On the afternoon of July 20, OJ Simpson sat at a hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., in which the fate of his parole was determined. Simpson was originally sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison for a 2007 robbery and kidnapping incident in Las Vegas. He was granted parole in July by four members of the Nevada Board of Prisons with an effective date of “on or after Oct. 1.” He reacted emotionally, mouthing “thank you” to the board members.
Simpson was offered the chance to make a statement and he chose to apologize. “I’ve come here and spent nine years making no excuses about anything. I am sorry things turned out the way they did. … I tell inmates all the time ‘Don’t complain about your grind. Do your time.’ … I believe in the jury system. I will honor the decision. … I have done my time and I’d like to get back to my friends. And believe it or not I do have some friends. I don’t think anyone could have honored this institution better. … I’m sorry it happened.”
It was reported that Simpson left the facility on Sunday morning in denim and white sneakers. He was released at 12:08 a.m. and left with an unidentified driver. It is unclear whether he will be returning to California, where he was acquitted of a double murder in 1995, Florida, where he was living before his most recent arrest or elsewhere.
Simpson has four adult children, two of whom reside in Florida, one in Georgia and the other in Los Angeles. According to the Bangor Daily News, Tom Scotto, a friend of Simpson, has reportedly offered up his home in Naples, Fla. However, the Florida state attorney general, Pam Bondi, told the Florida Department of Corrections that he is not welcome there.
In a letter about the incident, Bondi wrote, “Floridians are well aware of Mr. Simpson’s background, his wanton disregard for the lives of others, and of his scofflaw attitude with respect to the heinous acts for which he has been found civilly liable. Our state should not become a country club for this convicted criminal.”
Simpson played football in his youth for the University of Southern California, then went on to play in the NFL from 1969 to 1979. He played nine seasons with the Buffalo Bills and two with the San Francisco 49ers before retiring. According to an article on ESPN, he reportedly racked up over $600,000 in pension from the NFL while serving his recent sentence for robbery.
During that robbery in 2007, he participated in a group that raided a hotel and casino in search of sports memorabilia at gunpoint. Simpson claimed the items belonged to him.
Long-time friend Tom Scotto attended Simpson’s parole hearing in July and when he was released, he told CNN that Simpson is “going to focus on his kids, friends, family and golf. He’s not going to hide. Maybe not the first day or second, but he will go out.”
As part of Simpson’s parole, he is under strict conditions to not consume large quantities of alcohol, be in the company of ex convicts, possess guns or drugs and must submit to random drug and alcohol tests.