O.J. Simpson will be turning 70 on Sunday, July 9, 2017. It could be his last birthday behind bars. The football legend, now most famous for once having been accused and later acquitted of killing two people, is spending his birthday at the Lovelock Correctional Center, about 90 miles east of Reno, Nevada, after having been sentenced to nine to 33 years for a string of felonies committed in Las Vegas in 2007. Simpson was admitted to the facility in December of 2008, and he is facing his first parole hearing later this month.
The idea of O.J. Simpson being released from prison is likely to shock many people who believe he is guilty of killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her male companion, Ron Goldman, in June of 1994. The events that ensued shortly after that date were the center of a media circus. After famously speeding down the highway to evade police in a white Bronco driven by his friend, Al Cowlings, the trial that ensued, dubbed at the time the “trial of the century,” resulted in Simpson being acquitted of the murders due largely to a botched investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department and the expert defense of Simpson’s legal team.
Many Americans were shocked and appalled at the verdict due to what many feel to be overwhelming evidence of his guilt. Regardless, Simpson remained a free man for over a decade after the trial, even further angering those who were certain of his guilt by authoring a book titled If I Did It in 2006, in which Simpson detailed what he called a “hypothetical confession” for the murders.
The anger that many felt for O.J. Simpson was rekindled in 2007 when news broke that Simpson was involved in a situation in the hotel room of a Las Vegas casino in which Simpson led a group of armed men on a mission to retrieve sports memorabilia from two men Simpson alleged stole the items from him. According to USA Today, the trial resulted in a conviction for Simpson on a string of felonies, including first-degree kidnapping, armed robbery, and conspiracy to commit a violent crime. Simpson received a sentence of nine to 33 years and many celebrated what they saw as a criminal who once got away with a horrendous crime finally facing some justice.
Now, just a few short weeks before O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing on July 20, 2017, at least one person with close knowledge of the case is saying that Simpson is likely to be paroled. According to Fox News, retired Clark County DA David Roger, who won the 2008 conviction against Simpson, believes that there’s a good chance the parole board will set O.J. Simpson free.
“Assuming he didn’t do anything bad on the inside, I think nine years is a pretty good stay for his charges,” Roger said. “Obviously he’d be on parole and would have to toe the line with parole officers. But I don’t know if granting him parole would be out of line here.”
While O.J. Simpson does have some supporters, it’s safe to say that his parole would cause quite a bit of outrage among the many people who feel he once got away with a pair of brutal murders. The American justice system, however, does not view a past acquittal as a valid reason to deny parole, and O.J. Simpson could be a free man before he sees his next birthday.
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