JOHANNESBURG (AP) Oscar Pistorius’ release from prison to serve the remainder of a five-year manslaughter sentence under house arrest is the latest chapter in the story of the once-inspiring double-amputee runner who made history at the Olympics and then killed his girlfriend.
Pistorius left jail late Monday, a day earlier than expected, after serving a year of his sentence. He is expected to be confined to house arrest at his uncle’s mansion in the South African capital Pretoria for the next four years.
However, that could all change for the ”Blade Runner” when he faces an appeal at the Supreme Court in just two weeks. On Nov. 3, prosecutors will again seek a murder conviction against him for shooting Reeva Steenkamp in 2013. If convicted of murder in that appeal, Pistorius could be sent back to prison for 15 years.
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Pistorius, 28, was born with a congenital condition and his legs were amputated below the knee when he was less than a year old. He took up athletics as a teenager with immediate success, breaking records and becoming a Paralympic champion for the first time in 2004, just months after he began running competitively.
He fought athletics authorities and won the right to compete against able-bodied runners on his trademark carbon-fiber blades, and ran at the 2011 world championships and the 2012 London Olympics – the first amputee to do so.
Millions who admired Pistorius as a symbol of triumph over adversity were stunned when it emerged he had fatally shot Steenkamp in his home in Pretoria in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day 2013.
During his dramatic seven-month murder trial last year, which attracted global headlines, Pistorius testified he had mistaken his girlfriend for a dangerous intruder in his home and shot her multiple times through a toilet stall door in a tragic error. He was acquitted of murder and found guilty of culpable homicide – a charge comparable to manslaughter – and sentenced to five years in jail.
Prosecutors said Pistorius had killed the 29-year-old model and law graduate intentionally after a fight and will now ask South Africa’s second-highest court to convict the world-famous runner of murder.