Judge more than doubles Oscar Pistorius’ prison sentence
Justice on South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeals increases the disgraced Olympian’s prison sentence for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, to 13 years and five months.
Disgraced Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is once again up for parole and could see an early release “within weeks” after serving half of his 13-year sentence.
“We were notified by the department of correctional services about the parole hearing,” Tania Koen, an attorney representing Reeva Steenkamp’s parents, told Sowetan Live. “We also note Pistorius, like any offender, is entitled to parole after serving a certain portion of his sentence.”
“That is all we can say on the matter,” Koen said, added that “the law must take its course.”
Pistorius, a double amputee dubbed “Blade Runner” and multiple-gold medal-winning athlete, was convicted in 2015 of murdering Steenkamp, his then-girlfriend, on Valentine’s Day 2013 and sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison.
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He now faces a parole hearing March 31 to determine whether he should receive an early release. All prisoners in South Africa have a chance at parole after serving half their sentence, meaning that Steenkamp’s parents have no ability to appeal the decision.
Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg Nov. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Lucky Nxumalo-Citypress)
Julian Knight, Pistorius’s lawyer, stressed that the appeal is an “internal process.”
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A South Africa court in Pretoria initially convicted him of culpable homicide, but overturned that for a murder conviction a year later. The timing of Pistorius’s parole remained a point of confusion due to the timing of his original and overturned convictions.
Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius in court Feb. 22, 2013 in Pretoria, South Africa, for his bail hearing charged with the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Pistorius initially pushed for that half-term milestone in 2021, arguing that he had “done everything in my power to rehabilitate, to conduct myself in such a manner as to constantly comply with prison rules, to show full remorse.”
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“I have completed all possible programs which were presented, and I have indeed qualified in terms of the Department of Correctional Services guidelines for release on parole,” he said in a statement.
South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius competes in the men’s 400-meter semi-finals at the athletics event during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 5, 2012 in London. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)
Pistorius spoke with Steenkamp’s father last year as a part of the parole process in South Africa, but The New York Post reported that the gesture could be more than a legal formality as his longtime friend Bill Schroder claimed in 2020 that Pistorius was begging for forgiveness.
Schroder said that Pistorius told him “I want to tell them I’m sorry.”
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Pistorius claimed that he shot Steenkamp because he mistook her for an intruder, but prosecutors argued that he shot her intentionally since he shot her four times. A prosecutor in 2014 also said that Pistorius offered the family $34,000, which they turned down because they did not want to accept “blood money.”
Peter Aitken is a Fox News Digital reporter with a focus on national and global news.