Paralympian Oscar Pistorius RELEASED from prison after serving 9 years for murder of South African model girlfriend
Oscar Pistorius, an Olympic sprinter who achieved international fame by competing at the highest level of his sport despite having both legs amputated, was released from prison on Friday after spending nearly nine years behind bars for the murder of his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
The Associated Press reports that Pistorius, aged 37, departed the Atteridgeville Correctional Center in Pretoria discreetly and underwent administrative procedures at a parole office before being discharged to his family, as confirmed by Singabakho Nxumalo, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections.
Pistorius, most famously known as “Blade Runner,” shot and killed South African model, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day in 2013. He shot Steenkamp four times through a bathroom door at his home and claimed to the courts that he had mistaken her for an intruder.
The six-time Paralympic gold medalist was convicted of culpable homicide in Sept. 2014 and was initially sentenced to six years in prison. However, after multiple appeals, the South African Supreme Court overturned the culpable homicide charge and convicted him of murder in 2016. He was then ordered to serve 15 years behind bars.
Pistorius became eligible for parole in early 2023 after serving half of his prison sentence but was denied last March. His next eligibility for parole was set by the court for August 2024. His lawyer appealed the decision on grounds that the board failed to take into account the 16 months Pistorius spent in prison between 2016 and 2017, according to The Associated Press.
Pistorius will be subject to stringent parole restrictions, which encompass a prohibition on engaging with the media, until the conclusion of his sentence in December 2029. He is expected to reside at his uncle’s estate in the affluent Pretoria suburb of Waterkloof, where he previously remained throughout his seven-month trial in 2014.
The Associated Press reports that a police van was seen outside the home on Friday, along with three black private security vehicles.
Tina Koen, the lawyer for Steenkamp’s family, told reporters before the first parole hearing that the model’s mother, June Steenkamp, doesn’t want Pistorius to be released, saying that she “doesn’t feel that he’s rehabilitated and hasn’t told the truth.” Since the killing, Pistorius has maintained his position that he thought Steenkamp was an intruder but the court didn’t buy it.
Pistorius’s parole will be in effect until September 5, 2029.
The trial was highly publicized and shocked the world as Pistorius had just competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, running with prosthetic legs. He finished second in his heat in the 400-meter race but did not advance to the semifinals. In addition, he is a six-time Paralympic gold medalist, according to ABC News.