Judge Rules Oscar Pistorius Did Not Intentionally Kill Girlfriend

The athlete has been cleared of the most serious charges but could still be convicted on a lesser charge.
3:35 | 09/11/14

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Transcript for Judge Rules Oscar Pistorius Did Not Intentionally Kill Girlfriend
Now to that breaking news in the Oscar Pistorius trial. The judge's ruling on his murder trial right now clearing the former olympian of the two most serious charges against him but the judge has not read her verdict yet. ABC's Matt Gutman has been inside the courtroom in south Africa and, Matt, the judge could still be -- or I should say -- that's right. Reporter: The judge ruled out premeditated murder but culpable homicide like manslaughter on the table. The judge has shot holes through Pistorius' claim of self-defense, the only thing clear this entire nation is laser focused on this very moment and perhaps this headline says it all. "Judgment day for Oscar." The crush intense as he arrived. Pistorius looking tense. Oscar, are you feeling confident today? How do you feel? Towering family members forming a flying wedge to push him through the crowd. For six months the spotlight had been on Pistorius, but this morning it blazed on the 66-year-old judge. She seemed to rule out premeditated murder as well as murder leaving only culpable homicide. Just not enough to support such a finding. Reporter: Knocking down the prosecution's so-called earwitnesses who say they heard a woman scream that night. The evidence of witnesses must be rejected merely because the witnesses failed to describe the events in exactly the same way. Reporter: Saying only one witness' testimony matter. Reporter: The accused is the only one that can tell this court how the incident happened. Reporter: Back in the same mention he appeared to sob as the judge recounted the bloody scene in his bathroom. Pistorius claimed he never intended to pull the trigger. The judge didn't buy it. The accused clearly wanted to use the firearm and the only way he could have used it was to shoot at the perceived danger. Reporter: Meaning he meant to shoot. Reeva steenkamp's parents looking stonefaced. Now, Pistorius also faces three other gun-related charges but if he is convicted of that manslaughter charge he could face 15 years in jail. Of course, the judge does have the discretion to give him no prison time. We're also told that if he is convicted of virtually anything Pistorius will appeal. Thanks. Let's talk to Dan Abrams about this. The judge reached at least one conclusion, Oscar Pistorius was a bad witness but not a murderer. Right, a huge win for Oscar Pistorius. I mean when you look at the facts in this case that he shot her in his own home behind a locked door, this is a big win for Oscar Pistorius. It also does seem from the judge's language that it's almost certain that she's going to convict him of the lesser crime of culpable homicide so in theory there could still be a stiff sentence here. Let's explain it, the equivalent of what would be manslaughter in the U.S. That's right, a sort of negligent killing in this case, incredibly negligent almost reckless killing had this particular case. But as Matt points out no minimum sentence there. So the judge is going to have a lot of discretion here on sentencing. That's what it's all going to come down to. Once the murder is off the table the question becomes what's the sentence and the evidence against him in the ammunition charge and the weapons charge, very, very strong and you're talking about the possibility of up to 25 years just on those charges combined so there's still a lot to come but no matter how you look at it, no matter what the sentence is here, the fact that murder is off the table and the possibility of a mandatory life sentence, that's a big win for Oscar Pistorius. And the judge will continue Reading this morning. Okay, Dan, thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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