The "Blade Runner" has gone from worldwide hero to murder suspect with charges he shot and killed his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp
As the case winds its way through South African courts, it gives us yet another opportunity to revisit the growing list of professional athletes to stand in front of a judge and answer to their crimes.
In fact, murder has rocked the professional sports world all too often, with cases involving athletes from the United States to Japan.
Below are 10 of the most attention-grabbing cases involving professional athletes accused of murder.
1. Orenthal James "O.J." Simpson - American football player
O.J. Simpson plays football for the University of Southern California, where he wins the Heisman Trophy in 1968. He is the first draft pick for the NFL in 1969, and is the 1973 NFL player of the year. He plays in six Pro Bowls throughout his 10-year career. After his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ron Goldman, are found murdered in 1994, O.J. Simpson stands trial for both homicides. Simpson assembles a "dream team" of lawyers, and is acquitted of criminal charges on Oct. 3, 1995, though he is convicted in civil court. In 2008, Simpson is convicted on a 2007 charge of kidnapping and armed robbery, and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Rubin Carter, a professional middleweight boxer and member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame, is arrested in 1966 for multiple homicides. He is convicted in 1967 after matching the description of a witness and sentenced to three life terms in prison. In 1985 his conviction is overturned and he is released from prison after a judge rules that he had not received a fair trial. His life inspires the Bob Dylan song "The Hurricane" and a movie starring Denzel Washington.
3. Hiroshi Ogawa - Japanese baseball player
Hiroshi Ogawa, a retired pitcher for the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball, is convicted of murder in the first degree. According to the prosecution, Ogawa, 43, was heavily in debt and demanded money from the housekeeper of the chairman of an industrial waste plant. When she refused, he burglarized the house, stealing $20,000, and drowned the housekeeper, 67-year-old Kazuko Nishiuchi, in a nearby lake. On Sept. 29, 2005, he is convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
4. Bruno Souza - Brazilian soccer player
Brazillian Bruno Souza, star goalkeeper of the celebrated Flamengo soccer club, is accused of arranging the killing of former lover, Eliza Samudio, a Brazilian model and mother to his child. "You don't know what I am capable of - I'm from the favela," he is alleged to have told her. According to the police, she was beaten and murdered by a former police officer, before parts of her were fed to dogs. The case has gripped Brazilian TV viewers, and is the latest in a series of troubling links between soccer stars and criminal organizations. He remained in jail early in 2013 as his trial continued.
5. Rae Carruth - American football player
From 1997 to 1999, Rae Carruth is an NFL wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers. In 1999, his girlfriend Cherica Adams, eight months pregnant with his child at the time, is the victim of a drive-by shooting. She places a 911 call claiming that Carruth had driven in front of her and stopped his car while another vehicle stopped alongside her and the passenger shot her. Adams dies a month later, though their child survives. The Panthers release Carruth from his contract, and after a brief stint as a fugitive, Carruth goes on trial. He is convicted and sentenced to 18 to 24 years in prison.
6. Eric Naposki - American football player
The hulking linebacker who played for the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts is serving life in prison for his role in a murderous love triangle. Naposki shot 55-year-old Willian McLaughlin six times at close range so his girlfriend, Nanette Packard, could collect life insurance worth $1 million, The Associated Press reported. McLaughlin died in 1994, but it wasn't until technological advancements allowed prosecutors to rexamine evidence and charge the duo with murder. Packard was also convicted of murder.
7. Robert Rozier - American football player
Just to prove this isn't a new phenomenon, Rozier admitted to killing seven people as a member of "The Brotherhood," a black supremicist cult founded by a man named Yaweh ben Yaweh in the 1980s. It was Yaweh who encouraged his Temple of Love followers to kill a "white devil." Rozier testified against Yaweh and earned his freedom through witness protection. However, he ended up back in jail for forgery.
8. Gavin Grant - English football player
In a London housing project, Grant killed a rival as part of an ongoing dispute over drug money in 2004. He was an up-and-coming soccer player with a seemingly bright future who tried to turn his life around when police charged him with murder years later, BBC said.
9. Mike Danton - Canadian ice hockey player
Nobody died in this instance, but the case is too bizarre to exclude. Danton was playing with the St. Louis Blues when police charged him with conspiracy to commit murder, according to The Canadian Press. He tried to hire a hitman who later turned out to be a police officer. Danton has alternately said his target was his agent, David Frost, or his estranged father. He served several years in prison before earning his release. His hockey career eventually took him to Sweden and Slovakia.
10. Evangelos Goussis - Australian-Greek boxer
A paid, underworld assassin now serving life in prison for two murders, Goussis is also a former Olympic boxer.