Pistorius Denied Murder Appeal by Top South African Court

  • `This is the end of the road,' criminal-defense lawyer says
  • Paralympian gold medalist to be sentenced on April 18

South Africa’s highest court denied Oscar Pistorius leave to appeal his murder conviction for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013.

The Constitutional Court delivered the decision on Thursday, Luvuyo Mfaku, a spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority, said by phone. Pistorius, 29, will appear in court on April 18 to be sentenced, Mfaku said.

The Paralympic gold medalist could face a 15-year jail term for the murder of Steenkamp after the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned a manslaughter verdict on Dec. 3 that a High Court judge handed down in October 2014. Pistorius shot Steenkamp with four hollow-point bullets through a locked toilet door in his bathroom in the early hours of the morning. The athlete said he thought she was an intruder.

“This is the end of the road for Oscar,” Marius du Toit, a criminal-defense lawyer at Du Toit Attorneys in Pretoria, the capital, said by phone. “The murder conviction will stand and there is nothing that he can do to change that.”

Anneliese Burgess, a spokeswoman for Pistorius, declined to comment. His brother, Carl, wrote “shattered” on his Twitter account.

While Pistorius may receive a lesser sentence, such as 12 years, due to the unique circumstances of the case, he will have to serve at least 75 percent of it before applying for parole, Du Toit said. Pistorius spent a year in jail on the manslaughter ruling and had been under house arrest since October, following a 10-month trial broadcast live on radio and TV.

Known as the Blade Runner because of his J-shaped prosthetic blades, Pistorius won six Paralympic gold medals and was the first double-amputee runner to compete at the Olympic Games. He was born without fibula in both legs, which were amputated when he was 11 months old.

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