A parole hearing has been scheduled for infamous former footballer and celebrity Orenthal James "O. J." Simpson. CBS News reports the July 20 hearing before the Nevada Board of Parole could lead to a possible October prison release for Simpson, according to a state parole official.
Simpson is currently serving a nine-to-33 year sentence at Nevada’s Lovelock Correctional Center after a 2008 conviction on armed robbery and kidnapping charges.
Simpson’s rise and fall, from college football darling and beloved national celebrity to suspected killer and pariah, has been the subject of countless books, dramatic adaptations and documentaries. Raised in San Francisco’s housing projects, “The Juice” first came to prominence as a running back for the University of Southern California, before becoming the heart and soul of the 1970’s Buffalo Bills NFL franchise. After retiring from football, Simpson nurtured a successful career as an actor and spokesperson, however, it was his implication in the brutal double homicide of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman for which he will forever be associated.
O.J.’s arrest and trial for the 1994 murders was a major media circus, and in many ways created the template for crime television. Opinions upon his guilt broke down along racial fault lines, something his defense team exploited to their advantage, gaining his eventual acquittal. He was eventually found liable in a wrongful death civil suit filed by Goldman’s family and ordered to pay $33,500,000 in damages.
Simpson eventually found himself behind bars after being convicted 13 years to the day since his acquittal for the Brown and Goldman murders. On the night of September 13, 2007, Simpson led a group of men to a room in Las Vegas’ Palace Station hotel to rob memorabilia dealers Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong of former personal items of his they were selling. In a video of his 2013 parole hearing, posted by CNN, Simpson claimed, "My crime was trying to retrieve for my family my own property that was stolen from me."
Simpson was granted parole for his armed robbery convictions in that July 2013 hearing, however, given his mandatory 9-year-sentence, he was still obligated to serve another four years. A November 2013 request for a retrial on grounds of "ineffective assistance of counsel” was denied. Simpson, now 70, will make his case in July via videoconference before a panel of four parole commissioners sitting in Carson City, Nevada, according to parole official David Smith. Simpson's attorney Malcolm LaVergne, who will be with him when he makes his appeal, said in a recent interview, "If he's able to get parole, my prediction is he's going to want to live a quiet life."
[Photo: Getty Images]