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Oscar Pistorius Convicted Of Murder In South Africa

Dec. 3 2015, Updated 4:32 p.m. ET

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Oscar Pistorius was convicted of murder Thursday by a South African appeals court that overturned his previous manslaughter conviction in the 2013 shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

"The accused ought to have been found guilty of murder on the basis that he had fired the fatal shots with criminal intent," Supreme Court of Appeal Justice Lorimer Eric Leach told a Bloemfontein court in the shocking move.

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Leach said that "the identity of his victim is irrelevant to the runner's guilt," as he knew firing shots at a closed bathroom door in the Valentine's Day killing of the 29-year-old model could lead to a death.

"A young man overcomes huge physical disabilities to reach Olympian heights as an athlete -- in doing so he becomes an international celebrity," the judge said. "He meets a young woman of great natural beauty and a successful model.

"Romance blossoms and then ironically, on Valentine's Day, all is destroyed when he takes her life."

Leach directed the North Gauteng High Court to determine the double-amputee runner's sentence in Steenkamp's death. While the minimum prison sentence in a murder conviction is 15 years, Pistorius could see less time if the court finds an exceptional circumstance in the case. No timetable has been set yet for his sentencing.

The Olympian, 29, has remained on home arrest in a Pretoria mansion owned by his uncle since his October release from prison, after serving a year in custody in his previous manslaughter conviction.

Pistorius did not attend Thursday's hearing, but Steenkamp's outspoken mother June was present.

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