OJ Simpson freed from Nevada prison after serving 9 years

The former NFL player was serving time for a botched hotel-room heist in Las Vegas

OJ Simpson. (Canadian Press photo)

OJ Simpson. (Canadian Press photo)

Former football legend O.J. Simpson became a free man again Sunday after serving nine years for a botched hotel-room heist in Las Vegas that brought the conviction and prison time he avoided in the killings of his ex-wife and her friend after his 1995 acquittal in the “trial of the century” in Los Angeles.

Simpson was released at 12:08 a.m. PDT from Lovelock Correctional Center in northern Nevada, state prisons spokeswoman Brooke Keast told The Associated Press. She said she did not know the driver who met Simpson upon his release and didn’t know where Simpson was immediately headed in his first hours of freedom.

“I don’t have any information on where he’s going,” Keast added.

Neither Simpson’s attorney, Malcolm LaVergne in Las Vegas, nor state Parole and Probation Capt. Shawn Arruti, who has been handling Simpson’s case, immediately responded to messages.

Keast said the dead-of-night release from the prison about 90 miles (145 kilometres) east of Reno, Nevada, was conducted to avoid media attention.

“We needed to do this to ensure public safety and to avoid any possible incident,” Keast added, speaking by telephone. She spoke from Lovelock, where she said she witnessed Simpson signing documents to be released.

The 70-year-old Simpson gains his freedom after being granted parole at a hearing in July. Unlike the last time he went free, 22 years ago, he will face restrictions — up to five years of parole supervision — and he’s unlikely to escape public scrutiny as the man who morphed from charismatic football hero, movie star and TV personality into suspected killer and convicted armed robber.

Simpson was looking forward to reuniting with his family, eating a steak and some seafood and moving back to Florida, LaVergne said recently.

Simpson also plans to get an iPhone and get reacquainted with technology that was in its infancy when he was sent to prison in 2008, his attorney said.

The Florida Department of Corrections, however, said officials had not received a transfer request or required documents, and the attorney general said the state didn’t want him.

“The spectre of his residing in comfort in Florida should not be an option,” Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a statement on Friday. “Our state should not become a country club for this convicted criminal.”

Close friend Tom Scotto, who lives in Naples, Florida, has offered to have Simpson live at his house. Scotto also didn’t immediately respond to messages about Simpson’s plans.

Simpson lost his home near Miami to foreclosure in 2012.

Two of Simpson’s children, Justin and Sydney, also live in Florida.

He could live at least temporarily in Las Vegas, where a friend let Simpson use his home for five weeks during his robbery trial.

His five years of parole supervision could be reduced with credits for good behaviour.

It’s a new chapter for the one-time pop culture phenomenon whose fame was once again on display when the major TV networks carried his parole hearing live.

He told officials that leading a group of men into a 2007 armed confrontation was an error in judgment he would not repeat.

He told the parole board that he led a “conflict-free life,” an assertion that angered many who believe he got away with killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles in 1994.

Simpson was once an electrifying running back dubbed “Juice” who won the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s best college football player for USC in 1968 and became one of the NFL’s all-time greats with the Buffalo Bills.

Handsome and charming, he also provided commentary on “Monday Night Football,” became the face of Hertz rental-car commercials and built a movie career with roles in the “Naked Gun” comedies and other films.

Simpson fell from grace when he was arrested in the slayings, after a famous “slow-speed” Ford Bronco chase on California freeways. His subsequent trial became a live-TV sensation that fascinated viewers with its testimony about a bloody glove that didn’t fit and unleashed furious debate over race, police and celebrity justice.

A jury swiftly acquitted him, but two years later, Simpson was found liable in civil court for the killings and ordered to pay $33.5 million to survivors, including his children and Goldman’s family.

He is still on the hook for the judgment, which now amounts to about $65 million, according to a Goldman family lawyer.

On Sept. 16, 2007, he led five men he barely knew to the Palace Station casino in Las Vegas in an effort to retrieve items that Simpson insisted were stolen after his acquittal in the 1994 slayings. Two of the men with Simpson in Las Vegas carried handguns, although Simpson still insists he never knew anyone was armed. He says he only wanted to retrieve personal items, mementoes and family photos.

He went to prison in 2008, receiving a stiff sentence that his lawyers said was unfair.

If the nation’s Simpson obsession waned for a while, it resurged last year with the Emmy-winning FX miniseries, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” and the Oscar-winning documentary “O.J.: Made in America.”

Ken Ritter, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Outside the Kitimat RCMP police station, Diversity Morgan’s family and Kitimat RCMP come together for a pride flag-raising ceremony. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Kitimat RCMP host pride flag ceremony in memory of Diversity Morgan

“We’re gathered here in solidarity for anyone who’s ever experienced prejudice or discrimination”

(Haisla First Nation logo)
Haisla Nation host walk for strength and series of virtual sessions for Indigenous History Month

The purpose of the walk is to bring Haisla Nation members together and show their collective support

The District of Kitimat will be awarding business owners with a store front up to $5,000 to cover up to 50 per cent of exterior renovations. (Norhtern Development logo)
The District of Kitimat is awarding $5,000 to storefront owners for exterior renovations

The district has set aside $20,000 this year and non-profits are also eligible

Ron getting loose and sipping a glass of the family’s favourite greek amber spirit, Metaxa. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Ron Lechner

Retired part-time singer and Rio Tinto lifer: Ron Lechner

Map of the road work that will be completed this summer. The streets highlighted in red are what the district planned on completing before additional funding, and the streets highlighted in orange is the road works that will be done with the additional funding. (District of Kitimat photo)
$1.1 million allocated for road work this year in Kitimat

Kitimat council has added $470,000 for more work by deferring four other projects.

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read