Pistorius out of prison, placed under house arrest

Oscar Pistorius released from prison, put under house arrest

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JOHANNESBURG -- Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee Olympic runner who fatally shot his girlfriend in 2013, was released from prison and put under house arrest Monday night, a South African official said.

"Oscar Pistorius was placed under correctional supervision tonight," Manelisi Wolela, a spokesman for South Africa's correctional services department, said in a text message.

Wolela cited officials at Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre, a prison in the South African capital of Pretoria, where Pistorius served almost a year of his five-year sentence for manslaughter.

The correctional services department had originally said Pistorius would be released Tuesday, in line with a decision by a parole board at the prison.

"The handling of the actual placement is an operational matter of the local management, and how they handle it is their prerogative that is carried out in the best interest of all parties concerned, the victims, the offender and the Department of Correction Services," Wolela said.

Oscar Pistorius is scheduled to be under house arrest until 2019. AP Photo/Themba Hadebe

The murder trial of Pistorius generated intense international interest, and the surprising decision to release Pistorius a day early and at night seemed to be intended to avoid the logistical challenges and spectacle associated with a large gathering of television crews and journalists hoping to catch a glimpse of Pistorius on his way out of prison.

While out on bail during his trial, the 28-year-old Pistorius had stayed at his uncle's mansion in a suburb of Pretoria. However, an AP journalist outside the house said no one had gone in or out the main entrance of the house Monday night.

Under South African law, an offender sentenced to five years or fewer in jail can be released after serving one-sixth of the term -- in Pistorius' case, that meant 10 months.

Last year, Pistorius was acquitted of murder for the Valentine's Day shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but prosecutors have appealed the trial verdict of culpable homicide, or manslaughter, and will seek a murder conviction again Nov. 3 at South Africa's Supreme Court.

If Pistorius is convicted of murder by a panel of five judges at the appeal, he faces going back to prison for 15 years, the minimum sentence for murder in South Africa, which no longer has the death penalty.

Pistorius has maintained that he thought Steenkamp was an intruder in his Pretoria home and killed her by mistake. Prosecutors said he shot her intentionally during an argument after she fled to a bathroom.

While under house arrest, Pistorius will have to live under certain conditions until his sentence ends Oct. 20, 2019. Pistorius will have to continue receiving psychotherapy and cannot handle any firearms, the corrections department previously said.

Wolela did not rule out allowing Pistorius to return to training. He said Pistorius would not be required to wear an electronic tagging device.

Pistorius, known as "Blade Runner" for his carbon-fiber running blades, gained worldwide fame when he raced at the 2012 London Olympics as the first amputee runner to compete at the Games.