actually climbed in through the window, but calling police as soon as you hear weird noises ( and when they aren’t the noises of someone trying to break down your door ) should’ve been the logical first step… Again, I haven’t read the transcript or seen the trial, but there should’ve been reckless endangerment charges thrown in…

      • Christian July 8, 2016, 8:56 am

        Hi Josh, that is why I wrote „rightfully charged“. I honestly do not know if there are really so many innocent people in the US death chambers but I would be really surprised if there are. In most cases it looks pretty clear to me, especially when I see pictures of murder trials (murderpedia.org is mostly my source) where so many experts and evidences are in court to proof everything. It is very interesting to see. And if you are really not guilty of such a thing then why confess it? I see no reason for someone, who is not rightfully accused, in doing so because people being accused like this have nothing to lose anyway, so I really see no reason why they should confess something they are not guilty on. But in the Pistorius case he did confess and it has been proven to be right, so I see no reason to just give him 6 years for a clear murder case.

        Otherwise I follow the things you’ve written. He could have done so much better than just shooting mindlessly and I do suspect that he is one of the non-responsible gun owners in this case. A responsible gun owner would, in my personal opinion, not mindlessly shoot through a door while not knowing if there is really a threat at the other side.

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