Three years ago, Paralympic gold medal sprinter Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius was on trial for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. At the time, it seemed like he might sprint away from any possible jail time after being found guilty of “culpable homicide.” But that thought was dashed (sorry, I’ll stop) when a judge found him guilty of the much more serious “murder,” and gave him five years in prison. That sentence was later upped to six.
If you thought that six years for shooting a woman four times through a bathroom door was a too damn light, you’re not alone. A South African court thought the same, and they’ve recently dumped a whole lot more prison time on Oscar.
According to BBC News, South African prosecutors argued that Oscar’s six-year term was “shockingly light.” They demanded more, and the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein gave it to them. The minimum number of years for murder in South Africa is 15, and so Oscar’s sentence has been upped to thirteen years and five months. I guess you could say Oscar’s time on the inside just went from a sprint to a marathon.
The new sentence of thirteen years and five months took into account the one year and seven months Oscar has already served in prison and under house arrest after his manslaughter conviction. The earliest he’ll be eligible for parole is 2023. Oscar will be 37 years old then.
Oscar Pistorius wasn’t in court when the decision was made. His brother Carl Pistorius commented on the decision on social media, saying he was “shattered, heartbroken, gutted,” adding:
“We have all suffered incomprehensible loss. The death of Reeva was and still is a great loss for our family too.”
You know who it might be a bigger loss for? Oh, I don’t know, maybe…Reeva’s family? Speaking of, Reeva’s family also weren’t in court when the decision was made. But according to their family lawyer Tania Koen, they’re also heartbroken and gutted too. Although they are very happy with the new ruling.
“They feel there has been justice for Reeva. She can now rest in peace. But at the same time, people think this is the end of the road for them…the fact is they still live with Reeva’s loss every day.”
So how long did the court wrestle with the idea of jacking Oscar’s jail time up to thirteen years and five months? Probably not too long. The Supreme Court said that Oscar “displays a lack of remorse, and does not appreciate the gravity of his actions.” So wait a second: Oscar has spent more than a year and a half sitting alone to think about murdering his girlfriend, and he’s still “Eh, whatever” about it? Congratulations, Blade Runner – you’re officially no longer 2017’s worst Blade Runner.