Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius looks on ahead of his manslaughter sentencing hearing for the 2013 killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, October 16, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
JOHANNESBURG – South African paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius will be sentenced to jail on Wednesday for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013, but for how long depends largely on how the judge will weigh the role of his disability in the killing.
Pistorius, 29, was found guilty of murdering Steenkamp by an appeals court last December. He had initially received a five-year sentence for a manslaughter conviction in 2014, a ruling that was decried as too lenient by women’s groups.
The athlete had the lower part of his legs amputated when he was a baby, and his lawyers have argued that his physical disability and mental stress should be considered as mitigating circumstances to reduce his sentence.
During the hearings, his defence lawyer asked Pistorius to walk on his stumps to show the difficulty he faced dealing with the threat of an intruder.
But the state says he has shown no remorse and has called for him to receive no less than the minimum sentence for murder.
Some rights groups have said Pistorius, a wealthy white man and international celebrity, has received preferential treatment compared to others without his status or wealth.
Pistorius was freed from prison last October after almost a year behind bars to serve out the remainder of his term under house arrest on his uncle’s house in a wealthy suburb of Pretoria.