On Thursday, the Nevada Parole Board ruled to grant imprisoned former football star O.J. Simpson parole.
Simpson, 70, will be eligible for release as early as October 1 from the Nevada prison where he’s served more than eight years for armed robbery and kidnapping.
Simpson apologized for his crime in the hearing, but at times seemed combative, and shifted blame onto others involved in the robbery. (He did not testify in the 2008 trial that led to his conviction.)
At one point in the hearing, Simpson said he had never brandished a weapon at anyone and insisted that he has “basically” lived “a conflict-free life.”
That is at odds with other accounts of Simpson, however, especially in regards to the 1994-1995 “trial of the century,” in which he was acquitted of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman.
In the course of the trial, 911 calls were released of Nicole Simpson calling numerous times for police to come to their house, saying that O.J. had beat her. In one instance, she told the arriving officer she thought he would “kill me.”
Several people also testified on Simpson’s behalf in the hearing.
The former football star’s eldest daughter, Arnelle Simpson, spoke in defense of her father. “On behalf of my family, we just want him to come home,” she said. “And I know in my heart that he is humbled throughout the situation.”
Bruce Fromong, the only surviving victim of the 2007 memorabilia robbery and a friend of Simpson’s, testified in favor of granting Simpson’s parole in the hearing. He said that Simpson never brandished a gun on him in the robbery and asked the parole board to grant Simpson an early release.
“We all make mistakes. O.J. made his,” Fromong said. “But nine-and-a-half to 33 years is way too long. I feel like it’s time to give him a second chance and let him go home to his friends and family. This is a good man.”
What led to Simpson’s imprisonment:
Simpson was convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping in October 2008 for his part in a September 2007 crime committed in a Las Vegas casino hotel.
Simpson and five accomplices held two men at gunpoint in a confrontation over sports memorabilia and personal items, which Simpson claimed had been stolen from him. Though Simpson insisted he didn’t know anyone was armed in the crime, he was eventually convicted of several weapons charges.
Four of the six men involved in the crime plead guilty and testified in the trial. Simpson and his friend, Clarence “CJ” Stewart, were later both found guilty of 12 charges, including assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, and conspiracy.
Simpson faced a potential life sentence, but in December 2008, he was instead sentenced to a minimum of nine years and a maximum of 33 years at the Lovelock Correctional Facility in Lovelock, Nevada.
Additional reporting by Jason Guerrasio.