South African Former Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius is set to be released on parole, nearly 11 years after he murdered his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius, who is now 37, was convicted of shooting Ms. Steenkamp multiple times through a bathroom door at his home on Valentine’s Day in 2013.
According to him, he fired the gun because he thought she was an intruder and feared for his safety. However, the prosecution argued the murder was premeditated and Pistorius had shot Ms. Steenkamp after an argument.
However, he was not found guilty and was convicted instead of culpable homicide (which is the equivalent of a manslaughter charge in the UK).
In 2014, Oscar Pistorius received a five-year sentence, later released to house arrest. However, a year later, the Supreme Court of Appeal in South Africa overturned the conviction, ruling him guilty of murder. His sentence was then increased to 13 years and five months in 2016 after an appeal deemed the initial sentence “shockingly too lenient.”
Today, the parole board revisited his case, prompted by a Constitutional Court intervention due to errors in calculating his parole eligibility. Granting a second hearing was considered an acknowledgment of the appeal court’s mistake.
Based on BBC reports, though Ms. Steenkamp’s mother did not oppose his release, she expressed concerns in a letter to the parole board about Pistorius’s “huge anger issues” and questioned whether they had been adequately addressed in prison. While she did not attend the parole hearing, she stated that she couldn’t muster the energy to face him again.
She noted that Ms. Steenkamp’s father, Barry, had passed away earlier in the year with a heavy heart, feeling that he had failed to protect his daughter. However, she acknowledged forgiving Pistorius even though she didn’t see ‘remorse’ in him. For her, holding on to the anger was too much of a pain to bear.
The parole board has scheduled his release for January 5, 2024.