Infamous former NFL superstar turned criminal and possibly murderer, O.J. Simpson, was granted parole Thursday after serving nearly nine years behind bars for a 2007 armed robbery in Las Vegas.
Simpson, who is now 70, is set to walk out of Lovelock Correctional Center a free man as early as October 1st of 2017. By that time he will have served the minimum of nine years of a 33 year maximum prison sentence.
While his hair is now graying, he will forever be considered a football great, and he looked noticeably trim and in shape as hung his head and breathed a huge sigh of relief when he learned of his release. Before finally leaving the tiny conference room at Lovelock, he turned to profusely thank the board members one by one for his freedom.
O.J. Simpson earned a unanimous vote for freedom by parole by the four Parole Commissioners who reached their decision following a more than hour and a half long hearing based in Carson City, Nevada.
“You organized this crime in which two victims were robbed at gunpoint. It was a serious crime and there was no excuse for it. You deserved to be sent to prison,” said one of the Parole Commissioners, Tony Corda.
Corda also made it a point to note that Simpson has had no disciplinary record while locked up and was unlikely to commit future crimes.
“You have complied with the rules of the prison,” Corda said. “You have stable support and release plans.”
Simpson told the commissioners that if they showed mercy and released him he had plans to focus on his family and four kids and live in Florida with his close pal Tom Scotto, who was present at the hearing.
The board has not yet released conditions of Simpson’s parole but is expected to do so Thursday afternoon.
Commissioner Connie Bisbee warned Simpson, “We do not look kindly on parole violations, and if I cast my vote to grant and it concludes the hearing, our expectation would be that you not violate even the simplest condition of parole.”
The legendary NFL Hall of Famer is now simply known as Inmate No. 1027820. A far stretch from the once bright lights of television cameras and reporters with the Hollywood-esque glitz and glamor.
Simpson was convicted in 2008 of masterminding a group of armed men into a Las Vegas casino hotel to rob two sports memorabilia dealers. After ten years behind bars, he still insists the sports awards were rightfully his to take.
“It was my property. I would never try to steal from anybody.” Simpson told the board.
At a press conference after the hearing his lawyer Malcolm LaVergne suggested Simpson was apologetic and had learned from the crimes that put him behind bars.
“He’s taken responsibility. He was just offering an explanation,” LaVergne told reporters.
Most of the media expected such a parole since O.J. has remained a model inmate during his sentence in prison, located less than 100 miles northeast of Reno.
When it comes to deciding to parole, and the circumstances are no different for Simpson, the Commissioners consider a multitude factors, including age, disciplinary record, past criminal record and whether the criminal poses a threat to society.
While he's forever a Hall of Fame legend and The Heisman Trophy winner, he will also be remembered for his acquittal in the 1994 double murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her lover Ron Goldman.
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