Pis­to­rius not guilty of mur­der but was neg­li­gent

The Covington News - - WORLD -

PRE­TO­RIA, South Africa (AP) — Dur­ing his trial, Os­car Pis­to­rius some­times retched and sobbed. The dou­ble-am­putee Olympian sobbed again on Thurs­day, this time in ap­par­ent re­lief as a judge said the ev­i­dence did not support a mur­der con­vic­tion for killing girl­friend Reeva Steenkamp.

The judge could still con­vict Pis­to­rius of a neg­li­gent killing — a crime that can carry a lengthy jail term or just a sus­pended sen­tence and fine — when she likely fin­ishes read­ing her lengthy con­clu­sions in court on Fri­day. Some le­gal an­a­lysts were sur­prised, say­ing the run­ner could at least have been con­victed of a lesser mur­der charge, rather than the pre­med­i­tated mur­der charge lev­eled by the state.

The Pre­to­ria court­room was packed for the rul­ing in the case against 27-year-old Pis­to­rius, once a glob­ally ad­mired celebrity who com­peted against able-bod­ied ath­letes at the 2012 Olympics in London. His brother, Carl, was there in a wheel­chair be­cause of in­juries suf­fered in a re­cent car crash. So were Steenkamp’s par­ents, June and Barry.

Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, had been see­ing the star ath­lete for only a few months be­fore he killed her by shoot­ing four times through a closed toi­let door in his home in the pre-dawn hours of Valen­tine’s Day last year. Pis­to­rius said he thought an in­truder was in the toi­let and about to at­tack him; the pros­e­cu­tion said he in­ten­tion­ally killed her after an ar­gu­ment.

Judge Thokozile Masipa, wear­ing a red robe, un­veiled her anal­y­sis of the case after say­ing lit­tle through­out the sen­sa­tional six-month trial as lawyers ar­gued and wit­nesses tes­ti­fied about the shock­ing killing.

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