Former Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius was denied parole Friday and will have to stay in prison at least another year and four months after it was decided that he had not served the “minimum detention period” required to be released following his murder conviction for the 2013 killing of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The parole board hearing Pistorius’ application ruled he would be able to apply again in August 2024, South Africa’s Department of Corrections said in a statement. The board cited a new clarification on Pistorius’ sentence that was issued by South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal three days ago, according to the statement.
The result was a surprise but there has been legal wrangling over when Pistorius should be eligible for parole because of the series of appeals in his case. He was initially convicted of culpable homicide, a charge comparable to manslaughter, in 2014 but the case went through a number of appeals before Pistorius was finally sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison for murder in 2017.
Serious offenders must serve at least half their sentence to be eligible for parole in South Africa and Pistorius’ lawyers had gone to court to argue that he was now eligible because he had served the required portion of time in jail from late 2014 following his culpable homicide conviction.
June Steenkamp, the mother of Reeva Steenkamp, attended Pistorius’ hearing Friday to oppose his parole. The parents of Reeva Steenkamp have said they still do not believe Pistorius’ account of their daughter’s killing.
Pistorius has always claimed he killed Steenkamp in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day 2013 after mistaking her for a dangerous intruder in his home. The Steenkamps said they think he killed her intentionally after a late-night argument and want him to stay in prison.