Oscar Pistorius not guilty of murder, but Court considers other lesser charges

Oscar Pistorius, the South African Olympian who shot and killed his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day last year, was acquitted Thursday of murder charges, but Judge Thokozile Masipa could still find him guilty on lesser charges.


Masipa cleared Pistorius of all murder charges, including the lesser charge that he must have foreseen the likelihood that firing through the door of the bathroom, where Reeva Steenkamp had locked herself, would be likely to kill the person inside.


Pistorius admitted to firing four expanding bullets into a toilet cubicle off his bathroom. But he had insisted he mistook her for an intruder, fired unintentionally and did not mean to kill anyone.


Masipa did not find sufficient evidence to prove the prosecution’s contention that Pistorius intended to kill Steenkamp after the couple had an argument.


But the judge was continuing to deliver her verdict in a court hearing that already has lasted several hours, and could still convict him on lesser charges, including culpable homicide or intentional killing.


After the initial finding clearing him of murder, Pistorius was bent over sobbing, surrounded by family members and supporters.


The court was scheduled to resume the verdict hearing after a lunch recess.


Judge Masipa said her decision to rule out a premeditated murder conviction was based on the fact that all the evidence in the case was circumstantial. She found that many neighbors were mistaken when they thought they heard a woman screaming on the night of the incident. In fact, she concluded, the only person who screamed was Pistorius.


Twitter @sheriffali




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