In Parole Hearing, O.J. Simpson Reveals he Started a Baptist Chapel Service in Prison, but Says he Has Not Always Been a Good Christian

In his parole hearing on Thursday, O.J. Simpson said he has been a Baptist all his life and that he started a Baptist chapel service in prison and attended it faithfully. He added, ‘My friends will tell you that I’ve always been a good guy on the street, but I haven’t always been a good Christian.’

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The Latest on O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing (all times local):

10:30 a.m.

O.J. Simpson has told a Nevada parole board he wasn’t aware that when he and others went to a Las Vegas hotel room to confront two sports memorabilia dealers that one of his companions pulled a gun.

Simpson told the board Thursday he only found out about the gun afterward. He has spent nearly nine years behind bars for armed robbery and assault with a weapon for the heist.

He says the men who went with him to the hotel room received a get-out-of-jail-free card when they told authorities that Simpson told them to do it.

Simpson says he apologized to the surviving memorabilia dealer, who was a friend, and that he accepted the apology.

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10:25 a.m.

O.J. Simpson is telling a Nevada parole board that he didn’t make any excuses during his nine years behind bars and has no intention of making them during his parole hearing.

The former sports star described what led up to an armed robbery at a Las Vegas hotel, saying he never pointed a gun at anyone or made any threats during the crime that put him in prison.

Simpson strongly stated Thursday that almost all the sports memorabilia items he saw in a collector’s Las Vegas hotel room belonged to him.

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10:15 a.m.

A parole commissioner asks O.J, Simpson what he was thinking at the time of the robbery of sports memorabilia at a Las Vegas hotel.

After the question from Adam Endel on Thursday at a parole hearing, Simpson took a deep breath and says it could be a lengthy response.

He says he wasn’t interested at first in memorabilia but saw that some of the items two collectors were selling belonged to him.

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10:10 a.m.

A hearing room at Nevada prison erupted in laughter after a parole commissioner said that O.J. Simpson was 90.

A burst of laughter followed the comment Thursday from Connie Bisbee, chairwoman of the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners, who then corrected herself that the former sports star was 70.

Simpson has spent more than eight years behind bars for armed robbery and assault with a weapon after trying to take back sports memorabilia in a budget hotel room in Las Vegas.

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10:10 a.m.

O.J. Simpson laughed as a parole commissioner told him that he was getting the same hearing as anyone else would.

He chuckled Thursday after the comment from Connie Bisbee, chairwoman of the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners, and said, “Thank you, ma’am.”

The 70-year-old Simpson is asking four Nevada parole board members to release him in October. He has a good chance after they sided with him once before and because he’s kept a clean prison record.

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10:05 a.m.

O.J. Simpson appeared thinner and grayer at his parole hearing than when he was last seen four years ago.

Simpson is pleading Thursday on live TV for his release from the Nevada prison where he’s spent more than eight years for armed robbery and assault with a weapon.

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10 a.m.

O.J. Simpson’s friends, family and the victim have entered a hearing room in a Nevada prison, where he’s going to plead for his release after being convicted of armed robbery in 2008.

There was heavy security around the prison Thursday. Authorities set up a checkpoint on a single road leading to Lovelock Correctional Center to screen vehicles.

The parking lot is filled with network media satellite trucks and tents set up to shade reporters from intense sun.

Dozens of reporters also have set up outside the parole board building in Carson City, where the four parole commissioners will interview him by videoconference.

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9:20 a.m.

O.J. Simpson’s supporters have arrived at a Nevada prison where the incarcerated former football star will ask a parole board for his freedom.

Simpson’s attorney, Malcolm LaVergne, daughter Arnelle Simpson, sister Shirley Baker and close friend Tom Scotto arrived at the visiting area at Lovelock Correctional Center on Thursday morning.

They’re showing support for Simpson, who was convicted of armed robbery in 2008 after trying to get back sports memorabilia in a Las Vegas hotel room.

The 70-year-old will ask four parole board members to release him in October after serving the minimum nine years of a 33-year sentence.

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12 a.m.

Former football star and convicted felon O.J. Simpson will command the world’s attention once again Thursday when he pleads for his freedom on live TV.

Simpson received a 33-year sentence in 2008 for an armed robbery involving two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room. The 70-year-old is asking Nevada parole officials to release him in October, when he will have served the minimum nine years.

Simpson made headlines on the football field but the Heisman-winner became infamous after he was implicated in his ex-wife’s murder in 1994. He was acquitted of all charges after a highly publicized trial.

More than 20 years later, Simpson will once again draw the spotlight as his appearance before the Nevada Parole Board will be broadcast live by every major outlet.

SOURCE: The Associated Press


OJ Simpson makes case for his freedom on live TV

A gray-haired O.J. Simpson went before a Nevada parole board Thursday to plead for release after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel room heist, making his case in a nationally televised hearing that reflected America’s enduring fascination with the former football star.

A vote in his favor would enable Simpson, now 70, to get out as early as Oct. 1. By then, he will have served the minimum of his nine-to-33-year armed-robbery sentence for a bungled attempt to snatch sports memorabilia he claimed had been stolen from him.

The Hall of Fame athlete’s chances of success were considered good, given similar cases and Simpson’s model behavior behind bars. His defenders have argued, too, that his sentence was out of proportion to the crime and that he was being punished for the two murders he was acquitted of during his 1995 “Trial of the Century” in Los Angeles, the stabbings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Several major TV networks and cable channels — including ABC, NBC, CNN, Fox, MSNBC and ESPN — planned to carry the proceedings live, just as some of them did two decades ago during the Ford Bronco chase that ended in Simpson’s arrest, and again when the jury in the murder case came back with its verdict.

Inmate No. 1027820, wearing prison-issue jeans, white T-shirt and blue button-down shirt, made his plea for freedom in a stark hearing room at the Lovelock Correctional Center in rural Nevada as four parole commissioners in Carson City, a two-hour drive away, questioned him via video. The board was expected to make its decision later in the day.

Simpson was expected to argue that he has stayed out of trouble, coaches in the prison gym and counsels fellow inmates.

An electrifying running back dubbed “The Juice,” Simpson won the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s best college football player in 1968 and went on to become one of the NFL’s all-time greats.

The handsome and charismatic athlete was also a “Monday Night Football” commentator, sprinted through airports in Hertz rental-car commercials and built a Hollywood career with roles in the “Naked Gun” comedies and other movies.

All of that came crashing down with his arrest in the 1994 slayings and his trial, a gavel-to-gavel live-TV sensation that transfixed viewers with its testimony about the bloody glove that didn’t fit and stirred furious debate over racist police, celebrity justice and cameras in the courtroom.

Last year, the case proved to be compelling TV all over again with the ESPN documentary “O.J.: Made in America” and the award-winning FX miniseries “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.”

In 1997, Simpson was found liable in civil court for the two killings and ordered to pay $33.5 million to survivors, including his children and the Goldman family.

Then a decade later, he and five accomplices — two with guns — stormed a hotel room and seized photos, plaques and signed balls, some of which never belonged to Simpson, from two sports memorabilia dealers.

Simpson was convicted in 2008, and the long prison sentence brought a measure of satisfaction to some of those who thought he got away with murder.

One of the dealers robbed, Bruce Fromong, planned to attend the parole hearing, saying he and Simpson had made amends and that he intended to speak in favor of release.

A Goldman family spokesman said Goldman’s father and sister, Fred and Kim, would not be part of the hearing and feel apprehensive about “how this will change their lives again should Simpson be released.”

The now-retired district attorney who prosecuted Simpson for the heist, David Roger, has denied Simpson’s sentence was “payback” for his murder acquittal. He has also said that if Simpson behaved in prison, he should get parole.

SOURCE: The Associated Press