WORLD Cameras roll as OJ wins freedom
OJ SIMPSON has been granted parole after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel- room heist, successfully making his case for freedom in a nationally televised hearing that reflected America’s enduring fascination with the former gridiron star.
Simpson, 70, ( pictured) could be released as early as October 1, by which time he’ll have served the minimum of his nine- to- 33- year sentence for a bungled attempt to snatch sports memorabilia and other mementos he claimed had been stolen from him.
During the more than hourlong hearing on live TV, Simpson was, by turns, remorseful, jovial and defensive, heatedly insisting the items taken in the armed robbery were “my stuff”. At one point, he set off a storm of sarcasm and mockery on social media when he said: “I’ve basically spent a conflictfree life, you know.”
All four parole commissioners who conducted the hearing voted for his release after a half- hour of deliberations. They cited, among other things, the low risk he might commit another crime, his community support and his release plans, which include moving to Florida.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Simpson said quietly as he buried his head on his chest with relief.
The murder defendant in the 1995 “Trial of the Century” made his plea for freedom in a stark hearing room at the Lovelock Correctional Centre in rural Nevada as the parole commissioners questioned him via video from Carson City.
At the hearing, Simpson insisted he never meant to hurt anyone, never pointed a gun and didn’t make any threats during the holdup of two sports memorabilia dealers.
“I thought I was glad to get my stuff back, but it just wasn’t worth it,” he told the board. “It wasn’t worth it, and I’m sorry.”
Simpson was expected to win parole, given similar cases and his good behaviour behind bars. His defenders have argued his sentence was out of proportion to the crime and he was being punished for the two murders he was acquitted of in Los Angeles in 1995, the stabbings of ex- wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.
Even one of the dealers Simpson robbed, Bruce Fromong, testified on his behalf.
“He is a good man. He made a mistake,” Fromong said, adding the two remain friends.
Arnelle Simpson, at 48 the eldest of Simpson’s four children, told the board: “We just want him to come home.”