Oscar Pistorius Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison for Murder of Girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
A South African judge said the athlete's remorse for the shooting was a compelling reason for leniency
Oscar Pistorius, the former Olympic and Paralympic star, has been sentenced to six years in prison for murder by a South African judge.
The 29-year-old double-amputee, who became known the world over as the "Blade Runner," faced up to 15 years in prison for fatally shooting his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a bathroom door of his home in 2013.
On Wednesday, Judge Thokozile Masipa said Pistorius had become a "fallen hero" and that his remorse for the shooting was a compelling reason for leniency, the Associated Press reports.
"He's a fallen hero, he's lost his career and he's ruined financially. The worst is that having taken life of a fellow human being in the manner that he did he cannot be at peace. Recovery is possible, but it will depend mostly on the accused," Masipa said during her ruling in Johannesburg, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Steenkamp's parents, Barry and June, wiped away tears as the sentences was read, according the to Journal.
Pistorius sat stoically as the judge explained her decision, CBS News reports.
Pistorius, who shot Steenkamp multiple times through a locked bathroom door at his home, has always maintained that he acted in self-defense, believing that an intruder had barricaded himself in the room. He says he never meant to shoot Steenkamp.
To drive home the point, defense attorneys had him remove his prosthetic legs last month and walk across the court room on his stumps to show how vulnerable he was at the time of the late-night shooting.
Masipa had previously convicted Pistorius of manslaughter and sentenced him to five years in prison. He served less than one year before being released on bail during appeal. In December, an appeals court ruled Pistorius was guilty of murder and sent the case back to Masipa for a new sentence.
Pistorius can still appeal the judge's sentence, CBS reports.