A South African judge has dismissed murder charges brought against Oscar Pistorius, who shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in February of last year. "The state clearly has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder," Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa said today. "There are not enough facts." The judge has yet to rule on a lesser charge, of culpable homicide, similar to manslaughter in the U.S.
Pistorius, 27, is accused of having shot and killed Steenkamp in their villa in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa. He claims he awoke to the sounds of what he believed to be an intruder in his home; he fired a handgun on a closed bathroom door, killing Steenkamp. The months-long trial sought to determine if the Pistorius had planned the killing, but the judge today has ruled that he can not be found guilty of such a charge. From the Los Angeles Times:
Judge Masipa said her decision to rule out a premeditated murder conviction was based on the fact that all the evidence in the case was circumstantial. She found that many neighbors were mistaken when they thought they heard a woman screaming on the night of the incident. In fact, she concluded, the only person who screamed was Pistorius.
[Image via AP]