Over the past eight months, jurors in the Oscar Pistorius case have listened to a wealth of information and evidence. At the end of each day, the defendant has been escorted by bodyguards and driven to his uncle’s mansion. However, Judge Thokozile Masipa’s ruling tomorrow will determine if Pistorius goes home for good or spends time in prison for the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Initially, Pistorius was charged with murder but ultimately convicted of the much lesser crime of manslaughter. At the time of the killing, Pistorius and Steenkamp lived together. According to testimony, he heard someone in the house so grabbing his gun he fired four shots into a closed bathroom door believing the intruder was hiding inside. However, it was actually Steenkamp in the room on Valentine’s Day who was hit and killed.
As reported by Ulrich Roux, director with BDK Attorneys in Johannesburg, there is a distinct possibility that Pistorius will be given a short-term prison sentence opposed to house arrest and community service. He adds that when it comes to sentencing, many variations are considered.
After concluding their sentencing arguments before Judge Masipa, she has the task of considering the request by the defense team of punishment in the form of house arrest along with community service or the prosecutor’s request that Pistorius be sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in jail.
Reportedly, Pistorius first gave conflicting evidence and according to prosecutor Gerrie Nel, he intentionally fired the gun, hitting and killing Steenkamp. On the other hand, the defense attorney, Barry Roux, was successful in arguing that there was no intent to kill, thus the conviction of manslaughter.
Pistorius is the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympic Games, prompting his defense team to recommend a sentence that would allow him to stay at home and train, go to church and the doctor at will, and do a few days of community service per month. This recommendation was scoffed at by Prosecutor Nel.
As stated to the court last week, Joel Maringa, a prison department social worker felt correctional supervision and community service of 16 hours per month was fair. The actual recommendation chosen by the judge will remain a mystery until she hands down the verdict tomorrow.
Pistorius was given the name “Blade Runner” because of his J-shaped prosthetic running blades and although he won six gold medals in the Paralympic as a double amputee, lucrative sponsorships dissolved because of the shooting incident. If he is not given a lengthy prison sentence, Pistorius will be free to complete in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.