OJ Simpson was granted parole Thursday after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel-room heist.
He successfully made his case for freedom to four members of the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners and will leave prison on or after Oct. 1.
The former football player reacted emotionally and with a smile as each of the four delivered their votes on whether he should be freed.
The parole board decided Simpson should be freed after the former NFL star apologized for his role in a 2007 armed robbery, said he’d been a model prisoner, and promised that he’d have no conflicts if released.
Simpson, 70, will have served the minimum of his nine-to-33-year sentence for a bungled attempt to snatch sports memorabilia he claimed had been stolen from him.
“I am sorry the things turned out the way they did,” Simpson, 70, said via video conference with the Nevada board of parole commissioners. “I had no intention to commit a crime.”
“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 and 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.”
Commissioners were largely deferential and there was more levity than might have been expected. Asked about going to Florida if he were released, Simpson responded to laughs, “I could stay in Nevada, but I don’t think you guys want me here.” The commissioner’s response? “No comment, sir.”
All four parole commissioners who conducted the hearing voted for his release after a half-hour of deliberations. They cited the low risk he might commit another crime. They also mentioned his community support and his release plans, which include moving to Florida.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Simpson said quietly as he buried his head on his chest with relief. As he rose from his seat to return to his prison cell, he exhaled deeply.