Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee Olympian described by a judge as a “fallen hero,” was sentenced today to six years in a South African prison for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a ruling viewed by some as too lenient, reports the Associated Press. Judge Thokozile Masipa appeared to anticipate criticism of a jail term that fell far short of the normal 15 years for murder under South African law, declaring: “Our courts are courts of law, not courts of public opinion.”
Pistorius, who shot Steenkamp through the door of a toilet cubicle in his home in 2013, was asked to stand and face Masipa as she announced his sentence in Pretoria. The sentencing was the latest act of a three-and-a-half year legal drama that has often played out on live television and shown the fall from grace of a runner once viewed as an inspiration to many for overcoming his disability. Both of Pistorius’ legs were amputated below the knees when he was 11 months old because of a congenital defect.