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Oscar Pistorius Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Shooting Death of His Girlfriend

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Story by the Associated Press; curated by Oliver Darcy.

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by a South African judge who cited the "gross negligence" he showed when he shot her multiple times through a toilet cubicle door in his home.

Judge Thokozile Masipa also sentenced the double-amputee Olympian to three years in prison for unlawfully firing a gun in a restaurant in a separate incident weeks before Steenkamp's 2013 shooting death. She ordered that sentence to be wholly suspended.

South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock at the High Court in Pretoria, on October 21, 2014. Pistorius will finally learn his sentence for shooting dead his girlfriend on Valentine's Day last year, bringing an end to a gripping seven-month trial. (THEMBA HADEBE/AFP/Getty Images)

Masipa delivered her ruling after reviewing prosecution arguments for a tough sentence as well as the defense case for a more lenient punishment for Pistorius.

Pistorius killed Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year, shooting her through a toilet door in his home. Pistorius testified that the shooting was an accident because he mistook his girlfriend for a nighttime intruder.

Masipa convicted him of culpable homicide, or negligent killing, but acquitted him of murder.

Oscar Pistorius arrives in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. Pistorius will finally learn his fate when judge Thokozile Masipais is expected to announce the Olympic runner's sentence for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp (AP Photo/Herman Verwey, Pool)

Pistorius stood as the judge announced his sentence, and then left the courtroom and walked down a flight of stairs that lead to holding cells. His sentence starts immediately.

Legal experts said the section Judge Masipa quoted when she handed down Pistorius' sentence provides that his prison term be a maximum of five years and the runner could be eligible for house arrest after serving eight months in jail.

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