Watch Oscar Pistorius live murder trial verdict
Pistorius murder trial verdict
South Africa: A South African judge cleared Oscar Pistorius of all murder charges on Thursday, saying prosecutors had failed to prove the Olympic and Paralympic track star intended to kill his girlfriend Reeva Steenkam or an imagined intruder on Valentine's Day last year.

As judge Thokozile Masipa delivered her decision, Pistorius, who would have faced at least 25 years behind bars for premeditated murder, sat sobbing in the dock, tears streaming down his cheeks.

A verdict on the less serious charge of culpable homicide is still to come.

Although Masipa described the 27-year-old as a "very poor" and "evasive" witness, she said it did not mean the track star was necessarily guilty in a case she said was based entirely on circumstantial evidence.

"The state has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder," Masipa told the Pretoria High Court. "There are just not enough facts to support such a finding."

She then proceeded to absolve Pistorius, who said he shot model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp in the mistaken belief she was an intruder hiding in a toilet cubicle, of a lesser murder charge that falls short of a direct intention to kill.

"Clearly he did not subjectively foresee this as a possibility that he would kill the person behind the door - let alone the deceased - as he thought she was in the bedroom," she told the packed courtroom.

Although he has been cleared of the two murder charges, he could still be convicted of culpable homicide for the negligent or reckless killing of Steenkamp, hit by four 9mm rounds fired through the toilet door at Pistorius's luxury Pretoria home.
Culpable homicide carries up to 15 years in jail.

Alternatively the double-amputee could be acquitted, allowing him to leave the court and potentially resume his career as one of the biggest names in world athletics.
Judge Thokozile Masipa will declare on the charge of culpable homicide on Friday.
The verdict is the culmination of weeks of complex testimony and arguments from both sides.

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