Back in 2013, a South African Paralympic Champion, was made famous for something far different than being named the Blade Runner, or the fastest man on no legs.
He actually competed in the 2011 World Championships in Athletics and won. He also became the first to compete in the Summer Olympics in track who had a double amputee.
After winning multiple gold, silver, and bronze medals in the Paralympic, World, and National finals from 2004 to 2012, the next year would bring something other than success to his fame. On Valentine’s Day the following year, the Paralympic Champion shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Instead of being remembered for being the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics AND the Paralympics, Pistorius is now remembered for being the murderer of his girlfriend.
History of the Sentence
His sentence first began ruled as a homicide, but then just one year into his five-year sentence, the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa overturned the conviction and ruled it as murder. However, instead of the usual 15-year sentence, Pistorius only was charged with six years. The sprinter had argued that he had thought his girlfriend was an intruder and therefore accidentally shot her. Though the argument for murder was the fact that the murder was thought intentional because the couple had had a late-night argument the day prior.
However, seventeen months from the judge’s July 2016 sentence, the Olympian’s prosecutors appealed to overturn the sentence against Pistorius to convict him of murder. The initial verdict was “culpable homicide”.
Friday, Supreme Court Justice Willie Seriti agreed with the prosecutors and stated that the six-year sentence was too lenient. The final conclusion was also persuaded by the fact that they had seen that Pistorius was displaying a “lack of remorse, and did not appreciate the gravity of his actions.” His prison term was then nearly doubled when his sentence was increased to 13 years and five months.
His deceased girlfriend’s family expressed their gratitude for this change in sentence. They stated that the new sentence finally brought justice for Reeva. However challenging it is to live without her every day and still feel the presence of her loss, it is a bit of a peace-bringer to her memory and her family.
The New Sentence
This new sentence declares that Pistorius cannot be eligible for parole until the year 2023, six years from now. The sprinter needs to serve at least half of his sentence to be able to be eligible for parole.
His girlfriend Steencamp was shot four times through the locked door of his bathroom. After her death, she was named, along with Anene Booysen, as the Daily Maverick’s South African Person of the Year in 2013. She was also remembered through a thirty-minute documentary broadcasted by eNCA called “Reeva: The Model You Thought You Knew.” She was 29 when she died. Steencamp was a model and a paralegal.
Comment below on your thoughts on the case and your words of consolement for the model’s family.