LOS ANGELES — Former football star O.J. Simpson, who was acquitted of double-murder in Los Angeles during one of the most celebrated criminal trials of all time, was granted parole July 20 after serving nearly nine years in prison in Nevada for a Las Vegas armed robbery and kidnapping conviction.
Simpson, 70, could be released as early as Oct. 1. A Nevada parole board voted 4-0 to grant Simpson parole, after a roughly 90-minute hearing in which the former running back and actor said he had been a model prisoner. Simpson also repeatedly apologized for his role in the crime.
“I’ve spent nine years making no excuses about anything,” Simpson said. “I am sorry that things turned out the way they did. I had no intent to commit a crime. … I tell the inmates all the time I don’t want to hear about your crime. You know, … in here we’re all convicts. I’m a convict. Do your time and don’t do anything to extend your time.
“I told the warden when I got here … that I would be no problem. I believe in the jury system. I will honor what the jury said and I will be no problem, you know, and I think I kept my word.”
Simpson was locked up in Lovelock, Nevada, in 2008 following his conviction for a botched attempt to retrieve sports memorabilia he claimed belonged to him. He was sentenced to 33 years behind bars, with a minimum of nine years without parole.
The ex-NFL star and co-defendant Clarence “CJ” Stewart were found guilty on a dozen charges stemming from the confrontation at a Las Vegas hotel.
Prosecutors said Simpson used guns, threats and force to take photographs and other items from two sports memorabilia dealers.
The board previously granted Simpson parole in 2013 on a burglary count, and two counts each of kidnapping and robbery. However, he remained in prison on seven other charges related to the use of a deadly weapon.
The case was not connected to the infamous trial and 1995 acquittal that transfixed the nation after Simpson was charged with murdering his 35-year-old ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her 25-year-old friend, Ron Goldman.
In 1997, a civil jury in Santa Monica found Simpson liable for the double slaying and ordered him to pay $33.5 million in damages to the families of Nicole Brown and Goldman.
Nicole Brown and Goldman were stabbed to death on June 12, 1994. Their bodies were found outside of her condominium on South Bundy Drive in West Los Angeles early the next morning.
Despite what prosecutors called a “mountain” of evidence, a jury found Simpson not guilty after an eight-month trial that ended on Oct. 3, 1995. The racially divisive proceedings were televised on Court TV, and an estimated 100 million viewers tuned in to watch the verdict.
Two high-profile TV programs — ESPN’s documentary “O.J.: Made in America” and the FX series “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” — returned the murder case to the national spotlight last year.
During the parole hearing, Simpson portrayed himself as a non-confrontational figure, saying he is not the type of person to have “conflicts on the street.” He also advocated for an Alternative to Violence program, which he said should be mandatory for inmates.
“I’ve done my time,” the former USC and Buffalo Bills star said. “I would just like to get back to my family and friends, and believe it or not I do have some real friends.
“But I don’t think I could have represented this prison — I don’t think any inmate has represented it better than I. I did my time. I tried to be helpful to everybody.”
He added, “I’m sorry it happened. I’m sorry to Nevada.”
“Nine years away from your family is just not worth it, and I’m sorry,” he said.