Former Paralympian and Olympian Oscar Pistorius will not be getting out of South African prison anytime soon.
On Friday, South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal added more than seven years to Pistorius’ initial six-year sentence for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius, who in 2012 became the first ever amputee to run at the Olympics, was convicted of manslaughter in 2014, then had his conviction upgraded to murder in 2015.
In adding to Pistorius’ sentence, the Supreme Court called the original punishment “shockingly lenient to a point where it has the effect of trivialising this serious offence,” according to The New York Times. The runner shot Steenkamp four times in the couple’s home and claimed in court that he had mistaken her for an intruder.
Per the Associated Press, the Court’s decision to re-sentence Pistorius was somewhat unexpected. By the time he is released, he will have spent 15 years total in prison.
Supreme Court judges are generally reluctant to change sentences handed down by trial courts, and it’s rare for them to change one so dramatically.
“I did not expect the Supreme Court of Appeal to hand down such a lengthy sentence of imprisonment,” legal analyst Ulrich Roux said on the eNCA news channel. “But, if one looks at what the law states, and given the fact that murder does carry the minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, I think the decision could be vindicated.”
It wasn’t too long ago that Pistorius captivated the world by dominating the Paralympics Games and then qualifying for the 2012 Olympics, where he competed for South Africa in the 400 meters and 4 x 400 meter relay. The following February, he shot and killed Steenkamp, becoming internationally famous for a much darker reason. The judge who originally sentenced him to six years argued that “a long-term imprisonment will not serve justice.”
Friday’s ruling seems to end one of the more dramatic sports-adjacent legal dramas of this century. Pistorius will be eligible for release in early 2030.