A judge in South Africa’s Supreme Court has more than doubled the sentence handed down to athlete and double-amputee Oscar Pistorius, who murdered his girlfriend in February of 2013. The case had garnered international attention due to Pistorius's status as an acclaimed Olympian.
According to the New York Times, Pistorius was at first sentenced for the crime as manslaughter, but charges were changed on appeal to murder. He was given six years of jail time for the killing.
Prosecutors have characterized the original sentence as “shockingly lenient to a point where it has the effect of trivializing this serious offense,” leading to even more appeals.
“I am of the view that a long-term imprisonment will not serve justice,” Judge Masipa controversially declared at the time of the original trial. “He’s a fallen hero who has lost his career and is ruined financially.”
The most recent round of appeals resulted in a new sentence of 15 years (minus the time he's already served). 15 years is the minimum sentence that can be served for murder in South Africa, unless certain circumstances are present.
Pistorius maintained his innocence throughout the trial, saying he mistakenly shot his lover, Reeva Steenkamp, thinking she was an intruder. Prosecutors argued that he killed her in a jealous fit of rage.
“This is an emotional thing for [The Steenkamp family]. They just feel that their trust in the justice system has been confirmed this morning,” said family spokesperson, Tania Koen.
The more recent ruling also stated that Pistorius “displays a lack of remorse and does not appreciate the gravity of his actions.”
It remains unclear if Pistorius's legal team will appeal this most recent decision to the highest courts possible.
[Photo: Getty Images]
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