Oscar Pistorius' Sentencing Verdict Could Be Anything From Community Service To A Decade Behind Bars
It's almost all over for Oscar Pistorius, the South African Olympic runner who was found guilty of culpable homicide — the South Africa equivalent of manslaughter — of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius awaits his sentencing for the Steenkamp shooting Monday, bringing to end a six-month-long courtroom saga fraught with emotionally charged testimonies, mental breakdowns and delays. Now, Pistorius can expect a sentencing anywhere from a fine to 15 years in prison.
Prosecutors are currently debating the severity of Pistorius' sentence, with his defense lawyers arguing for a lesser penalty, such as community service. BBC News reports a correctional officer was called upon on Monday by the defense, stating that the famed Olympian shouldn't go to jail for the culpable homicide of his girlfriend. The correctional officer, Joel Maringa, said Pistorius should only receive community service and up to three years of house arrest:
The accused will benefit from correctional supervision ... [An] opportunity to restructure and modify his behavior. ... We are basically not saying that he should be destroyed because he will still be coming back into the community.
According to reports from inside the courtroom, the announcement came as a shock to the prosecution. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel reportedly called the suggested sentence "shockingly inappropriate," while the family of Steenkamp watched silently in disbelief.
The New York Times reports that Pistorius' defense team also summoned his psychologist, Dr. Lore Hartzenberg, to testify on Monday. She said during her testimony that Pistorius will always endure flashbacks from the night of the shooting, building up the case that he was remorseful and tormented by the killing:
I can confirm his remorse and pain to be genuine. We are left with a broken man who lost everything.
Hartzenberg described the toll Pistorius' grief took on his body and mind, while also reminding the courtroom that his "moral and professional reputation" has been tarnished. Meanwhile, Prosecutor Nel countered that Pisotrius was a "broken man, but he is still alive." For the prosecution arguing for a harsher sentence, much of the debate lies in Pistorius' fame as an athlete who might get off too easily. "He can still pursue his career and more," Nel argued.There is no minimum sentencing for culpable homicide in South Africa, which means it's very likely that the Olympic runner could leave this saga with just a fine, house arrest or community service.Images: Getty Images (2)