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Prosecutors Again Seek Murder Verdict for Oscar Pistorius

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel (L) and defense lawyer Barry Roux (R) chat at the end of an appeal against South African paralympian Oscar Pistorius' conviction last year at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, South Africa, Nov. 3, 2015.

Just weeks after his release from prison into house arrest, South African athlete Oscar Pistorius again faces a legal challenge, as prosecutors try to convince judges that he should be found guilty of the charge of murder for killing his girlfriend.

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius is facing another legal battle that could send him back to prison for years.

On Tuesday, state prosecutors argued he should have been convicted of murder, not culpable homicide, for the 2013 killing of his girlfriend. That lesser charge, equivalent to the U.S. charge of manslaughter, earned him a five-year sentence. He was released on parole October 19 after a year of time served.

Prosecutors say they believe Judge Thokozile Masipa interpreted the law incorrectly in her verdict.

Legal argument

This appeal, unlike the dramatic trial, is highly legalistic in nature, as shown by this argument Prosecutor Gerrie Nel made Tuesday to the five-judge appeal panel.

"We are not asking this court to substitute the finding and sentence," said Nel. "We are asking this court to substitute the finding, but refer back for sentence because I think it would just be fair that if we have a different conviction, that the accused be allowed the opportunity to lead [present] different evidence."

Pistorius claims he mistook his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, for an intruder when he shot four times through a locked bathroom door, killing her at his Pretoria home on the night of Valentine's Day. Nel and his legal team argue Pistorius meant to kill Steenkamp.

The icon-turned-inmate was not present for the appeal. He is under house arrest at his uncle’s Pretoria home, and has been restricted to that location. As part of his parole, is is also required to undergo psychotherapy and community service.

The judges did not say when they would return with a decision.