O.J. Simpson, who has served more than eight years in a Nevada prison for armed robbery, kidnapping and other charges, was granted parole on Thursday. Here's how the hearing played out.
The Nevada Parole Board has begun its hearing. The four commissioners are in Carson City, Nev. O.J. Simpson has just entered the room at Lovelock Correctional in Lovelock, Nev.
Simpson appears to have lost weight. He sat down at the table alongside his attorney Malcolm LaVergne and seemed to be in good spirits as the parole hearing gets underway.
Simpson appears puzzled and uncomfortable as the Parole commissioner details the litany of charges from which he seeks to gain parole. He is informed he is eligible to be released October 1 of this year.
Simpson appeared somewhat caught off guard when told that his use of alcohol on the day of the 2007 armed robbery which is an aggravating factor against his chances to be granted parole. He then laughed heartily when the commissioner announced him to be 90 years old. Simpson is 70.
Parole Board: O.J. Simpson does not have an prior convictions and did not receive any discipline in prison, which helps to lower his risk to society score.
Simpson's face turned solemn when told that an aggravating factor working against him is that his victims feared for their lives. Moments earlier the parole commissioner announced that Simpson is a generally low risk in part because he had no disciplinary violations during his 8 plus years of incarceration here at Lovelock. He is now answering parole commissioner questions, explaining his thinking in committing the crime in a Las Vegas hotel where he and 4 men, some with guns drawn, broke into a room to take back memorabilia Simpson says was stolen from him.
Simpson clarifies that contrary to media reports he did not break into the Vegas hotel room. That what actually happened was his acquaintance Tom Riccio let him into the room where his property was. He says he was surprised to find one of his friends Bruce Fromong, inside the room. Simpson also clarified another key point: that it was the two security guards he hired who were armed. Simpson testified to the parole board that he was not armed.
O.J. Simpson tells the Parole Board that he had no gun on his person and didn't make any threats on the day in Vegas when he went to get back his memorabilia at the hotel.
Simpson says no one has ever accused him of pulling a gun on them in his life. He says it's mind boggling to him that he is in jail after having the property he was there to retrieve was ruled to be his own.
Simpson may not be doing himself any favors by elaborating for more than 10 minutes on the details of the armed robbery. His attorney Malcolm LaVergne, keeps staring at him and does not seem pleased by the lengthy explanation when all the board may have been looking for is remorse. At one point, Simpson raised his voice when a commissioner questioned him on whether the memorabilia items were actually Simpson's property. He leaned in towards the panel with some fire and told the commissioners that the fact the items were his property had been already determined legally.
O.J. on his winding up in jail versus the men he was with on night of robbery: "Unfortunately, they got a 'Get Of Jail Free' card when they said that O.J. told them."
Simpson: "I basically have lived a conflict free life."
Simpson tells the commissioners he did not take an alcohol course and though "I had drinks on that day. It was a wedding party." But Simpson asserted he didn't need to take the course since he has never had a problem with alcohol or any other substances.
Simpson says "I've missed a lot of time. 36 birthdays with my children." He says he had some problems with fidelity in his life but that he is prepared to resume normal life and that "I'm not a guy that has conflicts on the street."
The Nevada Parole Board confirms that O.J. Simpson's 1994 double murder case, for which he was acquitted, will not be considered to be a factor in their decision.
Simpson: "I'm not a guy who has lived a criminal life. I'm a pretty straight shooter."
Simpson is asked how he will deal with being recognized once he returns to society: says he has been recognized since he was 19 years old and foresees no problems dealing with the public at all. He then joked that he is not planning to stay in Nevada. "I don't think you guys want me here."
O.J. is done for today. His oldest child, daughter Arnelle, will now testify for the Parole Board from Lovelock Correctional.
Simpson's daughter Arnelle has apologized more for her father's actions in the first 3 minutes than her father did in his 45-minute testimony.
"Speaking from the dead," says Simpson lawyer Malcolm LaVergne, Alfred Beardsley, one of the two victims in this case, "he has forgiven OJ Simpson." The other victim, Bruce Fromong, is in the hearing room and according to sources will soon testify that Simpson deserves to be released from prison.
In his closing remarks Simpson tells the parole board : "I am sorry. I had no intent to commit a crime." Says he tells inmates "we are all convicts. Do your time. I've done my time and I'd like to get back to my family and friends." Simpson adds, "Believe it or not I do have friends."
Bruce Fromong appears on OJ Simpson's behalf saying Simpson was misinformed by Thomas Riccio about what Fromong had in the hotel room. He says OJ thought there would be family heirlooms, possibly his wife's wedding ring and pictures of his children." If OJ had said "everybody out of here. Bruce and I need to talk a minute none of this would have happened." But that's not what happened.
O.J. robbery victim Bruce Fromong: "It's time to give him his second chance. It's time to go home to his family, his friends."
Parole Board breaking to deliberate after 78 minutes of testimony. Say they can make a final decision on O.J.'s parole in as soon as 30 minutes.
First parole board member Corda addresses Simpson. Calls Simpson a low risk to re-offend, who has community support and stable release plans. His vote is to grant his parole when eligible. Simpson weeps slightly at hearing this favorable news. He was truly moved to hear the good news. The four parole board members vote unanimously to grant parole which means Simpson is eligible October 1.
O.J. Simpson has BEEN GRANTED PAROLE. All four commissioners agree.
The Simpson family departs moments ago without speaking but O.J. Simpson's attorney Malcolm LaVergne, flanked by Simpson's sister Shirley on the left, daughter Arnelle on the right and Simpson's close friend Tom Scotto, did briefly address the media moments ago before leaving Lovelock in a black SUV. LaVergne would not confirm or deny reports that Simpson would be headed to Florida to live with Scotto saying he has "plenty of options." LaVergne reiterated something that Simpson said during his parole hearing, that he has missed 36 birthdays (of his four children ) as well as several deaths since being incarcerated in 2008.