Convicted murderer and former South African Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, who competed with carbon fiber prosthetic legs, was granted early release and will go on parole in January.
Pistorius was granted parole on Friday by the Department of Correctional Services in South Africa, which will go into effect on January 5, Fox News reported. The sprinter, nicknamed “Blade Runner,” was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp, after shooting her multiple times on Valentine’s Day morning in 2013. Pistorius was initially sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison for the slaying.
The sprinter gained popularity and fame after qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Pistorius was born without fibula bones, requiring doctors to amputate both of his legs when he was just 11 months old. He was the first amputee to win a world track medal among nondisabled participants at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics and became the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied Olympians in 2012.
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Less than a year after shocking the world and competing in the Olympic Games, Pistorius fired four shots into a closed bathroom door at his Pretoria, South Africa, home, killing Steenkamp. Prosecutors argued that Pistorius shot Steenkamp, whom he had been dating for three months, in a fit of rage after the model had fled to the bathroom during an argument with the Olympian. Pistorius pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder and a gun charge, arguing that he mistakenly shot Steenkamp thinking she was an intruder.
He was convicted of manslaughter in 2014 and sentenced to five years in prison, but that conviction was overturned by a higher court, and Pistorius’ conviction was changed to murder with his sentence increasing to six years. Prosecutors appealed the ruling, arguing the sentence was too lenient, and in 2017, the sprinter’s sentence was increased to 13 years and five months by South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeals, according to CNN.
Earlier this year, it was reported that Pistorius would be given 24-hour police protection upon his possible release. A police source told The Daily Mail that Pistorius would be a target for criminal gangs after getting out of prison.
“Pistorius killed a young woman and that in itself is a major no-no as far as Johannesburg’s criminal fraternity is concerned,” the source said, adding, “Oscar is a murderer, but once he has served his sentence, he should be able to rebuild his life and live safely.”