Oscar Pistorius Is Sentenced For Murder, But He Got Off Relatively Easy

In what was a long-coming and sadly underwhelming development, Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to six years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend, 30-year-old Reeva Steenkamp. The murder took place back in February 2013 when 29-year-old Pistorius reportedly shot Steenkamp four times through the bathroom door at his South African home on Valentines Day morning. He was originally found guilty of manslaughter in his seven-month trial back in 2014 and handed a pretty light sentence of five years, with his defense claiming he shot Steenkamp out of confusion and fear, mistaking her for an intruder. Those on the prosecution claimed the shooting happened after the couple got into an argument and that he had a pattern of violence and abuse.

While he immediately went to prison on his original manslaughter charge, his charges were just changed to murder due to a December court appeal and he was sentenced to six years, which is nine whole years less than the 15-year minimum sentencing for murder in South Africa.

Besides the obvious advantage that goes along with his status as an Olympic athlete, Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled that Pistorius’ displays of remorse, as well as his inability to fire a warning shot and his “anxious nature,” contributed to the light sentence.

While it’s a step in the right direction that he was finally charged with murder and the mental gymnastics of claiming it was a complete accident have lessened, many people are rightfully upset by the bullshit sentencing. The obvious influence of his wealth and status combined with the fact that spousal abuse in South Africa (and let’s be real, in all of the world) is still largely swept under the rug make the light sentencing unsurprising, but no less shitty.

As you can guess, Pistorius’ family and supporters fully believe he was acting out of confusion and self-defense (despite the fact that she was unarmed and had literally nothing to hurt him with) and have expressed admiration for his “bravery” and remorse.

While he’s already served a year of his sentencing, Pistorius is required to serve at least half of the six years before there is the possibility of parole. Both the defense and prosecution can technically appeal, but the legal team for Pistorius said they have no intention to do so. The prosecutors haven’t ruled that possibility out yet, and have two more weeks to make a final decision. Godspeed.