Oscar Pistorius seeks to avoid harsher sentence for killing girlfriend

Oscar Pistorius

Former Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius is escorted by police officers after leaving a courthouse in Pretoria, South Africa, on Oct. 17, 2014.

(Themba Hadebe / Associated Press)

Some five months after he was convicted of culpable homicide, Oscar Pistorius is seeking to block prosecutors from asking for a more severe punishment.

Though the famed double-amputee runner was found guilty in the 2013 shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, he escaped a verdict of premeditated murder and was sentenced to five years in prison on the lesser charge.

Prosecutors quickly appealed. On Tuesday, Pistorius’ attorneys said they would challenge a judge’s ruling to allow that appeal.

Pistorius was found to have shot Steenkamp multiple times through a closed toilet door in his South African home. Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled that he did not intend to kill Steenkamp but that he acted negligently.


The 28-year-old Olympic athlete has contended that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder. Prosecutors claimed the shooting was prompted by a late-night argument.

If the Supreme Court of Appeals finds that he is guilty of murder, Pistorius would face a minimum of 15 years in prison.

Under his current sentence, he could become eligible to shift from prison to house arrest this summer. The court will hear his application to prevent the prosecution’s appeal next month.

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