After several months of hearings, Judge Thokozile Matilde Masipa said on Sept. 11 that "there were not enough facts" for Oscar Pistorius to be found guilty of premeditated murder. This means that the Olympian will not be facing a sentence of lifetime imprisonment, but it is still possible for him to be charged with a lesser sentence.
"Culpable homicide is a competent verdict," said the judge, but she did not deliver any formal verdicts in the shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp, Pistorius' girlfriend.
Culpable homicide refers to a negligent killing, and it can carry anything from a suspended sentence to a long jail term. Though Pistorius has been acquitted of murder, he can still be sent to jail for years if it has been found that he acted negligently in Steenkamp's death. more >>
Gambia is on the verge of enacting a law that would sentence its citizens to life in prison if convicted of aggravated homosexuality. Leading human rights groups have urged Gambian President Yahya Jammeh not to sign the legislation into law, though Amnesty International says it is unlikely he will be persuaded against it.
The country's current law imposes jail terms of up to 14 years for people charged with engaging in hoomosexual acts. The new law, passed by the National Assembly in August, would impose life in prison for those who break its aggravated homosexuality laws, and pertains to repeat offenders, people who are HIV-positive and those who sexually assault a minor.
"Gambia's bill is a copycat of the Ugandan legislation," Adotei Akwei, Amnesty International's managing director of government relations, claimed in an interview with MSNBC. "We expect [Jammeh] to sign it into law. He's never held back on a threat he's made." more >>
The State of Texas executed Willie Trottie on Wednesday, Sept. 10 for the 1993 double murder of his former girlfriend and her brother. Trottie asked for forgiveness and said he was "going home to be with the Lord" before dying.
Trottie, 45, was given a lethal injection of pentobarbital and died 22 minutes after receiving the drug. Before dying, he told his witnesses that he loved them and asked for forgiveness from the relatives of his victims, Barbara and Titus Canada.
"I love you all," Trottie said. "I'm going home, going to be with the Lord. Find it in your heart to forgive me. I'm sorry." more >>
The State of Missouri executed Earl Ringo Jr. on Tuesday, Sept. 9 for committing two murders in 1998; Ringo left behind a note with his final words and a quote from the Quran.
"O my Lord bestow wisdom on me, and join me with the righteous," Ringo wrote before the execution took place.
After all last-minute appeals were exhausted, Ringo was taken to the execution chamber in the Bonne Terre prison, where he was injected with a lethal dose of pentobarbital. He was pronounced dead just nine minutes later, according to Mike O'Connell, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Corrections. more >>
Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker and born-again Christian Ray Lewis, who was once accused of killing two people but went on to retire as a darling of the NFL, condemned his former protégé and teammate Ray Rice, 27, Monday as a media storm erupted over video evidence of a domestic violence episode between him and his wife earlier this year.
"I'm disappointed. This is personal for me," Lewis explained during ESPN's "Monday Night Countdown."
On Sept. 8 TMZ released footage from the altercation between Rice and his wife, Janay, sparking a media firestorm. The Ravens also terminated Rice's contract and the NFL suspended him indefinitely. more >>
Potential 2016 presidential contender and renowned neurosurgeon Ben Carson is receiving heavy criticism online after calling for caution in responding to the domestic violence case involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and advising that the player needs help, not "demonizing."
"I'm hopeful that they will get some help for him. Obviously, anyone who would do something like that needs some help," Carson said Monday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"Let's not all jump on the bandwagon of demonizing this guy. He obviously has some real problems. And his wife obviously knows that because she subsequently married him. So they both need some help," continued Carson. "Rather than just jumping on an impunitive bandwagon [of criticism], let's see if we can get some help for these people," he ended on the subject. more >>