Oscar Pistorius: the Rise and Fall

Oscar Pistorius, who shot four times through a closed bathroom door and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, has been found guilty of murder by a South African appeals court.

The courts initially acquitted him of murder, yet charged him with manslaughter, a less serious offense.  Pistorius served just over a year in prison before controversially being moved to house arrest for his five-year sentence.

Originally the multi-gold winning Paralympic sprinter-turned-Olympian became famous for being the first amputee sprinter to compete at an Olympics in 2012. His story captivated the hearts of millions as he was a double amputee from early childhood yet overcame incredible disability to become one of the fastest men in the world.   

His success and fame all came crashing down in February 2013 after the shooting. In one of the most widely publicized trials in history, Pistorius’ lawyer argued that the shooting was an accident as he believed there was an intruder in his home during the night and that is why he fired shots into the bathroom door.

Steenkamp’s family said that the couple had gotten into a fight that night and that Pistorius had murdered her.  

The original verdict of manslaughter was appealed by Steenkamp’s family, and on Dec. 3 the South African Supreme Court of Appeal overturned the original ruling and charged Pistorius with murder, which results in a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.  

The appeal court ruled that according to South African law, by firing four shots into the bathroom door, Pistorius killed without any immediate threat to himself, resulting in a murder verdict, regardless of intent.

Pistorius awaits his sentencing with little hope of ever running professionally again.