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PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to six years in prison Wednesday for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The South African judge who decided the punishment called the double-amputee Olympian a "fallen hero."

South Africa's minimum sentence for murder is 15 years. But the judge said "substantial and compelling circumstances" existed to give Pistorius a lesser sentence for shooting Steenkamp at his home in 2013.

Pistorius was calm after the sentence was announced, embracing his aunt and tearful sister before being led down a courtroom staircase to a holding cell.

Steenkamp's parents were also present in the courtroom, which was packed with relatives of both Pistorius and Steenkamp, journalists and other observers.