OJ Simp­son granted pa­role for Las Ve­gas rob­bery

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL -

O.J. Simp­son has been granted pa­role af­ter nine years in prison for a Las Ve­gas rob­bery, a group of four Ne­vada com­mis­sion­ers de­cided to­day. The im­pris­oned for­mer NFL player could be re­leased as early as Oct. 1.

Af­ter learn­ing he would be re­leased, Simp­son, 70, bowed his head and said, “Thank you, thank you.”

Simp­son de­liv­ered a ram­bling ac­count of the case to the pa­role board ear­lier to­day, main­tain­ing that he didn’t in­tend to steal but “wish this would have never hap­pened.”

Simp­son was at times jovial and com­bat­ive with the mem­bers of the pa­role board, ex­press­ing his re­morse and say­ing he’s hum­bled by his in­car­cer­a­tion. Simp­son was sen­tenced to prison fol­low­ing an ar­rest in 2007 dur­ing a botched rob­bery in Las Ve­gas, when he led a group of men into a ho­tel and casino to steal sports mem­o­ra­bilia at gun­point. He con­tended the mem­o­ra­bilia and other per­sonal items be­longed to him.

Simp­son told the pa­role board to­day, “I take full re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

Simp­son ap­peared re­motely via video con­fer­ence from Lovelock Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity in Ne­vada, where he’s serv­ing time for kid­nap­ping and armed rob­bery. Simp­son be­gan by ex­plain­ing what he said led to crime, telling the board how he learned that some “some guys” were try­ing to “fence” what he said were his per­sonal me­men­tos in Las Ve­gas.

“As a per­fect storm we all ended up in Las Ve­gas, you know? I was there for a wed­ding and [was told that] the prop­erty was there.”

He later con­tin­ued, “I said, ‘Of course I would like to get the prop­erty.’ He told me the names of what he thought were the peo­ple in the room, and I re­al­ized th­ese are friends of mine. You know? Ac­tu­ally guys who helped me move, helped me move and store some of this stuff.”

Simp­son ex­plained, “When I came into the [ho­tel] room I no­ticed spread out ev­ery­where was my per­sonal prop­erty.”

“The only thing I saw that was on dis­play that wasn’t mine was some base­balls, and I made it clear to ev­ery­body those are not mine. All I want is my prop­erty. ... I wasn’t there to steal from any­body.”

“I would never, ever pull a weapon,” he said.

Simp­son added, “I haven’t made any ex­cuses in the nine years I’ve been here and not try­ing to make an ex­cuses now.”

When asked if he be­lieved that the prop­erty was his, Simp­son replied, “It’s been ruled legally by the state of Cal­i­for­nia that it was my prop­erty and they’ve given it to me.”

Simp­son re­as­sured the board he would be suc­cess­ful meet­ing the con­di­tions of his pa­role be­fore it was granted, say­ing, “I’m not a guy who lived a crim­i­nal life.”

Simp­son said in his nine years be­hind bars, he’s been “a good guy.”

“I was al­ways a good guy, but could have been a bet­ter Chris­tian, and my com­mit­ment to change is to be a bet­ter Chris­tian.”

He said he took an “al­ter­na­tive to vi­o­lence” course in prison, call­ing it “the most im­por­tant course any­body in this prison can take be­cause it teaches you how to deal with con­flict through con­ver­sa­tion.”

“I had some prob­lems with fi­delity in my life, but I’ve al­ways been a guy that pretty much got along with ev­ery­body,” he said.

Simp­son said he’s missed 36 birth­days with his chil­dren while be­hind bars and missed their col­lege grad­u­a­tions. Once re­leased, he said he wants to spend as much time as he can with his fam­ily.

Dur­ing the hear­ing, Simp­son’s at­tor­ney, Mal­colm LaVergne, planned to read to the board a let­ter Simp­son wrote to a Ne­vada assem­bly­man, but LaVergne had dif­fi­culty find­ing it and asked Simp­son in front of the com­mis­sion­ers, “Did you take the let­ter? I can’t find it now.”

He then lo­cated the let­ter and read it to the board; in the let­ter, Simp­son ad­vo­cates for state funds to go to­ward ed­u­ca­tion for in­mates.

LaVergne then ar­gued to the board that Simp­son’s let­ter didn’t ask for spe­cial treat­ment or an early re­lease, but in­stead showed how Simp­son wants to help other in­mates have “a bet­ter life.”

Simp­son’s el­dest daugh­ter, Ar­nelle Simp­son, also spoke at the hear­ing, ap­pear­ing emo­tional as she told the board her fa­ther is her “best friend” and her “rock.”

“No one re­ally knows how much we have been through, this or­deal in the last nine years,” she said, not­ing that “he didn’t make the right de­ci­sion” on the day of the rob­bery.

“We just want him to come home,” she said. “This has been re­ally, truly hard. ... I know that he is re­morse­ful.”

Bruce Fromong, one of the robbed mem­o­ra­bilia deal­ers and a vic­tim in the case, spoke in Simp­son’s fa­vor at the hear­ing. He ad­mit­ted the ho­tel room did con­tain items that be­long to Simp­son, but said that on the day of the rob­bery, “Simp­son was mis­guided.”

Fromong con­tin­ued, “He was led to be­lieve that on that day, there were go­ing to be thou­sands of pieces of his per­sonal mem­o­ra­bilia, pic­tures of his wife from his first mar­riage, pic­tures of his kids. He was told there were go­ing to be pos­si­bly his wife’s wed­ding ring, thou­sands of things. He was mis­led about what was go­ing to be there that day.”

“O.J. never held a gun on me,” Fromong said. “O.J. is my friend, al­ways has been, and I hope will re­main my friend.”

The pa­role or­der gave th­ese rea­sons for grant­ing pa­role: Simp­son has no or min­i­mal prior con­vic­tion his­tory, he has sta­ble re­lease plans, he has com­mu­nity and/ or fam­ily sup­port, he has a pos­i­tive in­sti­tu­tional record, he par­tic­i­pated in pro­grams spe­cific to ad­dress­ing be­hav­ior that led to in­car­cer­a­tion, and his vic­tim is in sup­port of his pa­role.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.