The Verdict is In – Oscar is NOT Guilty of Murder!!!
After 41 days of tears, drama, anguish and at times gruesome testimony in the Pretoria High Court, Oscar Pistorius, the South African double amputee who became one of the biggest names in athletics, was found NOT Guilty.
THE judge in Oscar Pistorius’s trial for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp said the state failed to prove that he was guilty of murder on Valentine’s Day last year.
Judge Thokozile Masipa said there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that Mr Pistorius, 27, was guilty either of premeditated murder or second-degree murder. Judge Masipa will rule on culpable homicide when the court returns from adjournment later on Thursday.
“Culpable homicide is a competent verdict,” she said.
Mr Pistorius cried on the shoulders of his sister Aimee after Judge Masipa adjourned the court. If convicted of culpable homicide, Mr Pistorius could serve as many as 15 years in prison.
Mr Pistorius gave different explanations about why he fired at the door in his bathroom in his Pretoria home, Judge Masipa said. He testified at one point that he fired without thinking and at another that he was shooting at someone he believed was about to attack or kill him. She called him “a very poor witness”. Judge Masipa rejected the defence’s contention that the shooting was a reflex and the Paralympian lacked cognitive capacity.
She also rejected the state’s presentation of WhatsApp messages between Mr Pistorius and Steenkamp showing they had argued, and from the defence indicating they were in a loving relationship.
“None of this proves anything,” she said.
In a fitting reminder of how South Africa has changed in the 20 years since apartheid, the fate of Oscar Pistorius, a wealthy white man from privileged roots, laid in hands of a 66-year-old black woman from Soweto, Judge Thokozile Masipa.
Throughout the on-off six-month trial, Masipa — only the second black woman to rise to the bench in South Africa — has remained calm and impassive, seemingly impervious to the global interest in a case that has drawn comparisons to the 1995 murder trial of American football star OJ Simpson in California.
The state which argued a brilliant case convinced Judge Thokozile Masipa that he murdered his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in a fit of rage on Valentine’s Day last year, and now he faces a mandatory life term – effectively 25 years behind bars before eligible for parole.
Since it first broke on the morning of Feb. 14 last year, the case has gripped millions around the world who saw Oscar Pistorius as the embodiment of triumph over adversity, a man whose lower legs were amputated as a baby but who reached the semi-finals of the 400 metres at the London Olympics in 2012.
That same year, Time magazine included him in its list of the world’s 100 most influential people, “the definition of global inspiration“.
In sports-mad South Africa, the shooting caused an even bigger impact, the stunning downfall of a sporting hero feted by black and white alike in a society still divided by its racist past.
But as the trial unfolded that sentiment changed.
The prosecution painted a picture of Pistorius as a gun-obsessed hot-head — he faces three other weapons-related charges — who handled a loaded pistol in a packed restaurant and whooped with joy when he blew apart a water-melon with a high-calibre pistol, likening the red mush to brains.
The athlete has also pleaded not guilty to three separate gun-related charges, which include firing a weapon in a restaurant and shooting out of a car. He could face sentences ranging from as many as five years to a fine for each count.