Oscar Pistorius Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Killing of Girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius
Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to five years in prison. Herman Verwey/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images

After months of emotional proceedings and trials, Oscar Pistorius has been given a sentence. The South Africa-born Olympic athlete was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday, Oct. 21, according to the Associated Press

Pistorius, 27, was found guilty of culpable homicide for the February 14, 2013 killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Steenkamp, 29 at the time, was shot and killed by Pistorius in his home in South Africa. 

Pistorius maintained that the killing was an accident, explaining that he thought the person in his bathroom was an intruder, when in fact it was model Steenkamp. 

The athlete, who rose to fame as a Paralympic champion and double-amputee competitor in the 2012 Summer Olympics, may not serve his full five years, as his defense team reportedly found that the law affords him the potential option of serving 10 months in prison before transitioning to house arrest. 

Also facing a three-year suspended sentence on a firearms charge, Pistorius is not planning to appeal the jail term with his family. His uncle said in a statement released to various outlets that the family is ready to "move forward," adding that "Oscar will embrace this opportunity to pay back to society."

Judge Thokozile Masipa, who earlier acquitted Pistorius of premeditated murder charges, reportedly stressed in court the need to find a sentence that did not "send the wrong message to the community," but also one that showed "mercy." The Olympian's team was initially seeking house arrest and community service, while the prosecution suggested 10 years in prison. 

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