“Oscar Pistorius, the disabled track star who once commanded stellar heights of international competition at the Paralympic and Olympic Games, was found guilty on Friday of culpable homicide, equivalent to manslaughter, after being acquitted of murder charges for killing his girlfriend.”
It is being reported today in the news that Oscar Pistorius has been given a lenient sentence of manslaughter or ‘culpable homicide’ in a South African court for shooting and killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He murdered her on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2013. Pistorius claims that he thought she was an intruder as he fired multiple shots into the bathroom where she hid.
Soon after confessing to the crime, he hired a public relations firm, Vuma Reputation Management, to manage his image online and in the media. Behind-the-scenes spin began and led to an avalanche of support on social media. “The family does not see itself as being involved in a hearts-and-minds war, denies it is engaging in spin, and is very clear that the focus is on freeing Pistorius, both immediately and ultimately. But that has not stopped it from putting on a slick public relations face within days of Steenkamp’s death.”
An eerily similar sleaze show plays out with other murder trials, one example is the Meredith Kercher Murder case. The New York Times wrote that the father of one of the murder suspects, Amanda Knox, hired public relations firm Gogerty Marriott soon after her arrest. Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede were determined to be guilty.
Unlike Knox and Sollecito, Pistorius attempted to save his victim, “ . . . Mr. Pistorius had been prompt in calling for help, the judge said. He prayed to God and sought to resuscitate Ms. Steenkamp . . .” This fact appeared to weigh in heavily in court and resulted in his light sentencing.
The judge was lenient with Pistorius even after it was shown that he was lying repeatedly. “Many South Africans were surprised that the judge, though she found that Pistorius was dishonest when he repeatedly insisted that he never intended to fire the fatal shots, still acquitted him of murder.”
In the northern hemisphere, Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede have all been found guilty of murder in a court of law, but the final sentencing from the Italian Supreme Court has yet to be handed down. It is expected in the next six months. Knox’s PR magicians are continuing to anonymously cast their spin on-line. Similar to Pistorius’s PR, they have been using Twitter in an attempt to sway public opinion and twist the facts about the case.
After Pistorius’s verdict was announced, ” His uncle, Arnold Pistorius, turned to journalists, saying the damage done to the athlete by the trial was “tragic” and could never be rectified.
Later, he delivered a brief statement to reporters expressing the family’s gratitude to the judge for acquitting Pistorius of murder and saying a huge burden had been lifted.
With his wife, Lois, beside him, he said the family never doubted his nephew’s account. He added that they were deeply affected by Steenkamp’s death and said their hearts went out to her family, friends and supporters.”
Pistorius may receive merely weeks for his sentence at his next hearing on October 13, 2014. However, this case is far from over. Many legal experts feel the judge has made a terrible mistake which may be grounds for an appeal in the not so distant future. In the meantime, he can celebrate his evasion of premeditated murder charges.
R.I.P. Reeva Steenkamp