Oscar Pistorius sentencing date set

Oscar Pistorius
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PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — A judge on Tuesday let Oscar Pistorius remain under house arrest at his uncle’s mansion and set an April sentencing date, five days after an appeals court convicted the double-amputee Olympian of murder for killing his girlfriend.

In the meantime, Pistorius’ legal team plans to appeal his murder conviction in South Africa’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, chief defense lawyer Barry Roux said.

In convicting Pistorius on Thursday of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the Supreme Court of Appeal threw out a lower court’s lesser manslaughter conviction. The appeals court said Pistorius should be sentenced by the lower court.

Judge Aubrey Ledwaba of that court, the North Gauteng High Court, set April 18 for the sentencing and granted Pistorius bail of $692, extending his house arrest until then. The judge said Pistorius will be placed under electronic monitoring and may only leave his uncle’s home between 7 a.m. and 12 p.m. Pistorius’ bail is a fraction of the $113,000 bail he paid when he first appeared in court for the 2013 shooting.

Prosecution spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku, speaking outside court, said the April date would allow the Constitutional Court time to decide whether it would hear Pistorius’ appeal. The defense has 15 days to submit appeal papers to the Constitutional Court, Mfaku said.

Pistorius may not travel further than a 12-mile (20-kilometer) radius outside of his uncle’s mansion in a Pretoria suburb, the judge ruled. He must also hand over his passport to the police.

Earlier, the state argued that Pistorius may try to flee, and asked for strict bail conditions but did not say he should be sent back to prison before sentencing.

The former track star’s lawyer did not say on what basis he would be appealing the murder conviction at the Constitutional Court, South Africa’s highest court.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court that he doubted that this next appeal would be successful.

“We’re not convinced that the accused has made out a good case and that his application to the Constitutional Court will be successful, but we acknowledge that he has the right to bring such an application,” said Nel.

Pistorius shot Steenkamp through the door of a toilet cubicle in his home early on Valentine’s Day 2013. Prosecutors said he killed her after an argument; Pistorius said he killed her by mistake, thinking there was an intruder in the house.

The appeals court said that regardless of who was behind the door, Pistorius should have known someone could be killed if he fired multiple times. Under South African law, a person can be convicted of murder if he or she foresaw the possibility of someone dying through their actions and went ahead anyway.

Pistorius was placed under house arrest in October after serving one year of a 5-year prison sentence for the earlier manslaughter conviction.

During Tuesday’s court appearance, the first time he’s appeared in court in over a year, Pistorius was dressed in a dark suit. His demeanor was calm and he spoke softly with his lawyer and others before proceedings began. He even smiled.

A champion athlete, before the killing of Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013 Pistorius had been televised at sporting events and seen in magazines in advertisements. In contrast, he has rarely been seen in public while under house arrest.

The minimum sentence for murder in South Africa is 15 years, though a judge can reduce that sentence for what the law describes as exceptional circumstances.

Public opinion in South Africa has sometimes taken the view that Pistorius was getting lenient treatment during the long saga of his trial because of his wealth and fame. But the appeals court decision to convict him of murder, as well as reports that he has spent much of his fortune on legal bills, have helped to diminish perceptions that he was somehow above the law.

South Africa’s prisons are overcrowded and Pistorius was previously jailed in special circumstances because of his high profile and disability. In a logistical challenge for prison authorities, Pistorius was held apart from other prisoners in the hospital wing of a Pretoria prison and had a bathroom fitted with railings to assist with his disability.

Asher Hong leads U.S. men’s gymnastics world team selection camp after first day

Asher Hong
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Asher Hong, 18, posted the highest all-around score on the first of two days of competition at the U.S. men’s gymnastics selection camp to determine the last three spots on the team for the world championships that start in three weeks.

Hong, bidding to become the youngest U.S. man to compete at worlds since Danell Leyva in 2009, totaled 84.6 points in Colorado Springs. He edged Colt Walker by one tenth. Tokyo Olympians Shane Wiskus (84.15) and Yul Moldauer (83.95) were next. Full apparatus-by-apparatus scores are here.

Brody Malone, who repeated as U.S. all-around champion at August’s national championships, and runner-up Donnell Whittenburg already clinched spots on the five-man team for worlds in Liverpool, Great Britain. They did not compete Monday, though their results from the first day of nationals are shown in the official scores.

The three remaining team spots will not necessarily go to the top three all-arounders at this week’s camp, which is supposed to be weighed equally with results from August’s nationals. Hong was third at nationals, but if excluding difficulty bonus points from that meet that will not be considered by the committee, would have finished behind Walker and Moldauer in August.

A selection committee is expected to announce the team soon after the second and final day of selection camp competition on Wednesday evening. The committee will look at overall scoring potential for the world team final, where three men go per apparatus, and medal potential in individual events.

Stephen Nedoroscik, who last year became the first American to win a world title on the pommel horse, is trying to make the team solely on that apparatus. He wasn’t at his best at nationals and struggled again on Monday, hurting his chances of displacing an all-arounder for one of the last three spots.

The U.S. has reason to emphasize the team event over individual medals at this year’s worlds. It will clinch an Olympic berth by finishing in the top three, and its medal hopes are boosted by the absence of the Russians who won the Olympic team title. All gymnasts from Belarus and Russia are banned indefinitely from international competition due to the war in Ukraine.

In recent years, the U.S. has been among the nations in the second tier behind China, Japan and Russia, including in Tokyo, where the Americans were fifth.

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Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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