Pistorius was sentenced to six years in prison for the murder, although South African law allows for early release after serving at least one-sixth of a sentence. His parole hearing is being held in the Kgosi Mampuru II Prison in Pretoria, where he has been lodged since 2016. The panel is expected to decide whether Pistorius will be released under correctional supervision or remain behind bars until his sentence ends in 2021. If granted parole, Pistorius would have to meet certain conditions such as reporting regularly to corrections officers and attending psychotherapy sessions.
On the night of Valentine’s Day 2013, Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home. He said he thought she was an intruder and that he acted in self-defense. But a court found him guilty of culpable homicide – or negligent killing – saying there were reasonable alternatives to using deadly force on what he perceived to be an intruder. The ruling sparked outrage among many South Africans who had followed Pistorius’ story with admiration after becoming the first amputee athlete to compete at the Olympics in 2012. His trial became a spectacle as the prosecution tried to prove that it was premeditated murder — something which would have put Pistorius behind bars for life – while his defense team argued it was simply a tragic accident.
“The family is still grieving the loss of their beloved daughter and sister,” Koen said. “They feel that Oscar Pistorius has not yet taken full responsibility for his actions which led to Reeva’s death.” Pistorius has always maintained that he accidentally shot Steenkamp, believing her to be an intruder in the middle of the night. His legal team is expected to argue at next month’s hearing that he poses no danger to society and should therefore be released on parole. They will also likely argue that Pistorius’ disability means he requires special consideration when it comes to serving out his sentence.
“We can’t give an exact timeline as to when a decision will be taken,” Nxumalo said. “It depends on the details we receive from the family and other sources.” Pistorius has served nearly half of his sentence for shooting Steenkamp, a law graduate and model, at his home in 2013. He says he mistook her for an intruder but prosecutors argued that he had intentionally killed her after a heated argument. His lawyers have argued that Pistorius should serve community service instead of continuing his term behind bars, saying that he poses no threat to society.