On Thursday at 1 p.m. EST comes the highly anticipated parole hearing for former NFL player O.J. Simpson. He is nearly finished with the mandatory nine years of his nine-to-33 years of prison time at Nevada's Lovelock Correctional Facility after being convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping in 2008. If he is granted parole, he will be set free as early as the beginning of October.
Police arrested Simpson after he botched a heist at the Palace Station hotel and casino in Las Vegas. The public remembers him most, however, for the high-profile murder case of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994. Simpson was acquitted of all charges a year later.
The Simpson parole hearing will be broadcast live on both cable television and online. Viewers with access to cable television can watch the hearing on ESPN's Outside the Lines or CNN spin-off channel HLN (Headline News). CBS News' 24-hour live stream will also be airing the Simpson hearing online. Simpson will participate in the trial through a teleconference from his correctional facility.
The 1995 Nicole Brown Simpson murder trial was one of the most-watched trials of all time, with more than 150 million television viewers tuning in — more than half the country at the time. The media frenzy and public debate over the former football star's case didn't end with the trial's result, though. Simpson's acquittal garnered a highly divisive reaction, primarily among racial lines. Numerous documentaries have analyzed the dynamics of the trial since then.
Simpson, 70, faces a good chance of getting parole on Thursday. No one at Simpson's hearing is expected to oppose his release, according to the Associated Press. In fact, Simpson has maintained a clean record while in prison and will likely score low on the risk assessment points system, a tool used for measuring the likelihood of reoffending.
Simpson was the most notable member of the Vegas robbery case and received the harshest sentence of those involved. The other men involved in the crime received probation or at most a 27-month sentence. Bruce Fromong, who was a victim in the robbery case, actually believes that Simpson's years-long sentence was overly harsh. He told Vulture's Kenny Herzog that he wouldn't hold it against Simpson anymore.
If he called me tomorrow and said, 'Bruce, I’m getting out today, will you pick me up?' I would be there. O.J. and I made our peace, even after I testified against him.
Whether or not that Simpson is released remains to be seen.