CARSON CITY (KRON) — A Nevada Parole Board has granted O.J. Simpson parole and he is expected to be released on Oct. 1, 2017.
The board decided Thursday that the 70-year-old former football, TV and movie star will be released in October after serving his minimum term for armed robbery and assault with a weapon.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Simpson said quietly as he buried his head on his chest with relief. As he rose from his seat to return to his prison cell, he exhaled deeply.
Then, as he was led down a hall, the former athlete raised his hands over his head in a victory gesture and said, “Oh, God, oh!”
Simpson’s sister, Shirley Baker, wept and hugged Simpson’s 48-year-old daughter Arnelle, who held a hand over her mouth.
During the more than hour-long hearing, Simpson forcefully insisted — as he has all along — that he was only trying to retrieve items that belonged to him and never meant to hurt anyone. He said he never pointed a gun at anyone nor made any threats during the crime.
“I’m sorry it happened, I’m sorry, Nevada,” he told the board. “I thought I was glad to get my stuff back, but it just wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth it, and I’m sorry.”
Inmate No. 1027820 made his plea for freedom in a stark hearing room at the Lovelock Correctional Center in rural Nevada as the four parole commissioners in Carson City, a two-hour drive away, questioned him via video.
Gray-haired but looking trimmer than he has in recent years, Simpson walked briskly into the hearing room in jeans, a light-blue prison-issue shirt and sneakers. He chuckled at one point as the parole board chairwoman mistakenly gave his age as 90.
Simpson has spent eight years at the Lovelock Correctional Center.
He was serving out a nine to 33-year sentence after a jury convicted him on 12 felony counts including armed robbery for his role in a 2007 sports memorabilia robbery heist in Las Vegas.
A Nevada parole board says O.J. Simpson has requested to live in Florida if he is released from prison.
Simpson’s life in the spotlight began as a beloved football hero in the 1960s and ’70s.
The San Francisco native then transitioned effortlessly to movie star, sports commentator and TV pitchman in the years that followed.
He kept that role until the 1994 killings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. A jury acquitted him, but much of the public believes he carried out the grisly slayings.
It was a steep fall from grace for one of the most beloved personalities in the Bay Area and the nation.
O.J. Simpson has told a Nevada parole board that he has been humbled by his incarceration.
Simpson also said Thursday he’s never made any excuses during his years in prison, but he wishes he had not brought two “security” men along to the Las Vegas hotel room encounter that led to his conviction.
The 70-year-old Simpson is asking four Nevada parole board members to release him in October. He has a good chance after they sided with him once before and because he’s kept a clean prison record.
Simpson’s attorney, Malcolm LaVergne, daughter Arnelle Simpson, sister Shirley Baker and close friend Tom Scotto were at the visiting area to support Simpson.
Thirteen years after O.J.’s “Trial of the Century” in Los Angeles, Las Vegas had its own trial of the century in 2008.
Simpson landed himself in hot water the year before trying to get back memorabilia he considered his from dealer Bruce Fromong during an armed invasion into Fromong’s hotel room.
Five men, including Simpson, broke into the hotel room at the Palace Station hotel and casino and took hundreds of pieces of memorabilia from the collector.
Simpson says he was trying to reclaim stolen family heirlooms.
He was the last of the group left in prison. One of them served just over two years before getting released. The others made plea deals and only ever had parole.
At his December 2008 sentencing, Simpson said he was sorry for his actions.
“I wasn’t there to hurt anybody. I just wanted my personal things, and I realized it was stupid of me. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to steal anything from anybody, and I didn’t know I was doing anything illegal,” Simpson said.
But it was illegal, bringing with it a sentence of 9 to 33 years in prison.
The Goldman family said they finally had some justice after O.J.’s acquittal in the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman 13 years to the day earlier.
“It’s kind of a bittersweet moment knowing that the SOB is going to jail for a very long time where he belongs,” said Fred Goldman, Ron Goldman’s father.
Simpson was granted parole on the armed robbery convictions in 2013. Today, Simpson was granted parole on the remaining charges, including kidnapping.
MORE O.J. SIMPSON COVERAGE:
- O.J. Simpson: Up for parole, how did we get here?
- KRON4’s Gary Radnich interviews O.J. Simpson in 1991
- San Francisco native O.J. Simpson and his Bay Area roots
- O.J. Simpson looking forward to future, attorney says
- Timeline: Key events in O.J. Simpson’s fall from sports hero, movie star