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"Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius Granted Parole 10 Years After Fatally Shooting Model Girlfriend

The Olympian shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, through a bathroom door in his South African home in the early hours of February 14, 2013. 

By Elisabeth Ford
Oscar Pistorius stands during his bail application in 2013

Paralympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius is set to be released from prison on parole early next year, just under 11 years after killing his girlfriend.

The South African pro sprinter was granted parole Friday after serving time for fatally shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through the bathroom door of his Pretoria home on Valentine’s Day of 2013.

When will Oscar Pistorius get out of prison on parole?

The parole placement will go into effect on January 5, 2024, the Republic of South Africa's Department of Correctional Services said in a statement Friday.

The department added that Pistorius’ parole placement “forms part of the total rehabilitation" program in correcting offending behavior, and may include the continuation of programs aimed at reintegration while he's "in the system of community corrections.”

RELATED: Oscar Pistorius Denied Parole, Hasn't Served 'Minimum Detention Period' In Girlfriend's Murder

Pistorius will be subjected to monitoring throughout the remainder of his sentence.

Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius smile together in white shirts

“Parole does not mean the end of the sentence. It is still part of the sentence. It only means the inmate will complete the sentence outside a correctional facility,” Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo told the Associated Press outside of court Friday. “What will happen is that Mr. Pistorius will be allocated a monitoring official. This official will work with him until his sentence expires.”

Pistorius will have to complete community service, and attend anger management programs that address both anger issues and violence against women during his parole period, which is set to expire on December 5, 2029, the AP reports. He also won't be permitted to leave Pretoria unless he gets permission from authorities.

RELATED: Oscar Pistorius Is Eligible For Parole But He Must First Meet With The Parents Of The Girlfriend He Murdered

The athlete, who had both of his legs amputated below the knee as a baby, was initially convicted of culpable homicide — comparable to manslaughter — in 2014 for the shooting death of model Steenkamp and was sentenced to five years. His conviction was overturned and his was found guilty of murder the following year. He was sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison, Oxygen.com previously reported.  

Pistorius had claimed he killed Steenkamp by accident and mistook her for an intruder. He fired four shots into the toilet door of his bathroom on February 14, 2023, killing the model.

Prosecutors argued that the athlete intentionally shot his girlfriend after a fight between the couple on the evening before Steenkamp died, the Associated Press reported in 2014.

Oscar Pistorius denied parole by mistake

Pistorius was denied parole in March of this year when the parole board ruled that he had not completed the minimum detention requirement to be eligible for release. He was told he could again apply for parole in August of 2024.

However, South Africa’s Constitutional Court determined in October that he was wrongly ruled ineligible as the appeals court made an error on when his sentence officially began, The Guardian reported.

What has Reeva Steenkamp’s family said about Oscar Pistorius’ parole?

June Steenkamp, the South African model’s mother, did not attend Friday’s hearing but provided a letter to the parole board expressing her concern about whether Pistorius had properly dealt with his “anger issues” in prison. She also made it clear that she was not against his release, according to the BBC. “I simply cannot muster the energy to face him again at this stage,” June said of her absence from the hearing.

The BBC reported that Steenkamp's mother believes Pistorius has yet to show remorse for the killing, though she said she decided to forgive him "long ago, as I knew most certainly that I would not be able to survive if I had to cling to my anger.”

Pistorius rose to fame as a professional sprinter in South Africa, using prosthetic blades after a condition at birth led to his legs being amputated before he turned one. The prosthetics sparked the athlete's nickname of “Blade Runner,” according to The Guardian.

RELATED: Oscar Pistorius Reportedly Wants Forgiveness From Victim's Family More Than He Wants To Make Parole

He won several gold medals at the Paralympics, and also became the first double-leg amputee to partake in the Olympics, competing in London in 2012, according to ESPN. His success was overshadowed when he shot and killed Steenkamp.

Oscar Pistorius runs a race during the 2012 Paralympic Games

Who is Reeva Steenkamp?

Steenkamp was a popular model and paralegal from South Africa. She was well known for her advocacy against rape and domestic violence.

Steenkamp had been dating Pistorius for three months before he shot and killed her, according to the BBC. She was 29 at the time of her death.