OAN’s Geraldyn Berry
12.02 PM – Friday, November 24, 2023
Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee former Olympic runner known as “Blade Runner,” was granted parole on Friday, marking a decade since he murdered his girlfriend at his residence in Pretoria, South Africa on Valentine’s Day 2013.
Singabakho Nxumalo, spokesperson for the Department of Corrections, announced that Pistorius is scheduled to be released from prison on January 5th, 2024.
South Africa’s Correctional Services Department said in a statement that the parole board had made its decision after assessing Pistorius’ profile and deciding that he had a “positive support system.” His parole conditions reportedly include remaining within the Pretoria area without unauthorized departures, attending a program to address his anger issues, and fulfilling community service obligations.
The disgraced former Olympian, who celebrated his 37th birthday this week, has been incarcerated since late 2014 for shooting 29-year-old model and paralegal Reeva Steenkamp four times through a locked bathroom door.
During the trial, it was revealed that Pistorius consistently carried a firearm, even keeping it on his bedside table while sleeping. He testified that he harbored a constant fear of a home invasion, recounting instances of being followed, shot at, and hijacked.
Thus, Pistorius claimed that he had mistakenly believed Steenkamp was a dangerous intruder when he fired through the bathroom door. However, Prosecutors argued that Steenkamp had sought refuge in the bathroom during an argument, and Pistorius killed her in a fit of rage. His eventual murder conviction was based on the legal principle of dolus eventualis, suggesting extreme recklessness and awareness that the person behind the door could be fatally harmed, akin to third-degree murder.
The athlete had a brief period of house arrest in 2015 during one of the numerous appeals in his case. In 2017, after ultimately being convicted of murder, Pistorius received a sentence of 13 years and five months in prison by South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeals.
In South Africa, serious offenders are typically required to serve at least half of their sentence to be eligible for parole, a condition Pistorius has fulfilled.
The recent parole hearing marked Pistorius’ second attempt in eight months, as an initial hearing in March ruled him ineligible for early release due to an administrative error regarding the official start of his sentence.
Originally convicted of culpable homicide, a charge akin to manslaughter, Pistorius saw this conviction overturned. Following a successful appeal by prosecutors, he was then convicted of murder. Prosecutors further contested the initial six-year sentence, resulting in Pistorius receiving the extended term of 13 years and five months.
Despite Steenkamp’s mother, June Steenkamp, not opposing Pistorius’ parole and claiming to have forgiven him, she affirmed that she does not believe the former Paralympian’s version of events. Citing an inability to face Pistorius again, the slain model’s mother did not attend Friday’s parole board hearing.
“At this time, I am not convinced that Oscar has been rehabilitated,” her statement said. “Rehabilitation requires someone to engage honestly with the full truth of his crime and the consequences thereof. Nobody can claim to have remorse if they are not able to engage fully with the truth. If someone does not show remorse, they cannot be considered to be rehabilitated. If they are not rehabilitated, their risk of recidivism is high.”
“I do not know to what extent this behavior still exists or were evident during his time of incarceration, but I am concerned for the safety of any woman should this not have been addressed in his rehabilitation.”
While on parole, Pistorius is reportedly expected to reside at his uncle’s opulent mansion in a affluent Pretoria suburb, the same residence where he stayed during his murder trial.
Reeva Steenkamp’s death marked the conclusion of Pistorius’ career, terminating the journey of the Paralympian who, at the time, stood as one of the most renowned disabled athletes globally. Pistorius had made history by participating in able-bodied competitions at the Olympics.
Afflicted by a congenital condition that necessitated the amputation of both his legs below the knee at the age of 11 months, Pistorius emerged as a triumphant athlete. He proudly led the South African team during the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, achieving the historic feat of becoming the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics just days later.
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