Oscar Pistorius Sentence: Steenkamp Family, Twitter React To 5-Year Term, Possibility Of Quick Release

The announcement Tuesday of South African Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius’ five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide in the death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was met with relief by her family on Tuesday, according to reports. But critics took to Twitter to express disappointment with the ruling, which could allow Pistorius to be released into house arrest within 10 months.

“It doesn’t matter. He’s going to pay for something,” Steenkamp’s mother, June, told Sky News regarding the possibility of Pistorius’ early release. When asked if she felt justice was served, June Steenkamp responded with a simple “yes.”

Dup De Bruyn, the Steenkamp family’s lawyer, expressed similar support for Judge Thokozile Masipa’s ruling. “Justice was served,” he said, adding that the court had given Pistorius “the right sentence,” according to Reuters.

“Oscar will embrace this opportunity to pay back to society,” Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold, told reporters after the ruling, according to CNN. “As an uncle, I hope Oscar will start his own healing process as he walks down the path of restoration. As a family, we are ready to support and guide Oscar as he serves his sentence.”

After the sentencing, Pistorius’ brother, Carl, tweeted a photo of them together as children, along with a statement of support for his brother. “Together in Christ we are STRONG, in Christ there can never be defeat,” he wrote.

Steenkamp, a law school graduate and former model, was shot three times and killed on Valentine’s Day, 2013. Throughout his trial, Pistorius remained adamant that he believed he was defending himself from an intruder when he fired through a bathroom door.

Pistorius was acquitted in September of a more serious premeditated murder, but was found guilty of culpable homicide, a charge which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years. Prosecutors had hoped for a minimum sentence of 10 years.

News of Pistorius’ five-year sentence led many Twitter users to express outrage at the judge’s leniency. A roundup of these Twitter reactions can be viewed below.

Jolene Creighton

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