Pistorius convicted of murder by appeals court

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - A South African appeals court on Thursday convicted Oscar Pistorius of murder, overturning a lower court's conviction of the double-amputee Olympian on the lesser charge of manslaughter for shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to death in 2013.

Justice Lorimer Eric Leach of the Supreme Court of Appeal delivered the ruling by the five-judge appeals court in Bloemfontein and directed the trial court, the North Gauteng High Court, to impose sentence.

"The accused ought to have been found guilty of murder," Leach said to the courtroom, in which Steenkamp's mother sat.

A 15-year prison sentence is the minimum punishment for murder in South Africa. However, the law allows for a lesser sentence to be imposed in exceptional circumstances.

Pistorius was placed under house arrest in October after serving one year in prison. He had been sentenced to five years in prison for manslaughter. His lawyers can also argue that he should be shown leniency because he is disabled.

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