Oscar Pistorius, the former South African Paralympic and Olympic runner, is scheduled for release from prison on January 5, following his conviction in the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. This development comes more than a decade after the 2013 shooting at his home.
In 2016, Pistorius was sentenced to 13 years and five months for the murder of Steenkamp, a South African model. The incident, which occurred on the morning of February 14, 2013, involved Pistorius shooting Steenkamp four times through a bathroom door. Pistorius claimed he mistook her for an intruder.
Originally convicted of culpable homicide in September 2014, Pistorius’ case underwent several legal proceedings. The initial five-year sentence for culpable homicide was overturned by South Africa’s Supreme Court in November 2015, leading to a murder conviction. Despite an initial six-year sentence for murder, an appeal by prosecutors resulted in an increased sentence of 15 years, minus time already served.
Eligibility for parole after serving half his sentence came in early 2023, but Pistorius was denied release on March 31. His lawyer successfully appealed this decision, arguing that the parole board did not consider the 16 months Pistorius had previously spent in prison, as reported by The Associated Press.
The Steenkamp family reacted to the initial parole denial, expressing their ongoing grief and belief in justice, though not celebrating the decision. Tina Koen, the family’s lawyer, conveyed before the first parole hearing that Steenkamp’s mother doubted Pistorius’ rehabilitation and truthfulness, advocating against his release.
Born with a congenital defect leading to the amputation of both legs below the knee, Pistorius made history by competing with prosthetics in the 2012 Summer Olympics. He reached the semifinals in the 400 meters and was part of the South African 4-by-400 meter relay team, which finished eighth. Pistorius is also a six-time Paralympic gold medalist, marking a distinguished athletic career prior to the 2013 incident.