CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius is up for parole eight years after fatally shooting his fiancée, but first he must meet with her parents.
Pistorius is a famous double-amputee athlete who competed in the 2012 Olympics. Since July, when he was found guilty of killing model Reva Steenkamp through a toilet door in his house on Valentine’s Day 2013, he has been eligible for parole.
In 2015, Pistorius was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 13 years and five months in jail. After serving half of his sentence, he was eligible for parole under South African law.
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Oscar Pistorius was let out of jail under house arrest.
Oscar Pistorius, a former Olympic track star, was let out of prison on Monday. He had been locked up for a year for shooting and killing Reeva Steenkamp.
Brian Webber, Pistorius’s lawyer, told Chapman Bell and Jon Schuppe of NBC News that his client was freed. Webber said that Pistorius is now “staying at an uncle’s house while being watched by the police.”
Last year, Pistorius was given a five-year prison sentence for being partly to blame for the death of Reeva Steenkamp. In February 2013, the double amputee killed his supermodel girlfriend with a gun. He said he did it in self-defense because he thought the person he shot through the bathroom door was an intruder.
The parents of Reeva Steenkamp are ‘very emotional,’ their lawyer said, at the prospect of meeting their daughter's killer, Oscar Pistorius, as part of a process that could see the South African sprinter released on parole pic.twitter.com/b9nXewKkY6
— Reuters (@Reuters) November 11, 2021
During his trial, Pistorius apologized and said he was sorry for what he did that led to Steenkamp’s death. According to David Smith of the Guardian:
“I’d like to apologies and say that there’s not a moment and there hasn’t been a moment since this tragedy happened that I haven’t thought about your family. I wake up every morning and you’re the first people I think of, the first people I pray for. I can’t imagine the pain and the sorrow and the emptiness that I’ve caused you and your family.”
During his track career, Pistorius was known as the Blade Runner. He has won eight Paralympic medals and ran in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
He was called a hero and was thought to be South Africa’s best athlete. It is not clear how long Pistorius will be under house arrest or if he plans to get back into sports after that.
He has been moved from a prison near Johannesburg to one near where Steenkamp’s parents live on South Africa’s east coast.
What happened with Reeva Steenkamp?
Before her murder, Pistorius and Steenkamp had been dating for three months. The athlete said that on the night of the murder, he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder.
Pistorius fired four rounds through a barred toilet door in his Pretoria residence in the early hours of 14 February 2013. Model and law graduate Steenkamp was standing on the opposite side of the door at the time.
According to police ballistics specialist Chris Mangena, who testified in court the following year, the first bullet struck her right hip, the second missed, but the third and fourth bullets struck her right arm and head.
Steenkamp slumped and “must have been protecting her head with both hands.” The final shot shattered her head into two pieces.
During Pistorius’s trial, The Guardian reported that the bullets in his 9mm pistol were “intended to cause maximum harm.” On impact, the bullet expands into six talons that can “tear through the organs of a human,” as Mangena testified during the trial.
According to Metro, Pistorius then “smashed down the door with a cricket bat” before phoning the police.
During the initial six-month trial, an emotional Pistorius told a story that had multiple twists and turns, and he fought to remain composed in court.
According to the BBC’s Pumza Fihlani, reporting from court, his body “jerked and he retched” on one occasion while he listened to the pathologist’s evidence. “On many instances, a bucket was placed next to Mr. Pistorius, who broke down in tears.”
“A picture began to form of a far more complicated individual, one born with a terrible physical impairment but into economic affluence in a country where the divide between the haves and have-nots can be astonishing,” E! online reported.
The court heard WhatsApp communications between Pistorius and Steenkamp in which the dead warned her boyfriend weeks before her death, “I’m terrified of you sometimes.”
The BBC’s Fihlani reported that there were “silent gasps” in the courtroom when Pistorius removed his prosthetic legs and walked to the bullet-holed lavatory door.
The defense had requested the former athlete to show his height against the door, with his head only a few centimeters over the door handle. “On his stumps, he seemed self-conscious,” Fihlani observed.
Judge Thokozile Masipa found on September 12, 2014, that the prosecution had not shown beyond a reasonable doubt that Pistorius meant to kill Steenkamp. He was cleared of murder, “a result that many South Africans, even legal experts, disagreed with.”
The case was heard by the Court of Appeal, and Pistorius was found guilty of murder in 2015.