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A South African court sentenced native athlete and Olympian Oscar Pistorius to five years in prison for the shooting death of his girlfriend.
Judge Thokozile Masipa delivered the sentence Tuesday, saying Pistorius showed “gross negligence” in Reeva Steenkamp’s death, after the double-amputee runner shot her multiple times through the bathroom door in his home, claiming he thought it was an intruder. In the ruling, however, Masipa told the court she was aiming for a balance in her punishment.
“I am of the view that a non-custodial sentence would send a wrong message to the community,” Masipa said. “On the other hand, a long sentence would not be appropriate either as it would lack the element of mercy.”
Pistorius was cleared of murder charges, instead being convicted on the charge of culpable homicide on Sept. 12. Defense lawyers believe the athlete will only serve 10 months of the sentence in prison before fulfilling the rest under house arrest.
Justin Scuiletti is the digital video producer at PBS NewsHour.
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