Thursday, September 11, 2014

Oscar Pistorius found not guilty of murder — awaits verdict on manslaughter charge: Report

Oscar Pistorius has been cleared of all murder charges over the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He will still have to wait for a verdict on a less serious manslaughter charge.

The Paralympian sat sobbing in a packed courtroom with tears streaming down his cheeks while Judge Thokozile Masipa delivered her verdicts Thursday morning, reported the Daily Mail.

Pistorius had been accused of deliberately shooting the 30-year-old model during a violent incident at his Pretoria home on Valentine's Day last year.

But he had always maintained — often through bouts of wailing during his six-month trial — that he shot the law graduate in self-defense after mistaking her for an intruder.

In coming to her decision, Masipa described the 27-year-old as a "very poor" and "evasive" witness.

But she said those circumstances did not mean the track star was necessarily guilty of murder and pre-meditated murder in a case she said was based entirely on circumstantial evidence.

"The state has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of pre-meditated murder," Masipa told the Pretoria High Court.

"There are just not enough facts to support such a finding."

She then proceeded to absolve Pistorius of the lesser charge of murder without pre-planning.

"Clearly he did not subjectively foresee this as a possibility that he would kill the person behind the door — let alone the deceased — as he thought she was in the bedroom," she told the crowded courtroom.

Masipa has yet to decide on a lesser charge of culpable homicide — similar to manslaughter — and a variety of weapons charges.

Appearing tense with a green vomit bucket by his side in the dock, the world-class sprinter looked on quietly as Masipa called Pretoria's High Court to order at the start of the hearing.

During her summary of the case, Masipa dismissed a series of heated text messages between the couple which the prosecution claimed was evidence they were in a volatile relationship.

Whatever the final verdict, the one-time poster boy for disabled sports will likely see an end to his sparkling career in track and field.

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