Oscar Pistorius Sentenced to Maximum of Five Years in Prison For Culpable Homicide

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A South African judge has sentenced Oscar Pistorius to a maximum of five years in prison in the 2013 culpable homicide case he was convicted in.

The former Olympic and Paralymic sprinter infamously shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to death at his home, which he said was a tragic accident.

Pistorius' defense team opined that he would likely serve 10 months, or one-sixth of the term handed down by Judge Thokozile Masipa, in prison.

After that, he would serve the remainder under house arrest.

However, a spokesman for South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority said that "The Blade Runner" would likely serve 20 months behind bars.

Pistorius was found not guilty of murder, the most serious charge he faced, but was also given a three-year suspended sentence on a firearms charge.

Masipa based the culpable homicide verdict and subsequent sentence on what she called the "gross negligence" of Pistorius, who shot Steenkamp multiple times.

He killed her through a toilet cubicle door in his home, which Pistorius testified was an accident because he mistook his girlfriend for a nighttime intruder.

"Having regard to the circumstances in the matter, I am of the view that a non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community," Masipa said.

"On the other hand," the judge, who decided the verdict alone, said, "a long sentence would also not be appropriate either, as it would lack the element of mercy.

"What may appear to be justice to the general public may not be justice," she lamented, adding that, "society cannot always get what they want."

Masipa had a range of options for Pistorius' punishment, ranging from a suspended sentence and a fine, to sending him to prison for up to 15 years.

Clearly, she felt that neither extreme - both of which were pushed for by the respective attorneys - was appropriate and tried to balance the two.

Pistorius stood as the judge announced his sentence, then left the courtroom and walked down to a holding cells. His sentence is to begin immediately.

Reeva Steenkamp's mother, June, said the sentence was a measure of closure, but added that full closure is impossible "unless you can magic her back."

The courtroom was packed, reflecting heightened media and public interest ahead of the sentencing, and many police officers stood guard in the aisles.

No incidents were reported Tuesday.

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