Breaking news surfaced from Johannesburg today regarding the murder trial of South African Olympic athlete, Oscar Pistorius. A South African court found that the man is not guilty of premeditated murder in the fatal shooting of his girlfriend. However, it is very possible that the athlete will be found guilty for culpable homicide at a later time.
Accused of Murdering His Girlfriend on Valentine's Day
Pistorius was charged with premeditated murder and second-degree murder by prosecutors in South Africa, but on Thursday, the judge determined that prosecutors had not provided sufficient evidence of second degree murder or premeditated murder. During the announcement, the Olympic runner cried and held his head in his hands. Nevertheless, the judge also said that it was still possible for the man to be convicted of manslaughter.
The 27-year-old legless athlete was nicknamed the Blade Runner during his Olympic heyday due to the springy blade-like appendages he used. Pistorius' girlfriend -- Reeva Steenkamp -- was shot and killed on Valentine's Day 2013.
Pistorius Says the Shooting Was an Accident
According to prosecutors, Pistorius murdered his girlfriend by shooting a firearm through a locked bathroom stall four times. Prosecutors claim that the man's girlfriend was taking refuge in the stall because of an argument with the man. Pistorius, on the other hand, offers a different version of the facts. He says that he discharged his weapon into the bathroom door because he thought a home intruder was hiding in the stall. He said that he believed his girlfriend was actually in bed during the incident.
In this case, the judge's ruling focused on the fact that state prosecutors had not succeeded in proving beyond reasonable doubt that premeditated murder had occurred. This legal standard exists in the United States as well. Regardless of the severity and nature of the crime, an accused individual will be entitled to defend him or herself against charges. Barring the prosecution's ability to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt, the accused will not be found guilty of the charges and will walk free of the crime.
Whether Pistorius will ultimately be found guilty of murder in this case will remain to be seen. The man claims that he was so distraught after realizing he mistakenly shot his girlfriend that he beat the bathroom door down with a cricket bat and carried her bloodied body downstairs to seek medical help while she was still alive.
Do you think he is guilty?
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