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Oscar Pistorius' Potential Release Leaves Steenkamp Family 'Shocked'

by Alexander Smith and Chapman Bell /  / Updated 

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Reeva Steenkamp's family was "shocked" to learn her killer Oscar Pistorius will likely be released from prison just 10 months into his sentence, a lawyer for the family told NBC News on Tuesday.

Pistorius was jailed for five years in October following his conviction for culpable homicide over shooting his girlfriend Steenkamp dead in the bathroom of his home in Pretoria, South Africa.

South Africa's parole board announced Monday that they had approved the double-amputee athlete’s release from prison on August 21 — at which point he will have served around 10 months in jail — meaning he will likely spend the rest of his sentence under house arrest.

Tania Koen, a lawyer for the Steenkamps, said the family "did not feel that 10 months was enough for taking a life, whether it was Reeva’s or anyone else behind that bathroom door."

Image: SAFRICA-TRIAL-PISTORIUS
Barry and June Steenkamp in court in Pretoria for Pistorius' trial in August.HERMAN VERWEY / AFP - Getty Images file

Under South African law, Pistorius was always eligible for release after serving one-sixth of his term. But Koen said Steenkamp's parents, Barry and June, were nevertheless "shocked by the news."

"They have always said that they have forgiven him, and they still maintain that they have forgiven him," she told NBC News by telephone. "They do not want him to suffer. But having said that, if you look at the bigger picture, if a criminal has been found guilty they must be held responsible."

Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide — a charge similar to manslaughter — and found not guilty of murder after his defense team argued he believed Steenkamp to be an intruder. However, prosecutors have been given the right to appeal that decision in November, meaning the "blade runner’s" legal battle is far from over.

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