reeva steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius: Release Halted By Department Of Justice

Oscar Pistorius’ release from prison was halted by South Africa’s Department of Justice. In September, 2014, the Paralympic champion was convicted of culpable homicide in the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Although he was originally sentenced to five years in prison, Pistorius was granted early release — which was scheduled for Friday. On Wednesday, the DOJ determined the planned release was premature.

On Valentine’s Day, 2013, Oscar Pistorius shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria, South Africa, home. Although he did not deny the shooting, the athlete insists it was a tragic accident.

On the evening in question, Pistorius was reportedly awoken by unusual noises coming from his bathroom. As he assumed Steenkamp was asleep, he became convinced an intruder was breaking into his home.

During a police interview, the Paralympic champion said he called out to the “intruder” — who did not respond. Pistorius admitted he grabbed his gun and proceeded to fire four shots through the bathroom door.

When he returned to the bedroom, he discovered his girlfriend was not in the bed. Realizing his mistake, he immediately unlocked the bathroom door and found Reeva Steenkamp covered in blood and unresponsive. An autopsy later revealed she was shot three times — including a fatal blow to the head.

As reported by the Guardian, authorities were immediately suspicious of Pistorius’ version of events.

Prosecutors claim Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp had a heated argument prior to the shooting. Their assertion was confirmed by a neighbor — who reportedly heard the couple fighting.

Investigators were specifically concerned, as evidence gathered from the scene appeared to contradict the Paralympic champion’s story.

On September 12, 2014, Oscar Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide. As reported by the Telegraph, Judge Thokozile Masipa determined the athlete was negligent because he did not verify who was inside the bathroom before he started shooting. However, the judge did not believe the defendant purposely killed his girlfriend.

Two months later, the Paralympic champion was sentenced to five years in prison.

In recent months, the parole board determined Pistorius was eligible for early release. Although he would have been required to wear an ankle monitor, the athlete would have served the rest of his sentence at his uncle’s mansion.

Oscar Pistorius’ release was scheduled for Friday, August 21. However, South Africa’s Department of Justice has halted the early release.

As reported by Yahoo, the DOJ reviewed the release and determined the parole board’s decision was premature.

Justice department spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said the board made their decision before the athlete was even eligible for parole. Therefore, “the decision of the parole board will have to be suspended.”

It is unclear how the prison will proceed with future parole hearings or Oscar Pistorious’ eventually release. However, he will not be leaving on Friday.

[Image via Phill Magakoe – Pool / Independent Newspapers / Gallo Images / Getty Images]

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