Having remained silent throughout his months-long trial, the judge in the Oscar Pistorius murder case reached a verdict to decide the Olympic athlete's fate Thursday:
Pistorius cannot be found guilty of intentionally killing Reeva Steenkamp, the judge ruled. As such, under South African law, Pistorius will not be found guilty of "murder."
The proceedings continue, and Pistorius faces other possible verdicts, including culpable homicide, that could still land him behind bars. But not for murder.
The verdict came from Judge Thokozile Masipa alone, as South Africa does not have jury trials. The 66-year-old said she did not come to her decision lightly.
Pistorius gunned down girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013, in what defense lawyers say was a terrible mistake, believing she was an intruder.
State prosecutors argued it was premeditated murder, but a lesser murder charge or negligent killing, both of which call for years in jail, were also on the table.
Experts pointed to Masipa's record of tough action against criminals who victimized women as indicators that she would not be easily swayed by Pistorius' dubious story.