Africa Oscar Pistorius arrives for sentencing

Oscar Pistorius arrives for sentencing

 

Oscar Pistorius escorted by police officers leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. Following the testimony hearing, Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to announce Pistorius' sentence on Tuesday after she found him guilty last month of culpable homicide for negligently killing Steenkamp, but acquitted him of murder. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Oscar Pistorius escorted by police officers leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. Following the testimony hearing, Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to announce Pistorius’ sentence on Tuesday after she found him guilty last month of culpable homicide for negligently killing Steenkamp, but acquitted him of murder. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

(AP) — Oscar Pistorius was surrounded by police officers as he walked into a South African courthouse Tuesday ahead of his sentencing for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Judge Thokozile Masipa will announce if the double-amputee Olympian goes to prison at the climax of the months-long trial involving one of the world’s most recognizable athletes and his Valentine’s Day shooting of his girlfriend.

Masipa has a range of options for Pistorius’ punishment after convicting him of culpable homicide, or negligent killing, in Steenkamp’s death, but acquitting him of murder. Masipa could issue a suspended sentence and a fine, meaning Pistorius would not go to jail. She could order him to go under house arrest, or she could send him to prison for up to 15 years.

Pistorius’ lawyers have argued for a three-year period of correctional supervision, where the runner would spend periods under house arrest and also perform community service. Prosecutors asked the judge to send him to prison for at least 10 years.

Pistorius was escorted through crowds of onlookers and into the Pretoria courthouse by police officers wearing blue berets. The parents of Steenkamp, the woman he shot multiple times through a toilet cubicle door in his home on Feb. 14, 2013, were also in court to hear the sentence.

The courtroom was packed, reflecting heightened media and public interest ahead of the sentencing. Police officers stood guard in the aisles.

Before proceedings started, Dr. Lore Hartzenberg, a psychologist, held Pistorius’ hand and spoke softly to him. Hartzenberg had testified for the defense that Pistorius was a “broken man” after killing his girlfriend and had suffered emotionally and financially.

A Pistorius supporter laid three white roses near Pistorius.

“I just wanted to bestow a little bit of inner happiness on Oscar,” said the supporter, who added that she thought he had lost a lot of self-respect.

Outside the courthouse, a man in orange garb carried chains and a large sign that read: “Are certain offenders more equal than other offenders before the law?”

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