O.J. Simpson will know in about a week whether he wins parole on the most serious charges that landed him in Nevada’s Lovelock prison.
He made his first appearance before a panel of the Parole Board in Carson City by video-conference on Thursday. Simpson is up for parole on two counts of kidnapping and two counts of robbery.
Convicted in 2008, Simpson has now served the minimum time on those 5-15-year sentences. Even if he is paroled, he won’t be going home. Instead, he would just begin serving the next batch of consecutive sentences imposed following his Las Vegas trial.
Parole Examiner David Smith said the two-person panel will deliberate and make a recommendation to the full seven-member Parole Board. He said a majority of that board must agree on what action to take. He said a decision should be announced in a week.
The convictions stem from an incident in a Las Vegas hotel room where he and two other men threatened two sports memorabilia dealers in an attempt to get back property Simpson, now 66, says belonged to him.
He said Thursday, from the Lovelock Prison, 90 miles north of Reno, that he has heard numerous stories from other inmates about their crimes, including robbery.
“The difference between all their crimes and mine is they were trying to steal other people’s property,” he told the panel of Commissioner Susan Jackson and Hearing Representative Robin Bates. “They were trying to steal other people’s money. My crime was trying to retrieve for my family my own property, property that had been stolen from me and property that, since I’ve been here at Lovelock, the state of California’s judiciary has ruled was my stuff.”
But he confessed that he had been drinking, was angry that evening and “wasn’t as civil as I should have been.”
“Make no mistake, I would give it all back to these guys,” he told the board. “They could have it all to get these five years back.”
He told the panel he has since made amends, apologizing to both of his victims.
If paroled on the kidnapping and robbery sentences, Simpson would begin serving the four one- to six-year sentences on the deadly weapon enhancements to those sentences.
After that, he still faces two final consecutive sentences for assault with a deadly weapon, which carry 18- to 72-month terms.
Smith said at a minimum, Simpson will have to serve four more years. At maximum, he could be in prison another 28 years.
The wild card that could change his fortunes is his petition before Clark County District Judge Linda Bell seeking a new trial on grounds his lawyers were incompetent. She has not yet ruled.
His supporters have also argued since the verdict that his sentence was unduly harsh because of his acquittal on the murder charges.
The former National Football League player and actor came to the board with a completely clean prison history — no disciplinary actions at all — and said he has not only coached other inmates but, he said because of his age, been able to advise and counsel some of them.
“I like to feel I’ve kept a lot of trouble from happening since I’ve been here,” the NFL Hall of Famer said.
Simpson also said he is content to stay in Lovelock where gang problems are nonexistent and the prison population is relatively non-violent. He said, however, Lovelock was “to some extent distasteful, some of the crimes that are here.”
That was a reference to the fact that the majority of Nevada’s sex offenders are housed at Lovelock.
Commissioner Jackson also told Simpson he was classified as low risk to re-offend if released because he has no prior criminal convictions.
Simpson was tried in California on charges he murdered his estranged wife Nicole Brown and her boyfriend Ron Goldman. He was acquitted of those crimes in 1995.