Oscar Pistorius, former Paralympic gold medalist and Olympic runner, has been granted parole in his native country of South Africa. Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine's Day back in 2013. The South African parole board came to the decision on Friday but stated that it wouldn't take effect until Jan. 5.
Leading up to Friday's decision, the parole board took into account Pistorius's conduct, disciplinary record in prison, his participation in educational classes, his mental state and the risk he would pose to society if he were to be released.
South Africa's National Department of Correctional Services announced in a statement that the parole board reached a decision after "having assessed Mr. Pistorius' profile and other material submitted for the purposes of parole consideration." The board also said that Pistorius was a "first-time offender with a positive support system."
"Rehabilitation requires someone to engage honestly, with the full truth of his crime and the consequences thereof," Steenkamp's mother, June, said in a statement. "Nobody can claim to have remorse if they're not able to engage fully with the truth."
The Department of Correctional Services also stated that he would "complete the remainder of the sentence in the system of community corrections and will be subjected to supervision in compliance with parole conditions until his sentence expires."
Pistorius will stay on his uncle Arno Pistorius' property in Pretoria to serve out the remainder of his sentence under the parole conditions that the board sets in place. Under the terms of his parole, Pistorius must wear an electronic tag and also is banned from making money from interviews regarding his time in prison.
During Pistorius' 2014 trial, it was determined that the former Olympic runner shot Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door. Pistorius stated that it was an accident and he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.
Pistorius was convicted of murder for the killing of Steenkamp after prosecutors successfully appealed the initial conviction for culpable homicide, which is a charge comparable to manslaughter in the United States. He was then sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison in 2017.
The 37-year-old first attempted to qualify for parole back in March 2023, but the Department of Correctional Services determined that Pistorius hadn't completed the minimum period behind bars in order to be eligible for parole. South African inmates are required to serve at least half of their sentence before being eligible for parole.
Pistorius served his sentence at Atteridgeville Prison, which is located west of Pretoria.
Pistorius had both of his feet amputated when he was just 11 months old due to a birth defect. He won gold medals at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Paralympics in the 100, 200, and 400-meter events prior to being incarcerated.