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Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison for the 2013 shooting death of his girlfriend, Judge Thokozile Masipa announced today. Masipa also handed down a suspended sentence of three years for a weapons charge.

Before announcing her decision, Masipa acknowledged that sentencing is “not a perfect exercise.”

“A non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community. But a long sentence would also not be appropriate, because it would lack mercy,” she said.

Pistorius was convicted last month of culpable homicide – comparable to manslaughter – in Reeva Steenkamp’s death. The conviction carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison with no minimum prescribed sentence.

He was found not guilty of a more serious premeditated murder charge.

Prosecutors had requested 10 years in prison for Pistorius, 27, who’s known as Blade Runner for his prosthetic legs. The South African athlete’s defense team suggested a sentence of house arrest.

The trial began in March and was marked by the athlete’s emotional outbursts – often sobbing and wailing in court as details of the shooting were discussed.


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