In a unanimous vote, a Nevada board Thursday granted O.J. Simpson parole on the remaining counts for which he was convicted for stemming from a 2007 Las Vegas robbery. Simpson could walk free as early as Oct. 1.
Simpson, 70, has spent more than eight years behind bars in a Nevada prison for the armed robbery, during which he and several accomplices broke into a Las Vegas hotel room to steal pieces of memorabilia from two men. Simpson ordered that no one leave the room during the robbery, and one of his accomplices brandished a gun (Simpson has denied having any knowledge of the group having a weapon).
On Oct. 3, 2008 — 13 years to the day after he was acquitted for the murders of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman — Simpson was convicted on all 12 counts with which he was charged: three counts of conspiracy, one count of burglary in possession of a deadly weapon, and two counts each of kidnapping, robbery, assault, and coercion, all with a deadly weapon.
Nevada District Court Judge Jackie Glass sentenced him to a minimum of nine years in prison and a maximum of 33 years. Simpson would have been released from jail in September 2022 had parole been denied.
Simpson was granted parole on five counts in a 2013 hearing by the same Nevada parole board that he faced on Thursday. The remaining seven counts, however, could not be revisited until he served four more years in prison.
“What were you thinking?” was the first question posed to Simpson by commissioner Tony Corda at the hearing on Thursday morning. “This might be a little long, I’ll try to be brief,” Simpson said during his opening remarks detailing the events leading up to the robbery.
A recurring theme of Simpson’s testimony was his denial that he’s ever pulled a gun on someone. “I would never pull a weapon on anybody,” he said, repeating the sentiment several times. “Nobody’s ever accused me of pulling any weapon on them,” he said. The former athlete also described himself as a family man and a devout Christian who has “basically spent a conflict-free life.”
He also stressed again that he didn’t know that his accomplices were carrying guns when they confronted two sports memorabilia dealers.
Parole commissioner Susan Jackson said they have received “hundreds of letters,” which won’t be considered, asking them to factor in their judgment Simpson’s 1995 murder acquittal.
The former NFL star voiced his regret about his crime and stressed that he takes “full responsibility” for his actions.
“If I would have made a better judgment back then, none of this would have happened. And I take full responsibility,” Simpson said.
Simpson said he’s done his time and isn’t interested in the media, adding that he’s turned down multiple media opportunities during his sentence.
Simpson’s oldest daughter, Arnelle Simpson, echoed her dad’s sentiment in her emotional testimony.
“No one really knows how much we have been through … this ordeal the last nine years,” she said before adding that her family realizes that “he is not the perfect man.”
“We just want him to come home,” she said. “I know in my heart he’s been very humbled throughout this situation.”
Simpson then delivered his closing remarks, saying he kept his word to the warden to maintain good behavior.
“I’ve spent nine years making no excuses about anything,” Simpson insisted.
In his closing statement, Simpson’s lawyer described him as “selfless” because he didn’t ask a politician for help getting out of jail.
Bruce Fromong, the only surviving victim of Simpson’s robbery, is in favor of granting him parole.
“O.J. never held a gun on me,” Fromong said in court, “He never laid a hand on me.”
“We all mistakes. O.J. made his,” he added, saying he recommended during the initial trial that Simpson — whom he described as a “good man” — only serve one to three years.
Fromong said if Simpson asked him to pick him up from jail tomorrow, he would do it without hesitation.
“Juice, I’ll be here for you tomorrow. I mean that, buddy.”