Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee Olympic sprinter, was released from prison on parole Monday evening from Kgosi Mampuru II prison in Pretoria.
The release was one day earlier than expected and Pistorius’ stay in prison was just shy of one year into a five-year sentence for killing his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day 2013. Pistorius shot and killed 29-year old Reeva Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door, allegedly mistaking her for an intruder. He was acquitted of murder for Steenkamp's death and instead found guilty of culpable homicide, an unintentional but unlawful killing comparable to manslaughter.
Under South African law, Pistorius was eligible for release under "correctional supervision" having served a sixth of his sentence. Anneliese Burgess, a spokesman for the Pistorius family, said the former Olympian would serve the remainder of the sentence under house arrest and “strictly adhere” to the conditions of his release. “Oscar's sentence has not been shortened or reduced. He is simply entering the next phase of his sentence now,” Burgess said.
The next phase has moved Pistorius to a luxury three-story mansion in Waterkloof owned by his uncle Arnold, where he will reportedly spend the next four years. Pistorius will be forced to comply with several conditions which include undergoing psychotherapy, a ban on gun ownership and use, going out at night, traveling and mandatory random drug and alcohol testing. Pistorius will also have to meet with the Steenkamp’s family if and when they are willing. He can work but it is unknown whether or not he will be allowed track and field training or work out privileges.
A violation of these conditions could mean a return to prison.
The possibility of a tougher sentence still exists. The Supreme Court of Appeal will hear a case in November from prosecutors, who will be looking for a murder conviction that carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.
June Steenkamp, the mother of Reeva Steenkamp, said she does not harbor feelings of revenge and preached forgiveness when she spoke to students at St. Dominic's High School in Port Elizabeth.
“I didn’t want [Pistorius] to be thrown in jail and be suffering, because I don’t wish suffering on anyone. And that’s not going to bring Reeva back, but in my heart, I don't want revenge. I’m past that," Steenkamp said.
"Once you have told God that you forgive, you have to forgive. And I don’t want him to suffer, because I would be like other people. I don't want to be like other people. I've got my own ideas. You don't get revenge. You don't want revenge. I would certainly not want to hurt another human being.”
Pistorius competed with able-bodied athletes at the 2012 London Olympics wearing carbon-fiber blades. He’s competed at three Paralympic Games in 2004, 2008 and 2012 but is not eligible again until the 2019 games.