A South African judge on Friday found Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide, or negligent killing, in the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and declared him not guilty of murder and premeditated murder.
Judge Thokozile Masipa said that the double-amputee athlete was not guilty of murder, as prosecutors had alleged. She ordered Pistorius to stand before she delivered the verdict.
The sentence for a culpable homicide conviction is at the judge’s discretion, and it can range from a suspended sentence and a fine to up to 15 years in prison. Sentencing was to be announced at a later date.
Pistorius was also convicted on one of three unrelated firearm charges. The judge ruled that the athlete was guilty of unlawfully firing a gun in a public place when a friend’s pistol he was handling discharged under a table in a restaurant in Johannesburg in early 2013 weeks before Steenkamp’s killing.
Pistorius was acquitted on two other gun charges, including a count of firing a gun in public and a count of illegal possession of ammunition in the Pretoria home where he killed Steenkamp.
On Thursday, Judge Masipa said there was not enough evidence to support a murder conviction for Pistorius’ killing of Steenkamp. Pistorius fatally shot Steenkamp in his home on February 14, 2013. He said he mistook her for an intruder, while the prosecution said he killed her intentionally after an argument.
On Friday, armed security officers stood at each of the three entrances to the courtroom, while others stood near the red-robed judge, as she explained her verdicts from her dais overlooking the court.