A Nevada parole board has granted O.J. Simpson parole.
Mr. Simpson, who turned 70 this month, went before the board as a man convicted of taking a group of accomplices, two of them armed with guns, to a cheap Las Vegas hotel room in 2007 to take hundreds of items from a sports memorabilia dealer.
But it is the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, for which he was acquitted after the most-watched trial in history, that have cast the longer, darker shadow over his life and reputation.
After his conviction in 2008, a judge sentenced Mr. Simpson nine to 33 years in state prison, meaning that he becomes eligible for parole for the first time on Oct. 1.
Based on his age and the fact that he has been a model prisoner, the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners granted his release the first time it was considered, rather than denying parole and making him wait years for another chance.
“I’ve done my time,” he said. “I’ve done it as well and as respectfully as I think anyone can.”
Simpson has served nine years of a nine-to-33-year sentence for an armed robbery and kidnapping in Las Vegas in 2007. Now 70, Simpson appeared alert, engaged, and quick to smile, letting out a hearty laugh when Parole Board Chairman Connie Bisbee accidentally said he was aged 90.
“I feel like it,” he said, laughing.
Still, at the parole hearing, he deflected responsibility for that Vegas crime and said he was misled by associates around him, who he said then turned on him in court.
“Unfortunately, they got a get-out-of-jail-free card when they said ‘O.J. told me (to do it),'” Simpson said.
“Nothing I can do about that.”
Four members of the parole board are now deliberating. If their vote is not unanimous, two other board members will be asked to vote. Simpson must win a majority of the vote to be released.
Thursday’s parole hearing follows renewed interest in Simpson’s story, which was explored last year in the award-winning documentary “O.J.: Made in America” and the FX true-crime drama “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”
Simpson is best known for his infamous 1995 acquittal in the grisly slayings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in what was called the “trial of the century.”
Though it’s been 22 years since that not guilty verdict, the murder trial’s themes of criminal justice and race, trust in police, celebrity and domestic violence remain remarkably resonant in modern culture.
Follow us on Twitter at @thesignalng
Copyright 2017 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to www.signalng.com and other relevant sources.