Nine years have passed since O.J. Simpson was sentenced to serve up to 33 years in prison on a kidnapping and armed robbery conviction. On Thursday, a Nevada parole board ruled that Simpson will be released.
“I haven’t made any excuses in nine years here,” Simpson said during Thursday’s hearing. “But I should have never allowed these alleged security guys to help me, because it turned out they were only trying to help themselves.”
Simpson’s daughter, Arnelle, spoke on behalf of the family, saying they just want him to come home. For Simpson, the hope is that home will be Florida, though the board made it clear there will be some hurdles to clear before that can be finalized.
Simpson, 70, faced 12 counts of kidnapping, armed robbery, and assault for his role in an altercation over memorabilia Simpson said had been stolen from him. He claimed that he was unaware his associates were armed, but it didn’t sway the jury. Simpson was convicted on all 12 counts.
The verdict came on the 13th anniversary of Simpson’s acquittal for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. The murder trial captivated the entire country. Simpson had built his celebrity as a Hall of Fame running back for the Buffalo Bills. He was featured in ads for major brands like Isotoner gloves and Hertz, and he costarred in a number of movies, including the popular Naked Gun series with Leslie Nielsen.
Then, all of a sudden, Simpson was all over national television as the primary suspect in a grisly double homicide. His trial dominated the news cycle throughout its duration.
Two years after the trial ended, Simpson was found liable for both murders in a civil suit and was ordered to pay out $33.5 million to the victims’ families.
Simpson has served his minimum sentence, so this was the first time he is eligible for parole. During a hearing in 2013, the board granted him parole on five of the 12 counts on which he was convicted. In Thursday’s hearing, he needed to be granted parole on each of the other seven counts in order to secure his freedom.
“I’ve always been a guy that pretty much got along with everybody,” Simpson told the parole board as he rambled about the reasons he should be granted parole. "I've basically lived a conflict-free life."
During his time at Lovelock Correctional Facility in Nevada, Simpson has kept a low profile.
"Simpson has stayed out of trouble there," Brooke Keast, a spokesperson for the Nevada prisons system, said to CNN. "We haven't heard much from him."
In 2007, Simpson and an associate, C.J. Stewart, confronted memorabilia dealers Bruce Fromong and Al Beardsley in a Las Vegas hotel room over footballs, photographs, and other memorabilia Simpson said had been stolen from him. Stewart was also convicted.
Now that Simpson has been granted parole, he could be released as early as October.