Oscar Pistorius receives 5-year sentence

His lawyer said Pistorius will serve at least ten months in prison before he can apply for house arrest.
By Ed Adamczyk  |  Oct. 21, 2014 at 7:08 AM
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PRETORIA, South Africa, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Oscar Pistorius, Olympic and Paralympic track star, was given a five-year sentence Tuesday in Pretoria, South Africa, in the shooting death of his girlfriend.

Pistorius, 27, was convicted in September of culpable homicide, a charge comparable to manslaughter, for killing Reeva Steenkamp in 2013, but cleared of murder. Barry Roux, his lawyer, said he expects Pistorius to serve one-sixth of his prison sentence, or six months, before he can be placed on house arrest. Prosecutors had sought a 10 year sentence, while the defense lawyers recommended community service or house arrest.

A separate charge against Pistorius, regarding firearms, brought a suspended sentence from Judge Thokozile Masipa.

After the trial Steenkamp's family expressed relief the trial was over and satisfaction with the judge's ruling. "I'm just glad it's over," said June Steenkamp, the victim's mother.

Pistorius has been free on bail for the majority of the time since the shooting. He was remanded to Pretoria's main prison.

In sentencing Pistorius, a double amputee track star and South Africa's foremost celebrity in international sports, Masipa spent over an hour Tuesday summing up the trial before announcing her decision. She added she the sentence was "about achieving the right balance – proportionality."

"It would be a sad day for this country if an impression was created that there is one law for the poor and disadvantaged and another for the rich and famous. Righteous anger should not cloud judgment."

Since the trial began, Pistorius had been living in the home of his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, who said after the trial, "We accept the judgment. Oscar will embrace the opportunity to pay back to society."

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