In 2014, Oscar Pistorius, the world renowned South African “blade runner” who earned praise for his participation in the 2012 Summer Paralympics, was sentenced to a five year jail sentence for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
After the night of Steenkamp’s death in 2013, Pistorius and his legal team endured months of trial, where the judge eventually reached a verdict that although Steenkamp was shot and killed by Pistorius at his Pretoria, South Africa home, he mistook his girlfriend as an intruder, and therefore did so in self-defense.
In March of 2014, Judge Thokozile Masipa delivered the verdict that Pistorius was not guilty of murder, however, was guilty of the culpable homicide of Steenkamp, as well as a separate reckless endangerment charge for a previous incident. Pistorius’s prison sentence was a maximum of five years for the homicide with a simultaneous three-year prison sentence for the endangerment case.
However, on October 19th, Pistorius was released from a prison in Johannesburg to complete the rest of his four-year sentence under house arrest. His release does not go against South African law, which states that anyone who serves at least one-sixth of his or her sentence is eligible for early release.
However, women’s groups and other critics, including Steenkamp’s family, have been quick to protest the decision, and do not plan on stopping until they feel justice has been served.
Pistorius’s release was delayed several times since his scheduled discharge in August. The parole board did make changes to their original release plans based on influence from Steenkamp’s family, who believes Pistorius did not serve enough time for the murder.
By Margaret Joel ’16, World News Senior Editor