In something of a stunning move, a South African appeals court on Thursday convicted Oscar Pistorius of murder, overturning a lower court’s conviction of manslaughter for shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a bathroom door in 2013.

Per ESPN.com:
Justice Lorimer Eric Leach of the Supreme Court of Appeal delivered the ruling by the five-judge tribunal in Bloemfontein and directed the trial court, the North Gauteng High Court, to impose sentence. He did not specify when that should happen. The former track star is currently under house arrest at his uncle’s mansion in Pretoria.

“The accused ought to have been found guilty of murder on the basis that he had fired the fatal shots with criminal intent,” Leach said to the courtroom, in which Steenkamp’s mother sat.

A 15-year prison sentence is the minimum punishment for murder in South Africa. However, the law allows for a lesser sentence to be imposed in exceptional circumstances.

Pistorius was placed under house arrest in October after serving one year in prison. He had been sentenced to five years in prison for manslaughter and got out early in line with corrections department regulations. The trial court also can consider whether he should be shown leniency because he is disabled and is a first-time offender.
Pistorius killed Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day after he insisted he thought she was an intruder behind the door of his restroom.

The prosecution countered by saying Pistorius shot Steenkamp during an argument.

By Glenn Erby

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