Oscar Pistorius' Verdict Is Changed From Manslaughter To Murder For Reeva Steenkamp's Death
On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Appeal in South Africa changed Oscar Pistorius' verdict from manslaughter to murder for fatally shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013. The decision opens the possibility for a longer sentence for the 29-year-old "Blade Runner" Olympian, who is a double amputee. According to The Guardian, murder in South Africa carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.
In 2013, Pistorius fired four shots through his bathroom door, claiming that he thought there was an intruder in the home he shared with Steenkamp. Instead, Steenkamp was on the other side. He was convicted of culpable homicide (manslaughter in U.S. terms) and spent less than one year of a five-year sentence in jail before being released on house arrest in October.
The Supreme Court's decision stemmed from its view that the lower court did not use the legal concept of dolus evantualis correctly, which asks whether or not Pistorius knew he could kill somebody when he shot at the bathroom door. "I have no doubt that in firing the fatal shots the accused must have foreseen that whoever was behind door might die," the Supreme Court judge, Thokozile Masipa, said.
Pistorius is expected to return to court to await a new sentence.