Polarizing Hall of Fame running back, OJ Simpson could be released on parole from a Nevada prison as early as October this year, according to a report from Sports Illustrated.
Simpson, who has been incarcerated since 2008, after a botched attempt to reclaim a sizable portion of his memorabilia ended up being charged with 12 separate counts, including, robbery, kidnapping, and assault with a deadly weapon.
A Nevada jury found Simpson guilty on all 12 counts, and he was subsequently sentenced to a maximum of 33 years in prison, with the option of parole after 9 years (2017).
The powerful verdict was handed down on 3 October 2008, exactly 13 years to the day that Simpson was found not guilty of the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, in what became commonly known as the ‘trial of the century’.
Although Simpson was acquitted of any criminal wrongdoing in the infamous trial, in 1997 he was found civilly liable for the deaths of Brown and Goldman and told to pay $33.5 million in compensation to the families.
Simpson, however, has avoided paying the overwhelming majority of the owed compensation by moving interstate, various loopholes and a law that states that outstanding claims cannot be garnered from one’s pension. A pension that has accrued approximately $2.7 million for him whilst he’s been incarcerated.
2016 saw a renaissance of all things OJ, with an FX drama series titled, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”. The ten episode mini-series received rave reviews and focused on the murder trial that captured the attention of the nation and propelled all involved into celebrity figures.
The same year, ESPN produced a lengthy documentary which set the former running backs life against the backdrop of life in America as an African-American, which received a prestigious Oscar nomination.
For Simpson to be released on parole, he’ll need the positive recommendations of at least four of the seven commissioners on the parole board.
A recent feature in Sports Illustrated online, delved more deeply into the parole process Simpson will face in the state of Nevada. Inmates are reviewed based on 11 largely objective criteria and are classified on a point scoring scheme from -1 to +2. The higher the points score, the less likely the chance parole will be granted.
In the same SI feature, Las Vegas criminal defense attorney, Daniel Hill was quoted as saying, “He’s the kind of person who gets paroled. He has done a significant amount of time and, by all accounts, hasn’t caused any problems,” Hill said.
Thus, it appears more likely than not that Simpson will be a ‘free man’ before the year it out, but with an American society that has largely ostracized him for the past two decades, what sort of future outside bars lies ahead for one of the most tragic figures in American sports history.