South African Court More Than Doubles Oscar Pistorius's Prison Sentence for Murder


Justice Willie Seriti of South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal announced Friday that the five-judge panel had upheld prosecutors' appeals, according to The Associated Press, and increased the sentence to 15 years, minus time served.

The Blade Runner shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his home on Valentine's Day 2013. He claimed he thought he was firing at an intruder.

It today overturned a six-year sentence handed down by the High Court in Pretoria and replaced it with a sentence of thirteen years and five months.

Pistorius was once best known for winning gold at the 2004 Athens Paralympics and for successfully fighting to compete in the 2012 London Olympics alongside able-bodied runners. In 2014, he was convicted of manslaughter due to a lack of sufficient evidence of a more serious offense. That conviction was increased to murder by the SCA in December 2015 and his sentence increased to six years by trial Judge Thokozile Masipa. "But, if one looks at what the law states, and given the fact that murder does carry the minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, I think the decision could be vindicated". He was imprisoned previous year.

Pistorius, who turned 31 on Wednesday, has served over a year of his initial six-year sentence.

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Steenkamp's parents, Barry and June, were "emotional" as they watched Seriti deliver the verdict live on television at their home, family lawyer Tania Koen said.

However, the former athlete's case has been brought back to the South African Supreme Court of Appeal, where that sentence has been upgraded to 13 years and five months.

The ruling is likely the end of Pistorius' legal options.

Oscar Pistorius will be spending much more time in prison than originally believed. He was reportedly not in court on Friday to hear the decision on his sentence. Pistorius might now be moved back to a higher security facility.