Oscar Pistorius Found Guilty of Homicide

Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele
African National Congress Women League members demonstrate outside the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, on Sept. 11, 2014, during the murder trial of double-amputee South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius. 

Oscar Pistorius—the double-amputee Olympic athlete on trial in South Africa for fatally shooting his model girlfriend—has been found guilty of culpable homicide and could face jail time. On Thursday Pistorius was found not guilty of two of the most serious murder charges, the New York Times reports.

“Judge [Thokozile Matilda] Masipa cleared Mr. Pistorius of two charges—premeditated murder, which carries a minimum mandatory term of 25 years, and a lesser charge of homicide known simply as ‘murder,’” the Times reports.


Murder trials in South Africa are not heard by jurors, and so Masipa alone has been responsible for deciding if Pistorius intentionally killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, or if he sincerely thought she was an intruder and thereby killed her by accident, as Pistorius claimed.

The New York Times describes how “the judge compared Mr. Pistorius’ reaction and behavior to that of the majority of people in South Africa who live under daily threat of crime.” But then the judge seemed to be critical of Pistorius’ decision to use his firearm when he became alarmed instead of calling the police, saying that he “acted too hastily” and “used excessive force.”

Masipa will determine how much jail time, if any, Pistorius will face. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 13.

Read more at the New York Times.

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