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After a South African appeals court's Thursday ruling that Oscar Pistorius is guilty of murdering his former girlfriend after all, the mother of Reeva Steenkamp feels that justice for her daughter has been served.
"The anticipation was tremendous this morning because we didn't really know what was going to happen,'' June Steenkamp told Savannah Guthrie from South Africa on TODAY Thursday. "I want respect for my daughter's life, and that's what I got today: the conviction of murder. I feel so proud now that she's got some respect and she hasn't lost her life for nothing. She'll be remembered."
Pistorius, 29, could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison after a South African appeals court convicted him of murder, reversing a ruling from last year in which he was convicted of culpable homicide, the South African equivalent of manslaughter. Pistorius shot and killed Steenkamp in his Pretoria home on Valentine's Day in 2013.
"It doesn't really matter, the amount of time,'' Steenkamp said about the potential sentence. "That's got nothing to do with me. It won't make any difference to my life. She's gone now. I don't want revenge against him, but he's going to pay for his crime."
Justice Lorimer Eric Leach, speaking for a five-judge appeals panel, ruled that the double-amputee Olympic sprinter "never offered an acceptable explanation for" shooting Steenkamp through a bathroom door in his home. The panel ruled the initial judge made a "fundamental error" with the ruling and that key elements of ballistics evidence were "seemingly ignored by the trial court."
Pistorius, 29, was not in the courtroom Thursday because he was under house arrest at his uncle's mansion in Pretoria. He was placed on house arrest on Oct. 19, after serving 10 months of a five-year prison sentence. South Africa's High Court will now determine Pistorius' new sentence, most likely early next year.
As part of his parole, Pistorius was required to reach out to June Steenkamp and her husband to offer a meeting. She confirmed that he asked for one, but said she can't say whether it will happen or not.
"I think all I would say is to explain to him what he's taken away from her,'' she said. "He's taken away all the joy in my husband's and [my] life."
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