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Former Olympic star Oscar Pistorius eligible for parole 10 years after killing girlfriend

Yahoo Sports 3/30/2023 Callie Lawson-Freeman

Former South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius has applied for parole after he was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a decade ago. The double-amputee once nicknamed "Blade Runner," and famed for his Olympic and Paralympic appearances, shot Steenkamp multiple times through a bathroom door in his home. 

A model and law school graduate, Steenkamp was 29 years old. 

Pistorius, now 36, claims he shot her with his licensed pistol by mistake, thinking she was a threatening intruder. 

He was initially convicted of manslaughter in 2014 and sentenced to five years in prison at the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre in Pretoria. A year later, the conviction was overturned by a higher court and amended to murder, which increased his sentence to six years.

In 2017, the prosecution successfully appealed the amended sentence and was increased to 13 years and five months. According to South Africa's news24, that sentence was amended last month to account for time served. 

Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius could be released from South African prison. (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/Files) © Provided by Yahoo Sports Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius could be released from South African prison. (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/Files)

Pistorius was last up for parole in 2021, but his request was denied. Pistorius needed to have met with Steenkamps' family, as South Africa incorporates the concept of "restorative justice" in its legal system. 

Reeva's parents, Barry and June Steenkamp, have since met with Pistorius and do not fully support his release. 

"Only Oscar knows the true story," Barry told GMB last month. "All June and I wanted to know was the truth, what we feel was the truth: that he actually killed her because of anger." 

Barry and June will be able to address the parole board at Pistorius' hearing and their statements will be considered in the ruling. 

"If he's due for parole, let the law take its course, so long as it's all done legally ... I'm not against the parole taking its course," Barry said.

The board has a breadth of options under South African law. Pistorius could be released on full parole as early as Friday. He could be placed under correctional supervision, a conditional release that requires some time at a correctional center. 

Or he could be placed on day parole, which would allow him to live and work in Pretoria during the day and return to prison at night.

Finally, Pistorius' parole could be denied with the option to reapply. 

After her daughter was killed, June launched the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation, which aims to educate victims of abuse.

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