Oscar Pistorius Convicted of Murder of Reeva Steenkamp in Appeals Court

Oscar Pistorius
 Herman Verwey/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Oscar Pistorius was convicted of murdering his late girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in a South African appeals court hearing on Thursday, Dec. 3.

The decision overturns the sprint runner's prior 2014 conviction of manslaughter for shooting the model on Valentine's Day in 2013. Pistorius, 29, claimed that he thought Steenkamp was an intruder at the time, leading him to shoot her in the couple's bathroom.

The South African native and double-amputee was initially acquitted of premeditated murder in September 2014, and was put under house arrest after spending one year behind bars. He now faces 15 years in prison.

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp in 2012.
Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp in 2012. Waldo Swiegers/Heat Magazine/Gallo Images/Getty Images

"The accused ought to have been found guilty of murder on the basis that he had fired the fatal shots with criminal intent," Judge Lorimer Eric Leach said in court on Thursday, via the Associated Press. "The identity of his victim is irrelevant to his guilt."

Judge Eric Leach delivers his judgment in the Oscar Pistorius case in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, December 3.
Judge Eric Leach delivers his judgment in the Oscar Pistorius case in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, December 3. REUTERS/Johan Pretorius/Pool /LANDOV

Leach went on to compare Pistorius and Steenkamp's relationship to a Shakespearean tragedy. "A young man overcomes huge physical disabilities to reach Olympian heights as an athlete. In doing so he becomes an international celebrity. He meets a young woman of great natural beauty and a successful model," he said. "Romance blossoms and then ironically, on Valentine's Day, all is destroyed when he takes her life."

June Steenkamp, mother of Reeva Steenkamp, sits in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, December 3.
June Steenkamp, mother of Reeva Steenkamp, sits in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, December 3. REUTERS/Johan Pretorius/Pool /LANDOV

Pistorius will be sentenced at a later date. He's currently at his uncle's Pretoria mansion and under house arrest.

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