"The Juice" will soon be loose. A Nevada parole board granted parole to O.J. Simpson following a short hearing on Thursday, and the former American football star will be a free man. Simpson has served nearly nine years of a maximum 33-year sentence he'd received in 2008 for several felony convictions, including kidnapping, armed robbery, and assault with a deadly weapon. He had been serving out this sentence at the medium-security Lovelock Correctional Center, roughly 100 miles outside Reno.
Simpson appeared via video teleconference before four members of a seven-member parole board. In a statement to the parole board, Simpson said he'd apologized to the two memorabilia dealers he'd confronted at a Las Vegas hotel and stressed he had not wished them harm.
Although the board agreed to parole 70-year-old Simpson, the former running back and Hall of Fame inductee won't be released immediately. Rather, his parole is contingent on approval from the Nevada Division of Parole and Probation, which must investigate and approve Simpson's release plans before he can be released from prison. According to Nevada's Board of Parole Commissioners, minimum parole eligibility requirements mean the earliest Simpson could be released would be Oct. 1.
On Oct. 3, 2008, 13 years to the day after he'd been found not guilty in the high-profile murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, a jury convicted Simpson on all 12 charges related to a 2007 attempt to steal sports memorabilia from a memorabilia dealer at a Las Vegas hotel.
At the time of his arrest in 2007, Simpson told the Los Angeles Times he'd "done nothing wrong" and described the incident as simply him reclaiming items that had been stolen from him.
You've got to understand, this ain't somebody going to steal somebody's drugs or something like that. This is somebody going to get his private [belongings] back. That's it. That's not robbery.
Four years ago, the same parole board Simpson appeared before Thursday granted him parole on three lesser counts (one burglary count and two kidnapping counts) related to his 2008 conviction, citing his "positive institutional record." At that hearing, Simpson apologized to the two memorabilia dealers he and five associates had robbed, but maintained that his crime "was trying to retrieve for my family my own property."
"Make no mistake, I would give it all back to get these last five years back," The Washington Post reported Simpson said at his 2013 parole hearing.
Although Simpson's celebrity status has waned significantly since his 1995 murder trial, the Oscar-winning documentary O.J.: Made in America and the dramatized miniseries The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, both released in 2016, have recently renewed interest in him, resulting in significant media coverage of his parole hearing.