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Oscar Pistorius, ex-Olympic runner, granted parole more than 10 years after killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Former Olympian Oscar Pistorius granted parole
Former Olympian Oscar Pistorius granted parole 00:24

Johannesburg — Imprisoned former Paralympic gold medalist and Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius was granted parole on Friday, but the South African parole board said the decision would not take effect until Jan. 5. The board made its decision on the Olympic runner's fate more than 10 years after he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentines Day 2013.

The board had been expected to consider his conduct and disciplinary record in prison, his participation in educational or other training courses, his mental and physical state, whether they believed he was likely to relapse into crime and the risk he poses to the public. 

South Africa's national Department of Correctional Services said in a statement that the parole made its decision, "having assessed Mr. Pistorius' profile and other material submitted for the purposes of parole consideration," and noted that he was a "first time offender with a positive support system."

Steenkamp's mother June did not address the parole board directly Friday, but a representative read out a family impact statement in which June said: "Rehabilitation requires someone to engage honestly, with the full truth of his crime and the consequences thereof. Nobody can claim to have remorse if they're not able to engage fully with the truth."

"Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius, convicted in murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, up for parole 02:33

The Department of Correctional Services said the athlete 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."

Social workers inspected his uncle Arno Pistorius' property in Pretoria earlier this year, which is where he'll serve out the remainder of his sentence under the parole conditions. The terms of parole vary in South Africa but can include an electronic tag to monitor movements and a ban on making money from media interviews about the individual's incarceration.   

The televised 2014 trial had viewers around the world glued to the courtroom video feed as prosecutors argued that the athlete, known as the "Blade Runner" for his carbon-fiber prosthetic legs, had deliberately shot his girlfriend through a locked bathroom door. Pistorius maintained throughout that it was a terrible accident and that he had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder.

He was ultimately convicted of murder after prosecutors successfully appealed an initial conviction for culpable homicide, a lesser charge comparable to manslaughter in the U.S. He was sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison in 2017, which took into account time he'd already served behind bars during the appeal process.  

The double amputee, who turned 37 on Wednesday, lost his first bid for parole in March when the Department of Correctional service said he had not completed the minimum detention period to be eligible for parole. Inmates in South Africa must serve half their sentence to be eligible. Authorities decided in March that half of Pistorius' sentence would be measured from his last conviction, but the Constitutional Court overturned that ruling last month, saying the date must be determined from the first day an inmate begins serving time in prison.  

Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius

Pistorius has been serving his sentence at Atteridgeville Prison, west of Pretoria. 

The year before he killed his model girlfriend, Pistorius was a star of the London Olympics, achieving global recognition for being the first double amputee to run against able-bodied sprinters.

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