After spending more than eight years in a Nevada state prison, O.J. Simpson may be close to being released. The famed football star has a hearing July 20 and if granted, the 69-year old could be a free man by Oct. 1.
Simpson was sentenced on Oct. 3, 2008 to serve a minimum of nine and up to 33 years for his role in a 2007 incident at the Palace Station Casino in Las Vegas. The football star and five men entered the hotel room where they had been informed two sports memorabilia dealers had some of his mementos from his college and professional career that had been reported stolen.
Some of those with the celebrity brandished handguns when they confronted dealers Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley and took back the souvenirs. The group was arrested shortly thereafter and prosecutors began to build a case against them.
At the 2008 trial, four of the defendants testified against the Hall of Famer. He claimed he did not know there would be guns at the confrontation. The jury was not swayed and he and an associate were convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery, and assault with a deadly weapon.
Ironically, his prison term began 13 years to the date of his exoneration from double homicide charges in the murders of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman. The court case, which was televised worldwide, was dubbed, “The Trial of the Century.” His lawyers argued that his conviction eight years ago was payback for his 1995 acquittal, which many thought had been a miscarriage of justice.
Third Time’s the Charm?
Simpson, known as prisoner 1027820, has had two previous parole hearings, one in 2013 and another the following year. At the initial hearing, he told the panel, which was based in Carson City, via teleconference that he was remorseful for his crimes.
“My crime was trying to retrieve for my family my own property,” Simpson said at the event. “I would give it all back to these guys. They could have it all back if I could get these last five years back.”
The board, which heard his case, granted parole for some of his crimes, but noted he still had four more years until his minimum sentence was reached, and denied a full conditional release.
Simpson’s time has been served at Lovelock Correctional Facility, a medium security state prison in the desert 100 miles northeast of Reno. He is its most famous inmate, but has spent his sentence quietly and is described as a model prisoner.
That will most likely factor in to the decision to free him or not. Simpson has had no disciplinary incidents while incarcerated and has served as a mentor to other criminals. His age also works in his favor, as do the positive reports on previous hearings.
The four-member panel will hear from Simpson’s attorney, Malcolm LaVergne, who will probably argue that his client would live a quiet, crime-free life, if released.
Beardsley, one of the two victims, died in 2015 and the other, Fromong, wants to attend the proceedings, but told the Associated Press he is not sure what he would say.
“I’ve lost everything,” Fromong said. “But I don’t want to live my life in the past.”