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Judge Grants Prosecution in Appeal in Pistorius Case

FILE - Judge Thokozile Masipa listens in court in Pretoria, South Africa in the case against Oscar Pistorius.

A South African judge has granted prosecutors an appeal of the culpable homicide verdict against athlete Oscar Pistorius, clearing them to seek a more serious murder conviction in the country's Supreme Court.

Judge Thokozile Masipa announced her decision Wednesday, saying she "cannot say the prospect of success at the Supreme Court is remote."

She originally ruled in September that prosecutors gave only circumstantial evidence that Pistorius was guilty of premeditated murder when he fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, and handed down the lesser conviction of culpable homicide.

Prosecutors argued during the 41-day trial that Pistorius intentionally shot Steenkamp after an argument, while he maintained he thought he was firing at a nighttime intruder.

Masipa sentenced Pistorius in October to five years in prison. His lawyers have said he could be released to house arrest within a year.

Pistorius is known as the "blade runner" for his carbon-fiber prosthetic legs. In 2012, he became the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics.

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