Oscar Pistorius, the South African Paralympian who shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has been found guilty of murder on appeal.

Oscar Pistorius Guilty Of Murder

On Thursday morning, Pistorius’s culpable homicide conviction in Steenkamp’s death was overturned, replaced by a murder conviction. Judge Eric Leach and the other justices presiding over Pistorius’ case at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein were unanimous in their decision.

Leach, upon announcing the decision, observed of the case, “This case involves a human tragedy of Shakespearean proportions: a young man overcomes huge physical disabilities to reach Olympic heights as an athlete; in doing so he becomes an international celebrity; he meets a young woman of great natural beauty and a successful model; romance blossoms; and then, ironically on Valentine’s Day, all is destroyed when he takes her life.”

With the new conviction, Pistorius, who is currently under house arrest, faces a minimum of 15 years in prison.

In September 2014, Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide – a charge similar to manslaughter in the United States. Judge Thokozile Masipa had acquitted the athlete of all murder charges. Masipa did not feel as though the prosecution – led by Gerrie Nel – provided sufficient evidence to prove that Pistorius planned to shoot and kill Steenkamp or that he intentionally shot to kill whomever he believed was behind the bathroom door at his Pretoria, South Africa home.

The state appealed Masipa’s ruling, arguing that Pistorius should have been cognizant of the fact that firing through the closed door could result in the death of whomever was on the other side of it.

“In these circumstances, the accused must have foreseen and, therefore, did foresee that whoever was behind the toilet door might die but reconciled himself to that even occurring and gambled with that person’s life,” Leach explained in the new decision. “The identity of his victim is irrelevant to his guilt.”

A date for Pistorius’ sentencing hearing has not yet been set. It is possible that Pistorius could appeal the murder conviction, but only if it can be proved that the appeal justices violated his constitutional rights. It’s unknown if Pistorius plans to seek an appeal.

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