Pistorius is found guilty of murder after a South African appeals court overturns his earlier manslaughter verdict. The appeal court says last year’s verdict was “confusing and flawed” and that the lower court did not correctly apply the rule of dolus eventualis – whether Pistorius knew that a death would be a likely result of his actions. The athlete will now be re-sentenced by the original court and will almost certainly go back to jail. The minimum sentence for murder in South Africa is 15 years, but judges can apply some discretion.
After 11 months, Pistorius is released from Kgosi Mampuru II jail at 8pm by a member of his legal team and taken to correctional services headquarters where he meets his parole officer. After processing he is taken to his uncle’s villa in Pretoria, where he has a private cottage. He will be kept under house arrest. The conditions of his parole are not released.
A parole board decides Pistorius will be released from prison and moved to house arrest within days. He has already served nearly one year of a five year sentence. Pistorius will live in his uncle’s mansion, continue to receive psychotherapy, and not be allowed to possess a firearm. He will not be required to wear an electronic tagging device.
Steenkamp’s parents, Barry and June, say she had packed her bags and was ready to leave Oscar Pistorius the day he shot and killed her. June:
He killed her. He admits he killed her…She is dead after [Pistorius made] sure she was dead. Why didn’t he just let her walk away?
What actually came out in court is not the truth. We know what we heard there is not right…People actually heard the screams and when he realised that had happened he couldn’t stop. He had to carry on until it was finished.
On the upcoming Supreme Court appeal:
It is not finished – not finished I feel by a long way – and I can only give you my feelings after the final verdict. If the outcome is going to be a longer sentence, are we going to feel better? I don’t know. All we want is the truth to come out in the real justice side of the whole scenario
Pistorius has tried to contact them but they are not ready to talk to him. June:
All I want you to realise is that you have ruined our lives. You’ve taken her life, her possible marriage, or having a baby – our grandchild. You’ve taken her career away… You’ve taken the most precious thing out of our lives.
Carl Pistorius says Pistorius is not receiving special treatment in Kgosi Mampuru II jail despite his disability. He does not have a personal bathroom but has been given a stool to shower on in the communal bathroom, and is confined to his cell for 17 hours a day and not allowed to come and go as he pleases, but has created relationships with other prisoners and wants to start a basketball program. Carl Pistorius:
He often gives fellow prisoners in the hospital wing, mostly recovering from tuberculosis, advice on how to exercise and to strengthen their bodies… He’s encountering many beautiful stories from prisoners. There are people there who have committed crimes but whose lives have changed.
Pistorius’s brother, Carl, says Pistorius is relying on donations of loose change from visitors to buy cans of baked beans and pilchards in Kgosi Mpuru prison. He hasn’t been given a private bathroom although the social worker recommended one for him. He is starting a basketball team and has asked family members to donate balls instead of giving him gifts for his birthday, and is waiting for permission from the director of correctional services to start the team. Carl says Pistorius and his family are still hoping he will be released to house arrest but they are taking it moment by moment:
There are surely desires in his heart, and over time they’ll change. But he now lives moment by moment. There’s no fairy tale.
June Steenkamp tells Outlook on the BBC World Service that she thinks Pistorius terrorized her daughter. (Program link here). She says Pistoirus’s apology ‘meant nothing,’ and she ignored it. The family were worried when Reeva Steenkamp moved to Johannesburg from Port Elizabeth as the capital is considered much more dangerous, and she says Pistorius tried to control Reeva and make her into ‘arm candy’. The family also were evicted from their house after media revealed they had no money, and this is why they took payments from Pistorius including during the trial. She says she will set up the Reeva Steenkamp Foundation for Abused Women:
We’re going to build shelters for women, and they’ll be taken care of, and be taught to support themselves with different ways and means, so they can live a life without the abuser, and support themselves without having to depend on someone who’s beating you up every night.
Reeva would have loved to do that. And I will do it for her.
Pistorius reportedly can’t be considered eligible for the early release program from the Kgosi Mampuru II prison as the electronic tagging devices can’t be used with his prostheses. A prisoner with a prosthetic leg can leave the leg somewhere and move around undetected.
Spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority:
We are appealing it, both conviction and sentence.
The spokesman says prosecutors will file papers in court, and more details about their appeal arguments will be available at that time.
Pistorius’s legal bills are reported to total 17 million South African rand, or about $1.6 million. A source says around $915,000 is still owing, raising questions over who will defend him if the prosecution appeals. Pistorius is said to have sold his $450,000 house to pay the costs. His legal team, which included two senior barristers and three additional lawyers attending the court, is rumored to have cost as much as $8,700 a day, and hired experts to help defend the case including an American forensic animation company called The Evidence Room.
Henke Pistorius is the first family member to visit Oscar in the prison wing of Kgosi Mpuru II prison. Oscar’s sister, Aimee, his uncle, Arnold, and brother, Carl, arrive later to visit. Carl is accompanied by a female relative who isn’t identified. Henke and Aimee carry grocery bags and a black shoulder bag to the visit, which takes place behind a thick glass partition.
June Steenkamp says she believes that Reeva was planning to leave Pistorius the night she was shot. She says Reeva had confided that she had not had sex with Pistorius:
She wouldn’t want to sleep with Oscar if she wasn’t sure. I believe their relationship was coming to an end. In her heart of hearts, she didn’t think it was making either of them happy…Her clothes were packed. There is no doubt in our minds: she had decided to leave Oscar that night.
She says a fight may have occurred:
There is no doubt in our minds that something went horribly wrong, something upset her so terribly that she hid behind a locked door with two mobile phones.
Pistorius is reportedly in shock and cried himself to sleep on his first night in the jail. He has been under strict supervision since arriving (Oct. 21) in case of an emergency. He was briefly introduced to the other nine inmates on the hospital wing. His routine involves a wakeup call at 5:30am, breakfast at 7 a.m., lunch at noon and dinner at 4 p.m. President of the South African Prisoners’ Organisation for Human Rights, Golden Miles Bhudu:
It’s no picnic. Once the doors shut that’s it. Other than a little grill bar window next to the cell door, through which to talk, there’s no other way of communicating at night. When you talk from your cell you have to scream. For people to have heard him crying, it would have been very loud.
Pistorius spends his first night in prison in a single cell in the medical wing of the Kgosi Mampuru facility. Pistorius is housed in a wing of the prison along with eight other inmates with disabilities. Correctional services spokesman Manelisi Wolela:
Now the hospital section of the center accommodates two offenders with prosthetic legs, two blind offenders and five offenders on wheelchairs: Nine in total.
Pistorius is given a three-year sentence suspended for five years for discharging a firearm in a restaurant in Johannesburg. The sentences will run concurrently.
The ANC Womens League says it plans to appeal the verdict:
ANCWL has consistently campaigned for harsh sentences in all cases of violence against women and children. As an organisation we are highly concerned with the high level of femicide in our country. Statistics indicate that a woman is killed in every eight hours in South Africa.
This situation is abnormal and should be unacceptable to every citizen. We would want to see this verdict being expunged as a precedent setting case in our statutes.
Pistorius will undergo a health assessment within six hours of arriving at the prison, to determine whether he needs to be housed in the hospital wing. He is not expected to be housed in the general population.
The International Paralympic Committee confirms that Pistorius will be banned from competing for the full five years, even if he is released to house arrest. He won’t be able to run at the Rio Olympics.
The rules state that if someone is given a five-year sentence by a court, they must serve that sentence before returning to competition
He will be 33 by the time of the Tokyo Games and it is unclear if he will be in competitive shape. He also may not be allowed to travel freely to other countries.
Judge Masipa says in the ruling:
It would be a sad day for this country if an impression was created that there is one law for the poor and disadvantaged and another for the rich and famous.
Righteous anger should not cloud judgment.
The defense says that the law requires him to serve about 10 months in prison, after which he can be placed under house arrest.
Pistorius’s uncle, Arnold, addresses reporters outside the court and confirms the family will not appeal:
We accept the judgment. Oscar will embrace this opportunity to pay back to society.
The amount of time Pistorius will spend in prison is disputed. The prosecution says it will be two years, while the defense says he will be eligible for house arrest after 10 months.
The court will reconvene Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. local time (3:30 a.m. Eastern) for closing arguments in aggravation and mitigation of sentence. Judge Masipa is not expected to hand down her decision until next week.
Steenkamp’s family are seeking a custodial sentence, and say the defense’s call for community service and house arrest is inappropriate. Her cousin, Kim Martin:
[Pistorius] needs to pay for what he has done … My family are not people who are seeking revenge, we just feel that to shoot somebody behind a door that is unarmed, that is harmless, needs sufficient punishment
The court hears that Pistorius has been paying monthly sums of 6,000 rand ($550) to Steenkamp’s parents as they had been reliant on her earnings before her death. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel:
Those monies will be paid back to the accused in full, every cent.
It also hears that Pistorius had sold his car – his last asset – for 375,000 rand and paid the money into the trust account of June Steenkamp’s lawyer. Nel:
She rejects that, she doesn’t want blood money.
The Steenkamps’ lawyer, Dup de Bruyn, says the payments began in March 2013:
When Reeva passed away, they [the Steenkamp family] were in financial straits. I conveyed this to Mr Pistorius’s lawyer. He came back with an offer of 6,000 a month for 18 months. When he started paying, we only thought it fair to make that public, but the request was from Oscar through his lawyers to keep it confidential. We honoured that request.
Defence witness Joel Maringa, a social worker in South African prisons, says Pistorius should clean a museum in Pretoria for 16 hours a month as part of correctional supervision in place of a jail term. Maringa:
We are basically saying that Oscar Pistorius should not be destroyed … he will get an opportunity to restructure and modify his behaviour
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel responds that Maringa does not understand the seriousness of the charge, after gaining an admission that he does not have an in-depth knowledge of the case.
A court-appointed prison social worker says Pistorius’ punishment for culpable homicide should include three years of house arrest. The recommendation was given at the sentencing hearing. Also speaking at the hearing, Pistorius’ therapist says the athlete is traumatized by Steenkamp’s death, describing signs of post-traumatic stress during their sessions. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel calls the punishment
The International Paralympic Committee says Pistorius will be allowed to return to competition in the future. IPC media and communications director Craig Spence:
Oscar’s done a great deal for the Paralympic movement, he’s been an inspiration to millions, but obviously his priority now is to see [what] the judge decides. And then if he wishes to resume his athletics career then we wouldn’t step in his way, we would allow him to compete again in the future.
IPC chief executive Xavier Gonzalez:
The trial has not had any negative impact on the Paralympic movement. Since London with Sochi in 2014 we have seen an incredible growth in all aspects of our activities and we look forward very positively to Rio and Pyeong Chang. Oscar was a fundamental ambassador of the Paralympic movement in the period between 2008 and 2012. Since then the Paralympic movement has many other ambassadors and many other athletes that have been recognised globally and we believe that will continue growing as we lead up to 2016.
Pistroius’s aunt and uncle, Arnold and Lois, and his media spokesperson Anneliese Burgess make a statement following the verdict of culpable homicide. They thank Judge Thokozile Masipa for clearing Pistorius of murder, and say the family has always believed his version of events and that the verdict lifts a burden for them. They extend condolences to the family of Steenkamp:
There are no victors in this. We as a family remain deeply affected by the devastating tragedy … It won’t bring Reeva back but our hearts still go out for her family and friends.
Arnold says that the family will make no further comment while legal proceedings remain ongoing.
Judge Thokozile Masipa and her two deputies, Barry Roux and Gerrie Nel, agree to a sentencing date for Pistorius of Oct. 13. Masipa asks Roux to talk to Arnold Pistorius, Oscar’s uncle who he has been staying with throughout the trial, to make sure there are ‘no further complications’ when the court resumes for sentencing.
Pistorius is found guilty of culpable homicide in the Pretoria high court. The verdict means that he could face a judgement ranging from a suspended sentence up to 15 years in a South African prison. Judge Thokozile Masipa says that he was negligent when he fired four shots through a locked bathroom door in his house at what he believed was an intruder, killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp:
A reasonable person, with a similar disability, would have foreseen that the person behind the door would be killed, and the accused failed to take action to avoid this.
Pistorius turns to his family after the verdict is read. Members of Steenkamp’s family comfort each other. Judge Masipa clarifies that although the state does not have to prove a motive for murder, there is no evidence in front of the court to say that Pistorius wanted to kill Steenkamp. He is acquitted of two unrelated charges of firing a firearm through a sunroof and of illegal possession of ammunition, but found guilty on a third of illegally discharging a firearm in a crowded restaurant in January 2013, weeks before Steenkamp’s death.
Judge Masipa adjourns the hearing in the Pretoria high court until Friday, delaying her final verdict by a day. After ruling Pistorius not guilty of premeditated murder and murder without premeditation, the next most serious charge he faces is culpable homicide (manslaughter). Prior to the adjournment she says that a ‘reasonable person’ would have foreseen that the person inside the locked toilet cubicle – which the defence says Pistorius believed was an intruder – would have been killed by firing through the door:
[Pistorius acted] too hastily and used excessive force … It is clear his conduct was negligent.
Judge Thokozile Masipa rules in the Pretoria high court that Pistorius is not guilty of murder:
Viewed in its totality, the evidence failed to establish that the accused had the requisite intention to kill the deceased, let alone with premeditation. The accused therefore cannot be found guilty of murder.
A verdict of murder by dolus eventualis (murder without premeditation) would require establishing that Pistorius foresaw that his actions in firing four shots into the door could have led to the death of the person behind it, but went ahead anyway. Pistorius’s testimony is that he believed Steenkamp was in the bedroom, and his account of this has remained consistent since the night of the shooting. Judge Masipa:
[It is] highly improbable the accused would have made this up so quickly.
Judge Thokozile Masipa rules Pistorius is not guilty of premeditated murder in the Pretoria high court hearing over the shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp. The ruling comes after a lengthy reading of the evidence supporting the verdict. Pistorius had faced a mandatory life sentence if found guilty, with no possibility of parole for at least 25 years. With the court still in session, he can still be found guilty of murder, or of other charges relating to firearm possession. In her ruling Judge Masipa says the evidence for premeditated murder was ‘purely circumstantial.’
Pistorius says that he wants tougher rules from the IPC on blades, claiming that Oliveira’s blades are too long after he takes the gold in 21.45 seconds to Pistorius’s 21.52. Pistorius:
We are not running in a fair race here. I don’t know how you can come back, watching the replay, from eight metres behind on the 100 to win. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Not taking away from Alan’s performance, but these guys are a lot taller and you can’t compete. I gave it my best. The guys are just running ridiculous times and they’re able to do so.
The length of my blades is all right. I went through all the procedures with the referees. I believe Pistorius also knows that. He is not a bad loser, he is a great athlete. I am just sad he said my blades were too big. For me, he is a really great idol and to hear that from a great idol is difficult.
After the prosecution and defense end their final arguments Judge Thokozile Masipa announces she will give a verdict on 11 September 2014.
After the closing arguments of his murder trial, Pistorius sends out a tweet:
Thank you to my loved ones and those that have been there for me, who have picked me up and helped me through everything.
— Oscar Pistorius (@OscarPistorius) August 8, 2014
The five-month long trial concludes today, and Judge Thokozile Masipa and two assessors will begin deliberations immediately. The judge will announce the verdict on September 11, 2014.
Carl Pistorius, brother of Oscar, is involved in a head on collision in South Africa. Carl has been seen regularly during his brother’s murder trial. It is understood that a car swerved out in front of him colliding with his vehicle. Mr Pistorius is believed to have suffered numerous fractures.
The defense in the Pistorius case rests. The judge orders closing arguments to commence on August 7, 2014. This date will allow time for the lawyers to read through a transcript of the trial that is over 4000 pages long, covering 39 days of trial.
A video of the paralympic athlete re-enacting the night he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, airs on Australia’s Channel Seven. The video was filmed by The Evidence Room, a US company specializing in forensic animation of crime scenes, which was engaged by the athlete’s defense team. Brian Webber, a member of the defense team, accuses Channel Seven of obtaining the footage illegally while claiming that The Evidence Room breached their non-disclosure agreement.
For the family, the airing of this footage constitutes a staggering breach of trust and an invasion of the family’s privacy. It has come to our attention that Channel Seven purchased this footage unlawfully. In addition, during our engagement with Channel Seven, we received an undertaking that they would not air any of the material before the end of the trial.
Pistorius’ lawyer, Brian Webber, criticizes Australia’s Channel Seven for showing a video of Pistorius re-enacting the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Dr. Wayne Derman tells the court a list of difficulties that double amputees deal with daily, as his defense team builds an argument that he behaved reasonably the day his girlfriend was shot and killed in their home:
The saddest thing I have learned through my six years of working with athletes with disability is that disability never sleeps. It’s there when you go to sleep at night and it’s there when you wake up in the morning. It affects nearly every aspect of your life.
Pistorius’ lawyer, Kenny Oldwadge says there are “two Oscars,” one of whom is a global sports star and one of whom is “vulnerable” and “scared.” Using a slang for ” in trouble,” he quoted his as saying:
I am stuffed without my legs on.
The team of doctors who have been evaluating Pistorius’ mental health concludes that he is depressed, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and is suicidal. They also say he does not appear to have a history of abnormal aggression or psychopathic tendencies linked to “rage-type murders in intimate relations.”
A psychiatric assessment finds Pistorious was not mentally incapacitated when his girlfriend was shot and killed in their home in February, 2013. The report by a panel of independent doctors states:
Mr Pistorius was capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his act.
Had he been found to be mentally incapacitated at the time of the incident the trial would have ended with a verdict of not guilty by reason of mental illness.
Pistorius may regain his sponsorship contract with Ossur to wear the company’s Blade prosthetics if he is acquitted in his murder trial. CFO Sveinn Solvason:
Everything is possible in that regard. I don’t want to rule anything out. We just have to see how these things develop.
The comments come as Ossur confirms that it has dropped Pistorius from its roster amid the ongoing trial over the fatal shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
[Pistorius] had a different status. He was a world famous athlete and we perhaps did more for him than for others.
Pistorius’s endorsements from Nike, Oakley, and other companies are estimated at $2 million a year.
Pistorius settles out of court as his legal team advises he can’t fight civil and legal cases at the same time. He agrees to pay Taylo-Memmory’s legal fees and drop the $200,000 counter-suit against her. Taylor-Memmory:
I agreed to it because I was so tired of it weighing me down
Nike drops its sponsorship deal as well as pulling an ad campaign with the tagline:
I am the bullet in the chamber
In light of the recent allegations, Oakley is suspending its contract with Oscar Pistorius, effective immediately.