OJ Simpson's prison parole plea in Nevada: 'I did my time'

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Simpson: "I did my time"

Former US football star and actor OJ Simpson has told a parole board "I've done my time," as he asked for release after nine years in a Nevada prison.

Simpson, who was acquitted of a double murder in 1995, is serving time for armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and 10 other charges.

The sentence, which carries a maximum of 33 years, stems from a 2007 confrontation at a Las Vegas hotel.

Simpson, 70, had said he was only trying to reclaim his possessions.

The former Hall of Fame running back was found guilty in 2008 - exactly 13 years to the day after he was famously acquitted for the killings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

He and a group of five others stormed into a hotel room to confront two sports-memorabilia collectors to seize items that he claimed belonged to him from his own career.

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"If he is denied parole... it will be part of the continuing payback... since his acquittal in 1995," says Jeffrey Toobin

The hearing for Prisoner 1027820 is happening at the Lovelock Correctional Facility, a medium security prison in the Nevada desert.

"Mr Simpson, you are getting the same hearing that everyone else gets," a parole panellist, Connie Bisbee, told him as Thursday's hearing began.

"Sure," he replied in a husky voice with a shrug and a smile. "Thank you, ma'am."

Simpson told parole officials that the objects he took from the Las Vegas hotel room were later ruled by officials to legally belong to him.

One panellist asked: "So you believe that the property was yours?"

"It's been ruled legally by the state of California," Simpson responded in a raised voice, leaning forward.

He said the belongings, which he described as images of his family and friends, were later handed over to him by officials.

"It's kind of mind-boggling that they turned over to me property that I'm in jail for, for trying to retrieve."

Bruce Fromong, who was one of Simpson's victims in the robbery, testified in favour of his release.

"I've known OJ for a long time," said Mr Fromong. "I don't feel that he's a threat to anyone.

"He's a good man. It's time to give him a second chance. It's time for him to go home to his family, his friends."

Simpson appeared to dab a tear during Mr Fromong's testimony.

If four out of seven members of the parole board vote in favour of his release, Simpson could be free by October.

Experts believe he is likely to be approved for release, after a record of good behaviour at the Lovelock prison.

Another panellist asked him if he had completed a specific self-improvement course since his last parole hearing.

He said he had not, but that he had taken another course called "alternative to violence".

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Simpson rejected the suggestion that he had an alcohol problem during the hearing

"I think it's the most important course anybody in this prison can take because it teaches you how to deal with conflict through conversation," he said.

"I've spent a conflict-free life," he continued, when asked if he had completed an anti-violence course.

Simpson also told the commissioners he had helped establish a Baptist prayer event, adding: "I could have been a better Christian."

The prisoner also rejected the suggestion that he had an alcohol problem.

"I've done my time," he said. "I've done it as well and as respectfully as anybody can. I think if you talk to the wardens they'll tell you.

"I've not complained for nine years. All I've done is try to be helpful… and that's the life I've tried to live because I want to get back to my kids and family."

In 2013 the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners granted him parole on some of his convictions, but for not the more violent charges.

The prisoner's daughter, Arnelle Simpson, choked up as she told the parole board: "My experience with him is that he's like my best friend and my rock.

"As a family we recognise that he is not the perfect man, but he's clearly a man and a father who's done his best to behave in a way that speaks to his overall nature and character, which is always to be positive, no matter what."

She added: "He is remorseful, he truly is remorseful."

The board, which normally takes days to make a decision, went behind closed doors to deliberate and said it would announce its ruling shortly.