South African ‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius seeks parole

South African former Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius, jailed in 2014 for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will get another chance for an early release at a parole hearing on Friday.

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FILE PHOTO: Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius leaves court after appearing for the 2013 killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, June 14, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/Files

Known as the “Blade Runner” for his carbon-fibre prosthetic legs, Pistorius went from a public hero as a Paralympic champion to a convicted killer in hearings that caught the world’s attention a decade ago.

Pistorius shot and killed Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013.

He was initially jailed for five years in 2014 for culpable homicide by a high court but the Supreme Court of Appeal in late 2015 found him guilty of murder after an appeal by prosecutors.

He was sent back to jail for six years in 2016, less than half the 15-year minimum term sought by prosecutors.

In 2017, the Supreme Court more than doubled his sentence to 13 years and five months, saying the six-year jail term was “shockingly lenient”.

A parole board is considering Pistorius‘ case at a hearing in the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre near the capital Pretoria, where it will decide if he should be released on parole.

Rob Matthews, spokesperson for Steenkamp’s mother June, addressed the media outside the centre, detailing the toll Reeva’s death had had on the family.

“I’m not convinced that Oscar has been rehabilitated. Rehabilitation requires someone to engage honestly with the full truth of his crime and the consequences thereof,” said June Steenkamp in prepared remarks read by Matthews.

Several factors are typically taken into account by a parole board, including the nature of the crime, the possibility of reoffending, conduct in prison, physical and mental wellbeing and potential threats a prisoner may face if released.

Pistorius was denied parole in March after it was ruled that he had not completed the minimum detention period required to be considered for parole.

However, the Constitutional Court said in October that Pistorius had served half of his sentence by March 21, which meant he was eligible, after his sentence was backdated to July 2016 instead of November 2017.

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