PRETORIA, South Africa — Former Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius was denied parole on Friday after it was determined he had not served the “minimum detention period” required for release following his conviction for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The South African Department of Corrections said in a statement that the Parole Board had determined that Pistorius could reapply in August 2024. The board cited further clarification of Pistorius’ decision by the High Court of Liaison from South Africa three days earlier, according to the statement. .
The result came as a surprise, but there has been a legal debate about when Pistorius should be eligible for parole due to the series of appeals in his case. He was first convicted of first-degree murder, a charge comparable to manslaughter, in 2014, but the case was the subject of several appeals before Pistorius was finally sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison for first degree murder in 2017.
Serious offenders must serve at least half of their sentence to be eligible for parole in South Africa.
Steenkamp’s parents still believe he is lying about their daughter’s murder and are against the former Olympic sprinter’s request for parole before the hearing.
“Unless he’s clean, they don’t feel like he’s been rehabilitated,” Tanya Quinn, an attorney for the Steenkamp family, told reporters outside the prison at Steenkamp Correctional Center. Atteridgeville in Pretoria, where Pistorius has been imprisoned since 2016.
“He’s the killer of their daughter,” Quinn said before the hearing.
Pistorius, an amputee runner and multiple Paralympic Olympic champion who made history competing against able-bodied athletes at the 2012 Olympics, has been found guilty of murder for shooting Reva Steenkamp in his home on Valentine’s Day 2013.
Pistorius has long claimed that he accidentally shot his girlfriend after mistaking her for a dangerous intruder. He said he didn’t realize she got out of bed and went to the bathroom. But her parents, Barry and John Steenkamp, said they still believe he deliberately killed her in a rage after a late-night argument.
Pistorius fired four shots with his licensed 9mm pistol through the door of a toilet cubicle in his upscale Pretoria villa to kill Steenkamp, 29, a model and reality TV star, in the pre-dawn hours of February 14, 2013.
Pistorius, now 36, was eventually sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison for the 2017 murder after a series of appeals in his case. He deserves parole after serving half of his sentence.
Pistorius had served more than seven years counting his sentence from late 2014, while his original manslaughter conviction was overturned after an appeal from the prosecution and replaced with a first-degree murder conviction.
The parents’ attorney said Steenkamp’s mother, June Steenkamp, made written and oral statements during the hearing Friday against Pistorius’ request for his release from prison. Quinn said John Steenkamp addressed the parole board in a separate room from Pistorius.
Earlier, John Steenkamp sat in the back seat of a nearby car while Quinn spoke to reporters outside the prison gates ahead of the hearing. John Steenkamp and Quinn were then taken to the prison in a Department of Corrections vehicle.
“She doesn’t think he should be released,” Quinn said. A decade after their daughter’s murder, Quinn said time “never healed” Barry and John’s grief. “For them, 10 birthdays are missed, 10 moms holidays, 10 dads holidays, 10 birthdays are missed.”
Barry Steenkamp came face to face with Pistorius last year in what is known in South Africa as the victim-guilty dialogue that is part of the pre-parole process. Quinn said the reunion was “awful”.
The requests of a victim’s relative are just one of the factors considered by the parole board.
According to the guidelines, the commission considered the crime for which Pistorius was convicted, his conduct in prison, whether he participated in educational courses or other training, his mental and physical condition, and the risk and risk of “reoffending”. posed to the public.
Of all the factors, legal experts say Pistorius’ behavior in prison is perhaps the most important factor.
Pistorius’ attorney, Julian Knight, said earlier that Pistorius was a “model prisoner.” He did not respond to messages seeking comment prior to the parole hearing.
Once hailed as an inspiring figure in overcoming the ordeal of his disability, Pistorius’ trial and downfall captivated the world. His conviction eventually led to his being sent to Kgosi Mampuru II maximum security prison, one of South Africa’s most notorious prisons.
He was transferred to Atteridgeville Prison in 2016 because this facility is best suited for prisoners with disabilities. Pistorius had his lower leg amputated as a child due to a congenital condition and he walks with prostheses.
There have been glimpses of his life in prison, with reports claiming that at one point he grew a beard, gained weight, smoked, and was not recognized by the world-famous athlete.
He would spend most of his time working on an area of the prison grounds where vegetables were grown, sometimes driving a tractor, and giving Bible lessons to other inmates.
There were also flashes of trouble. Pistorius was injured during an argument with another inmate on a prison payphone in 2017. A year earlier, Pistorius had been treated for injuries to his wrists, which his family denied were the result and result of his self-harm. Falling into his cell.
Imray reported from Cape Town, South Africa.
Check out our Sports section for the latest news and analysis. Do you want to bet? Head to the sports betting section for news and odds.