Six months after being convicted of murder of former girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, former Olympian Oscar Pistorius awaits his impending prison sentence. The hearing will take place June 13-17 at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa.
It was just a year and a half ago that Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide for Steenkamp’s death, which occurred on Valentine’s Day 2013. Pistorius shot and killed Steenkamp, who was on the other side of a bathroom door in his home, though he contends that he thought she was an intruder. In 2014, Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled that it hadn’t been proven that Pistorius was trying to kill Steenkamp, but an appeals court overturned the decision in December, calling the ruling “fundamentally flawed.”
According to Judge Eric Leach, it doesn’t matter whether or not Pistorius knew it was Steenkamp behind the bathroom door. He should have known that his actions would result in the death of whomever was on the receiving end of the shots he fired.
The culpable homicide conviction carried a five-year sentence, but Pistorius spent just one year in prison before he was released under house arrest. Even after he was convicted of murder a little over a month later, the 29-year-old remains out on bail. He’s currently living in his uncle’s home in Pretoria.
When Pistorius recently appeared in court, his attorneys said that his electronic tracking device was faulty, sending alerts that he violated his bail when he was at home. Pistorius was given more freedom than he had before, now allowed to travel within a 12-mile radius between 7 a.m. and noon. He only needs authorization from the police investigating officer in his case if he wants to go beyond that radius.
In South Africa, the minimum sentence for murder is 15 years in prison, though that can be reduced based on certain circumstances. Pistorius could be looking at less than the minimum because he already spent a year behind bars, and his lawyers could argue that his disability should help him avoid a 15-year sentence. Leach said the court has to take into account Pistorius’ one year of jail time and his previous five-year sentence for culpable homicide, which held no minimum sentence but a maximum sentence of 15 years.
Just six months before he killed Steenkamp, Pistorius made history when he competed in the men’s 400 meter competition at the 2012 Olympics as a double-amputee. He made it beyond the qualifying round, and finished in 23rd place out of 24 runners in the semifinals.
Pistorius tried to appeal the murder conviction, but his efforts were denied in March.