Seventeen months after a South African court sentenced sprinter Oscar Pistorius to six years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend, the disgraced Olympian had his prison term more than doubled Friday to 13 years and five months.
The new sentence came after prosecutors appealed a judge’s July 2016 punishment against Pistorius, who was found guilty of killing his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day 2013. Pistorius argued that he thought Steenkamp was an intruder.
Pistorius was initially convicted of “culpable homicide” in September 2014 and sentenced to five years in prison; the sprinter was released to home arrest a year later. However, the Supreme Court of Appeals upgraded the “culpable homicide” charge to murder two months later, resulting in the six-year prison sentence, but both prosecutors and Steenkamp’s family argued that the sentence, handed down by oft-criticized judge Thokozile Masipa, was too lenient.
Supreme Court Justice Willie Seriti agreed, saying in court Friday, “the sentence of six years’ imprisonment is shockingly lenient to a point where it has the effect of trivializing this serious offence.” Seriti also said that Pistorius “displays a lack of remorse, and does not appreciate the gravity of his actions,” the Associated Press reports.
A spokesperson for the Steenkamp family told the AP following Pistorius’ new sentence, “They feel there has been justice for Reeva. She can now rest in peace. But at the same time, people must realize that people think this is the end of the road for them … the fact is they still live with Reeva’s loss every day.”
Under the terms of the new sentence, which was backdated to replace the July 2016 sentence, Pistorius won’t be eligible for parole until 2023; the previous six-year sentence allowed the sprinter parole eligibility in 2019. Pistorius must serve at least half of his sentence to be eligible for parole.