South Africa’s top appeals court has upgraded Oscar Pistorius’s conviction from ‘culpable homicide’ or manslaughter to murder today for the death of Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius shot and killed Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013. In October 2014 Pistorius was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to five years.
Pistorius was only required to spend 10 months of his original five-year-sentence in prison. He left prison in October 2015 and is currently under house arrest. The ‘blade runner’ faces a minimum sentence of 15-years with his new verdict.
The altered verdict was based on the legal concept of “dolis eventualis” which indicates that the intent to kill was clearly shown by the defendant’s actions. Pistorius’s claim that he thought it was an intruder did not justify his actions of shooting four times into a small bathroom cubicle.
It was determined that Pistorius knew that his actions would cause fatal injuries and this led to his being found guilty of murder. Pistorius may remain under house arrest while he awaits the next trial which will set his new sentencing which will be at least 15 additional years. The next court date is expected some time next year.
This final outcome was apparently not a surprise to Pistorius’s legal team. On November 3, 2015 when they presented his defense in court, his lawyer, Barry Roux, was overheard saying, ‘I’m going to lose.’