A South African appeals court ruled that Oscar Pistorius is guilty of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius had originally been charged with manslaughter in a lower court. His case is being referred to by many as a tragedy that sounds like something that could have been penned by Shakespeare.
Pistorius, also given the nickname "Blade Runner" because of the prosthetic blades on which he ran during his time in the Olympics, has claimed from the start that Steenkamp's death was an accident. She was shot while behind the locked bathroom door in Pistorius' home on February 14 of 2013. There were multiple shots fired.
Pistorius has claimed that he thought that the person behind the door was a burglar. His father, Henke, claims that South African police aren't the most attentive organization on which people can depend for their protection. Most people earn less than $65 per month, and many people own several guns for their own protection. Henke adds, "You can't rely on the police. When you wake up in the middle of the night, and crime is so endemic in South Africa, what do you do if somebody is in the house? Do you think it is one of your family? Of course you don't."
Even so, there is a law in South Africa which is working against Pistorius' claim of self-defense. The law notes that a person must determine that there is a real threat to their life before they are permitted to use a gun in self-defense.
Pistorius had a rather rough start in life. He was born without a fibula in each leg, and so when he was 11-months-old, his parents followed the recommendation of medical professionals and allowed them to amputate his legs just below the knees. When he was 13-months-old, he was fitted with prosthetic legs.
His mother was apparently a strong source for encouraging him to believe in himself. One of his favorite stories about his mother is from his childhood. He is the second child of three, and one morning, while he and his brother were getting ready to go out and play, his mother said something that just really stuck with him and apparently helped to keep him from feeling sorry for himself. She said to his brother Carl, "You go put your shoes on." Then she said to Oscar, "And you put your legs on. And that's the last I want to hear of it."
She also often told him that those who try to accomplish great things and don't get the results that they want are not the losers. It's the ones who sit on the sidelines and never try that are the losers.
His world apparently fell apart for a while when she passed away, and he was only 15-years-old. Training for the Olympics and competing in 2012 apparently helped him to find a new direction in life.
Regarding how this sad situation involving his former girlfriend will end, he could be sentenced to prison for up to 15 years. It's more likely that his sentence will be lighter because of his disability, and he doesn't have an extensive criminal record.