Oscar Pistorius rose to fame as an Olympic sprinter for South Africa. His reign came to an end once he was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
On November 24, 2023, a parole board considered Oscar Pistorius’ release eligibility after his previous parole attempt was denied. He was told he wouldn’t be eligible for consideration until next year. His release date is set for January 5, 2024.
In South Africa, serious offenders are only eligible for parole if they have served half their sentence. Pistorius has served a decade which makes him eligible.
The court made an error when considering Pistorius’s parole by not counting the time he already served while his murder sentence was being appealed.
This means he was eligible for parole in March this year, when he was told he would be eligible until August 2024.
Other factors played into the decision of his parole, such as his being a first-time offender, mental health, likelihood to commit another crime and conduct in prison.
In 2013, Pistorius was arrested after shooting Steenkamp at their home in Pretoria, South Africa. He claimed shooting her was an accident during his trial.
Pistorius told the court he grabbed his gun in the middle of the night after hearing what he thought to be a burglar.
However, prosecutors argued he killed her in a fit of rage after they argued. It was said the couple had a volatile relationship, and there were text messages of Steenkamp stating being afraid of Pistorius’s temper.
He was initially convicted of culpable homicide, an offense comparable to manslaughter, for shooting Steenkamp several times through the bathroom door in the early hours of Valentine’s Day.
The conviction in 2014 was later increased to murder after numerous appeals, and Pistorius was sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison.
Pistorius was initially incarcerated in Pretoria’s central prison before moving to Atteridgeville Correctional Centre in 2016.
What Reeva Steenkamp’s family thought of the decision
Throughout his sentence, Steenkamp’s family has fought against any hope of Pistorius being released early.
Steenkamp’s mother, June Steenkamp, said, ”I don’t believe his story. I don’t believe Oscar is remorseful or rehabilitated.”
Reeva’s mother did not attend the parole hearing, and her father, Barry, died earlier this year. She said, ”I simply could not muster the energy to face him again at this stage.”
June also states she does not believe that Pistorius thought it was a burglar in the toilet and that he knew what he was doing.
She states, ”I do not believe anybody that does. My dearest child screamed for her life, I believe he knew it was Reeva.”
She shares concerns for other women if Pistorius is released.
Oscar Pistorius’s thoughts and conditions
Pistorius said he is ”happy” and ”grateful” to be released from prison. According to the NY Times, his lawyer Conrad Dormehl said Pistorius hoped to spend Christmas at home.
He will be subject to several conditions in addition to being monitored. He will be prohibited from traveling outside Pretoria without permission attending a course on anger management, and performing community service.