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Is Olympic Sprinter Oscar Pistorius Still in Prison for Killing His Girlfriend?

Oscar Pistorius‘ story was well-documented. It was one of amazing triumph and unspeakable tragedy. He overcame having both feet amputated at 11 months old due to a congenital defect to become a world-class sprinter and an Olympian for South Africa in the 2012 Olympics. Just months after reaching the pinnacle of sports, he made world headlines when he fatally shot his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp. He was found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years in prison. Where is Oscar Pistorius today?  

Oscar Pistorius and his amazing rise to fame

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Oscar Pistorius made his international debut at the 2004 Summer Paralympic Games. While Pistorius is classified as a T43 or double below-knee amputee, he competed in the T44 division, which is designated for single below-knee amputees. It didn’t matter.

Pistorius finished third and earned a bronze in the 100 meters. He then proceeded to set a world record in the 200 meters with an astonishing time of 21.97 seconds and earned gold defeating a pair of Americans who both were single-amputee athletes. He dominated the next two Paralympics winning multiple medals in the 100, 200, and 400-meter events.

Oscar Pistorius became a worldwide sensation in 2012 when he qualified for the Summer Olympics in both the 400-meter race and the 4 X 400-meter race for South Africa. In the 400, Pistorius finished second in his qualifying heat and then placed eighth in the second semi-final. He had better success in the relay where the team made it to the finals and finished eighth. While he didn’t win any medals, he made history becoming the first amputee runner to compete at the Olympics. 

Oscar Pistorius kills girlfriend

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Six months after carrying the South African flag in the closing ceremony, Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, in what he described as an intruder incident. The story shocked the world. 

Pistorius went to trial in March 2014. After one delay, in which his defense team claimed he had generalized anxiety disorder and might not be criminally responsible for the shooting, the trial resumed in July. A couple of months later, Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide and one firearm-related charge of reckless endangerment.  

He received a prison sentence with a maximum of five years for culpable homicide and a concurrent three-year suspended prison sentence for the separate reckless endangerment conviction. 

Where is Oscar Pistorius today?

A month after the conviction of Oscar Pistorius, prosecutors appealed the verdict and described the sentence as “shockingly light, inappropriate, and would not have been imposed by any reasonable court.” In November 2015, the Supreme Court of Appeal agreed and overturned the lower court’s decision of culpable homicide and found him guilty of murder in his girlfriend’s death. 

In July 2016, the same judge who initially sentenced Pistorius to five years, amended his sentence, adding an extra year. That decision also did not sit well with prosecutors, who said they would take their appeal back to the Supreme Court of Appeal and request a lengthier sentence. After months of hearings, the higher court made a ruling in November 2017 and increased Pistorius’ jail sentence to 15 years, less time already served.

In December 2017, Oscar Pistorius filed papers to appeal the increased sentence and have his previous six-year sentence reinstated. In March 2018, Pistorius’ appeal was denied. He is not eligible for parole until at least 2023.