Criminal Justice

South Africa's top court ends Pistorius murder appeal; sentencing now looms

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The top court in South Africa has denied Oscar Pistorius leave to appeal his murder conviction in the 2013 shooting death of his girlfriend, law graduate and model Reeva Steenkamp.

A spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority said the Constitutional Court made the ruling Thursday, finding the appeal had “no prospect of success,” according to the BBC News and the Sydney Morning Herald.

That sets the stage for Pistorius to be sentenced in April, when the government could seek a prison term of 15 years or more.

A celebrated international track star, Pistorius said he shot Steenkamp unintentionally on Valentine’s Day in 2013, believing the person behind the bathroom door in his home was an intruder.

A trial judge apparently found his testimony persuasive, convicting Pistorius in 2014 of culpable homicide and sentencing him to a five-year prison term.

However, an appellate court in December upgraded the conviction to murder.

“This is the end of the road for Oscar. The murder conviction will stand, and there is nothing that he can do to change that,” attorney Marius du Toit told the Morning Herald. The criminal defense lawyer in Pretoria has frequently commented to the media on the case but apparently does not represent Pistorius.

Related coverage: “Oscar Pistorius acted ‘unlawfully,’ but he isn’t guilty of premeditated murder, judge says” “Pistorius to serve remaining sentence for law grad’s slaying on house arrest”

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