O.J. Simp­son has good chance at pa­role in rob­bery

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - KEN RIT­TER

O.J. Simp­son, the for­mer foot­ball star, TV pitch­man and now Ne­vada prison in­mate No. 1027820, will have a lot go­ing for him when he asks state pa­role board mem­bers this week to re­lease him af­ter serv­ing more than eight years for an ill-fated bid to re­trieve sports mem­o­ra­bilia.

Now 70, Simp­son will have his­tory in his favour and a clean record be­hind bars as he ap­proaches the nine-year min­i­mum of his 33-year sen­tence for armed rob­bery and as­sault with a weapon. Plus, the pa­role board sided with him once be­fore.

No one at his Thurs­day hear­ing is ex­pected to op­pose re­leas­ing him in Oc­to­ber — not his vic­tim, not even the for­mer pros­e­cu­tor who per­suaded a jury in Las Ve­gas to con­vict Simp­son in 2008.

“As­sum­ing that he’s be­haved him­self in prison, I don’t think it will be out of line for him to get pa­role,” said David Roger, the re­tired Clark County district at­tor­ney.

Four other men who went with Simp­son to a ho­tel room to re­trieve from two mem­o­ra­bilia deal­ers sports col­lectibles and per­sonal items that the for­mer foot­ball star said be­longed to him took plea deals in the heist and re­ceived pro­ba­tion.

Two of those men tes­ti­fied that they car­ried guns. An­other who stood trial with Simp­son was con­victed and served 27 months be­fore the Ne­vada Supreme Court ruled that Simp­son’s fame tainted the jury. Simp­son’s con­vic­tion was up­held.

Prison life was a stun­ning fall for a charis­matic celebrity whose sto­ry­book ca­reer as an elec­tri­fy­ing run­ning back dubbed “The Juice” won him the Heis­man Tro­phy as the best col­lege player in 1968 and a place in the Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame in 1985.

He be­came a sports com­men­ta­tor, Hol­ly­wood movie ac­tor, car rental com­pany spokesper­son and one of the world’s most fa­mous peo­ple even be­fore his Los An­ge­les “trial of the cen­tury,” when he was ac­quit­ted in the killings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simp­son, and her friend Ron­ald Gold­man.

Simp­son, ap­peared greyer and heav­ier than most re­mem­bered him when he was last seen, four years ago.

He will ap­pear Thurs­day by video con­fer­ence from the Love­lock Cor­rec­tional Cen­ter, to be quizzed by four state pa­role com­mis­sion­ers in Car­son City, a two-hour drive away.

Two other mem­bers of the board will mon­i­tor the hear­ing, said David Smith, a pa­role hear­ing ex­am­iner. The com­mis­sion­ers will have a pa­role hear­ing re­port that has not been made pub­lic, plus guide­lines and work­sheets that would ap­pear to favour Simp­son. It plans to make its writ­ten risk as­sess­ment pub­lic af­ter a de­ci­sion.

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