South Africa’s “Blade Runner” on Tuesday was sentenced to five years in prison, a term he started serving immediately, the Associated Press reports.
The disgraced double-amputee Olympic sprinter, found guilty of culpable homicide last month for shooting to death his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, reportedly remained composed while Judge Thokozile Masipa handed down her sentence.
According to the news service, Masipa called Pistorius’ actions, when he shot his girlfriend multiple times through a door in his home on Valentine’s Day 2013, “gross negligence.”
Pistorius was taken away in an armored police van with barred windows as a crowd gathered around, shouting and banging on the vehicle, AP notes.
Although he was given a five-year prison sentence, Pistorius could be released after 10 months to serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest, AP reported, quoting legal experts.
Masipa, the report notes, saw her judgment as a balance between appropriate justice and mercy.
“I am of the view that a noncustodial sentence would send a wrong message to the community,” Masipa explained to the court, according to AP. “On the other hand, a long sentence would not be appropriate, either, as it would lack the element of mercy.”
Steenkamp’s mother, June, told AP that justice had been served.
As for Pistorius, his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said that the Olympian “will embrace this opportunity to pay back to society.”
The defense and the prosecution have 14 days to appeal the judge’s decision. Prosecutors, AP notes, are flirting with the idea, considering that Pistorius could end up spending less than a year in prison for the homicide.
According to AP, prosecutors were disappointed with his conviction for culpable homicide, since they had initially sought to have him found guilty of the more serious charge of premeditated murder.
“We have not made up our minds whether we’re going to appeal it or not,” prosecution spokesman Nathi Mcnube said, according to AP, explaining that there was an “appetite” for an appeal.
“We are satisfied with the fact that he will be serving some time in prison,” he added, but also said that prosecutors would be taking a second look at their options.
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