Oscar Pistorius should have been convicted of murder instead of manslaughter, prosecutors told a court in South Africa Tuesday in an appeal hearing that could see the disgraced Olympic athlete return to prison.
State lawyers told a court in Bloemfontein that the double-amputee sprinter should have foreseen that he would kill someone when he fired four shots into his bathroom in February 2013.
The 28-year-old star was convicted in 2014 of culpable homicide — the equivalent to manslaughter in South African law — for fatally shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013.
He was sentenced to five years in jail but released under "correctional supervision" — or house arrest — after only 364 days.
Reeva's mother, June, was in court Tuesday to hear state prosecutor Gerrie Nel argue that the original trial judge was mistaken in ruling that Pistorius should not be convicted of murder.
However, defense lawyer Barry Roux said the original trial "dealt with every aspect'' of evidence and that Pistorius fired into the toilet because he thought he was in danger. There was no intention to act unlawfully, Roux argued.
The appeal judges reserved their decision for a later date, but directed their most intense questions at the defense, according to ITV News' John Ray. He said Roux was "getting a grilling."
Pistorius — who is nicknamed the "Blade Runner" — maintains that he thought Steenkamp was an intruder in his Pretoria home and killed her by mistake. Prosecutors allege the two had a fight and he shot the model and law graduate intentionally through the door of the bathroom cubicle.
"It's up to the law now, it's not going to bring my daughter back," June Steenkamp told reporters before the hearing. "He killed her… he's got to face the truth."