Will the Juice Get Loose in 2017? O.J. Simpson Could Make Parole This Year
The news could come around the time of his 70th birthday.
After serving nine years of his 33-year sentence in a Nevada correctional facility, O.J. Simpson is eligible for parole this summer following his 2008 conviction for armed robbery.
The former Buffalo Bills great will turn 70 in July and has been known as inmate No. 1027820 inside Nevada’s Lovelock Correctional Center, which is located an hour-and-a-half northeast of Reno.
In 2008, Simpson was found guilty in a Nevada court on all 12 counts against him, which included charges of kidnapping, assault, robbery, burglary, and conspiracy.
The charges stemmed from a 2007 incident where he was arrested for leading a group of men into a Las Vegas hotel and casino to steal his own sports memorabilia at gunpoint.
The sentence was given to him exactly 13 years after he was found not guilty in the double murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman in 1995, in what was dubbed "The Trial of the Century."
Simpson has been a model inmate at Lovelock and due to a prison point system issued by the parole board, he is in good standing and could walk out of the correction center later this year, according to Sports Illustrated.
In 2013, he was granted parole by the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners, but was not free to leave as his sentences run consecutively; therefore he had to wait four more years to go in front of the board again to be liberated. The board granted him parole for two counts of kidnapping, two counts of robbery and one count of burglary with a firearm.
They cited the former Heisman Trophy winner’s good behavior as the reason he was granted parole.
"The inmate has participated in programs specific to addressing behavior that led to incarceration," Connie Bisbee, parole chairwoman told the New York Post in 2013. "The inmate has a positive institutional record."
In 2015, Inside Edition spoke with a former prison guard at Lovelock who said the ex-NFL star keeps a picture of his slain wife next to his bed and gets upset on their anniversary.
"He's a model inmate,” Jeffrey Felix said. “Most respect him. He treats everybody politely. He's well mannered."
Felix added that when Simpson first went to prison in 2008, he piled on the pounds.
“He would eat lots of cookies," he said. "That why he put on the weight."
Just before his parole hearing in 2013, he went on a diet and dropped 40 pounds by eating just salmon and rice, he said.
Felix told Inside Edition in 2016 that Simpson enjoys watching his former attorney and late best friend Robert Kardashian’s family on TV on Keeping Up with the Kardashians on E!.
“He likes to keep up with the Kardashians. He likes to keep up with all the gossip with them,” Felix said.
In prison, Felix says the The Naked Gun star is treated like a celebrity.
“He's allowed to cut in front of lines. The other inmates don't care. He can go to the front of the line for chow. He can go in front of the line for canteen. He goes to the front of the line for clinic for his pill call," he said.
If Simpson is granted parole, he could be out in the fall. Should the former NFL hero be denied, he will go in front of the board again in 2022 when he is 75.
If paroled, the former football hero's release would not come without controversy. He still owes money to the Brown and Goldman families following a 1997 civil case where he was ordered to pay more than $33 million in punitive damages. He has not fully delivered on the amount.
According to Sports Illustrated, Simpson has avoided paying the damages by "using federal and state laws that exclude certain assets from civil forfeiture, and moving to Florida, where, under the state's homestead exemption, forced sale of residences can be blocked."
In 2016, Simpson biographer Jeffrey Toobin said he believes the disgraced former football hero will receive parole when he is eligible.
Appearing on Conan last year, Toobin said: "He served a very long time for a very minor crime. I think he actually will get out."
Toobin wrote the best-seller, The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson, which was brought to television in the FX series, The People Vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
Conan O’Brien asked Toobin if he believed the sentence was "payback" for Simpson's acquittal in the 1995 murder trial of his ex-wife and her friend.
"This was a karma-based sentence," Toobin said. "The legal system is not supposed to be based on karma. It is supposed to be based on each crime taken on its own."
The news of Simpson’s parole comes as his name has reentered the pop culture spectrum. In 2016, The People Vs. O.J. Simpson won multiple Emmy awards while reigniting interest into the 1994 murders.
In addition, the eight-hour-long ESPN film, OJ: Made in America, won an Oscar for Best Documentary last month.
In one of the closing scenes of O.J.: Made in America, an audio recording of Simpson speaking from inside jail is played. The stark hiss of an audiotape fades as the former football great and former American hero declares: "I feel totally empty... please remember me as a good guy. Please."
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