Fallen South African paralympian Oscar Pistorius has sued prison officials in a bid for early release for fatally shooting his reality star girlfriend through a locked bathroom stall at his home in 2013, local reports say.
Pistorius, dubbed Blade Runner for the futuristic carbon-fiber prosthetics he used for competitions, has asked Pretoria’s high court to force prison officials to hold a parole hearing now that he has served more than half his sentence for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp, according to News24.
Under South African law, offenders who serve half their sentence are eligible for parole – a milestone Pistorius says he reached in February 2021.
“I humbly submit that I have done everything in my power to rehabilitate, to conduct myself in such a manner as to constantly comply with prison rules, to show full remorse,” Pistorius said in a statement to the judges, according to the local news site.
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“I have completed all possible programs which were presented, and I have indeed qualified in terms of the Department of Correctional Services guidelines for release on parole,” the statement continued.
As part of the parole process, Pistorius met with Steenkamp’s father, Barry Steenkamp, in June.
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Pistorius, 35, was one the most inspirational figures in sports when he became the first double amputee to compete at the Olympics in 2012.
But his meteoric rise took a swift turn when he fatally shot 27-year-old Steenkamp, his girlfriend of three months, in his Pretoria home.
He claimed he mistook her for a burglar in the early morning hours of Valentine’s Day when he fired four shots through the locked door of a bathroom stall – but prosecutors argued that the pair had fought and he shot her out of anger.
After an internationally televised trial in 2014 that captivated viewers all over the world, a judge found him guilty of culpable homicide, a charge similar to manslaughter in the U.S., and sentenced him to five years in prison.
But the saga was far from over with prosecutors calling the verdict far too lenient and appealing. After three years of legal wrangling, South Africa’s highest court upgraded the charge to murder and imposed a sentence of 13 years and five months
The court also ruled that the term should be backdated to October 2014 when he was first sentenced for culpable homicide, according to the BBC.
But officials at Attteridgeville prison, where he is being held, say the country’s highest court has given contradictory rulings and they need guidance on how to calculate the amount of time he has served.