Pistorius found not guilty of murdering girlfriend
Pretoria: “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius was found not guilty of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp today, a shock decision that left the South African celebrity athlete sobbing with emotion in the dock.
The high-profile trial was adjourned until tomorrow when the 27-year-old Paralympian will hear whether he has been found guilty of culpable homicide, a lesser charge roughly equivalent to manslaughter.
“The state clearly has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder,” Judge Thokozile Masipa told the High Court in Pretoria.
“Viewed in its totality the evidence failed to establish that the accused had the requisite intention to kill the deceased let alone with premeditation,” she said.
The double amputee could still face anything from a suspended sentence to a lengthy prison stretch if found guilty of culpable homicide. Or he could be acquitted altogether.
Masipa’s introductory comments on the lesser count appeared to lean towards a guilty ruling.
“I am of the view that the accused acted too hastily and used excessive force. In the circumstances, it is clear that his conduct was negligent,” she said before adjourning the trial.
When he heard the judge clear him of murder, the Paralympian sprinter sat in the dock bowed and burying his head in his hands.
His sister Aimee rushed from the first row of the public gallery to hug her older brother, who was wiping tears from his eyes with a handkerchief.
The victim’s parents, Barry and June Steenkamp, left the courtroom with stony faces.
When asked if this is good news for Pistorius, his Aunt Lois replied, “It’s not the end you know, we’re still listening.”