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Pistorius hobbles on stumps ahead of murder sentencing

PRETORIA, South Africa -- More drama played out in a South African courtroom Wednesday as the sentencing hearing of disgraced Paralympic athlete and double-amputee Oscar Pistorius continued.

Pistorius is back in court after South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal upgraded his original manslaughter verdict to one of murder.

The Supreme Court found him guilty of firing four shots through a locked bathroom door and killing whomever he believed was behind it.

Appeals court convicts Oscar Pistorius of murder

The court has been hearing arguments from both sides before the judge decides on his sentence for the crime. Closing arguments on Wednesday saw the defense try and strike an emotional hit in their parting shot.

His crime carries a mandatory 15-year prison sentence, but Pistorius' lawyers are asking the court to reduce the sentence on the grounds that special circumstances apply.

Pistorius has so far served less than a year of his previous five-year sentence. The defense argues that he has paid with his health, his aborted future and his mental state, which they say has deteriorated into extreme depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

They want a custodial sentence; one where Pistorius would be released under the guardianship of his family and spend the rest of any jail term under house arrest.

To slam their point home, defense attorney Barry Roux asked Pistorius to come forward and show the court who they were really sentencing.

At this, Pistorius stepped forward, removed his prostheses and hobbled awkwardly around the court on his stumps.

The move elicted gasps of horror from the public gallery. Some spectators broke down crying, others muttered that it was a "cheap shot" by the defense.

When Pistorius' painful walk came to an end, he collapsed sobbing.

The state prosecution remained unmoved, however arguing that the real victim in the case was Reeva Steenkamp, Pistorius' beautiful model girlfriend who he killed on Valentine's Day night in 2013.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel called Wednesday for the standard minimum sentence for murder in South Africa.

Oscar Pistorius: Shots in the Dark

"We argue that the sentence of 15 years ought to be imposed as a minimum," Nel told the High Court.

Nel repeatedly said Steenkamp's dreams, her future plans and hopes, had been crushed as those four bullets ripped through her body. He has asked the court to respect the victim and ensure the punishment fits the crime.

The prosecutor also noted that Pistorius had been given an opportunity to explain to the court why he killed Steenkamp, but had never done so. He said that Pistorius could have spoken in the sentencing hearing about his remorse for what he had done, but again had chosen rather to given an interview to a British television station.

"It's disrespectful to the court and to the deceased," said Nel.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said she would hand down her sentence on July 6.