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How Much Prison Time Did O.J. Simpson Get?

O.J. Simpson is one of the most infamous figures in recent American history. The former NFL star running back was tried and acquitted of double murder in 1995, only to find himself convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping in 2008.

Simpson’s dramatic fall from grace has captivated the public for over two decades. But how much prison time did he actually serve? This article will provide a comprehensive overview of O.J. Simpson’s crimes, convictions, and time behind bars.

O.J. Simpson’s Criminal History

The Murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman

On June 12, 1994, Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman were found stabbed to death outside Nicole’s condominium in Los Angeles. Suspicion quickly fell on O.J. Simpson, who had a history of physically abusing Nicole during their marriage.

Simpson became the prime suspect after engaging in a slow-speed police chase in his white Ford Bronco through Los Angeles freeways on June 17. He eventually surrendered peacefully at his Brentwood home.

The “Trial of the Century”

The O.J. Simpson double murder trial began on January 24, 1995 and captivated the nation. The prosecution argued that Simpson killed Nicole in a jealous rage and murdered Goldman as he was leaving Nicole’s home. The defense claimed that police misconduct, including false evidence planting and racial bias, pointed to Simpson’s innocence.

On October 3, 1995, the jury delivered its verdict – O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of both murders. The acquittal was highly controversial, with a deep racial divide in public opinion regarding Simpson’s guilt or innocence.

Civil Trial and Financial Ruin

In 1997, the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman filed a civil lawsuit against O.J. Simpson for wrongful death. The burden of proof is lower in civil trials than in criminal cases, and on February 4, 1997, the civil jury unanimously found Simpson liable for the two murders. He was ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages to the victims’ families.

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Unable to pay the massive judgment, Simpson moved to Florida in 1999 to avoid having his home seized. By 2001, he was essentially bankrupt and resorted to sketchy means of income.

The Las Vegas Robbery

Planning the Crime

By 2007, Simpson was living in Las Vegas, down on his luck and desperate for money. He hatched a plan with several associates to break into a hotel room at Palace Station and steal valuable sports memorabilia that Simpson claimed had been stolen from him years earlier. Simpson organized the group, sourced weapons, and orchestrated the robbery plan for September 13, 2007.

The Botched Robbery and Arrests

On the day of the robbery, Simpson and five associates confronted two sports memorabilia dealers, Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley, in room 1203 at the Palace Station Hotel. Brandishing guns, they stole several items Simpson claimed were his, including game balls, plaques and photos.

The clumsy heist didn’t go as planned – the dealers reported the robbery immediately, and police were quickly on the case. Three days later, on September 16, police raided Simpson’s hotel room at the Palms Casino, arrested him and four other accomplices.

Evidence and Testimony

Audio recordings captured Simpson discussing the robbery plot beforehand. Police found incriminating evidence in his hotel room, including gloves and firearms from the heist. The co-conspirators cut deals agreeing to testify against Simpson in exchange for reduced charges. With Simpson clearly caught red-handed, the prosecution had an overwhelming case.

O.J. Simpson Robbery Trial and Conviction

The Charges

On November 8, 2007 O.J. Simpson and his co-defendant Clarence “C.J.” Stewart were charged with an array of felonies including:

  • Conspiracy to commit a crime
  • Conspiracy to commit kidnapping
  • Conspiracy to commit robbery
  • Burglary while in possession of a deadly weapon
  • First-degree kidnapping with use of a deadly weapon
  • Robbery with use of a deadly weapon
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Coercion with use of a deadly weapon

In total, Simpson faced 11 felony counts and a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

The Trial

Jury selection for the robbery trial began on September 8, 2008. In his opening statement on September 15, defense attorney Yale Galanter admitted that Simpson participated in the robbery but argued it was merely an attempt to recover stolen property.

The prosecution’s case was supported by extensive audio tapes, material evidence, and testimony from accomplices who cut deals. On October 3, 2008 after 13 hours of deliberation, the jury found Simpson guilty on all charges.

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Conviction and Sentencing

On December 5, 2008, Judge Jackie Glass sentenced O.J. Simpson to 33 years in prison with a minimum of nine years before parole eligibility. His co-defendant Clarence Stewart received a sentence of 7.5 to 27 years.

Judge Glass admonished Simpson, stating “Earlier in this case, at a bail hearing, I asked – said – that Mr. Simpson was arrogant, that he had not taken responsibility for his actions.” Simpson was imprisoned at Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada to serve his sentence.

O.J. Simpson’s Time in Prison

Minimum Sentence Served

Simpson was convicted on October 3, 2008 for the robbery and kidnapping in Las Vegas. He remained in the Clark County Detention Center until he was transferred to Lovelock Correctional Center in December 2008. Simpson’s minimum sentence before parole eligibility was nine years. Therefore, the earliest he could be released was in October 2017, nine years after his conviction.

Parole Hearing in July 2017

Simpson had his first parole hearing on July 20, 2017 before four Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners. In his statement to the board, Simpson said “I am sorry that things turned out the way they did. I had no intent to commit a crime.” The board noted his prior lack of criminal history and clean disciplinary record in prison. They voted unanimously to grant Simpson parole effective October 1, 2017.

Release from Prison in October 2017

After serving nearly nine years of a minimum nine year sentence, O.J. Simpson was released from Lovelock Correctional Center on October 1, 2017. He had spent a total of almost nine years behind bars for the 2007 armed robbery and kidnapping. Simpson’s former attorney Malcolm LaVergne picked him up and drove him back to Las Vegas where Simpson reunited with family members.

Possible Restitution Payment

A Nevada court ordered Simpson to pay restitution of $33.5 million from his 2008 armed robbery conviction. However, the judgment remains largely unpaid due to Simpson’s NFL pension and Florida home being protected from seizure. Upon release from prison, the Goldman family may pursue civil payment from Simpson’s future earnings.

Table of O.J. Simpson’s Major Legal Cases

DateChargesVerdictSentence
June 12, 1994Double murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron GoldmanAcquitted on Oct. 3, 1995None – acquitted
Feb. 4, 1997Civil lawsuit for wrongful death by Goldman and Brown familiesFound liable for both deathsOrdered to pay $33.5 million in damages
Sept. 13, 2007Armed robbery, assault, kidnapping at Palace Station hotel in Las VegasConvicted on all counts on Oct. 3, 200833 years in prison, eligible for parole after 9 years

Quotes on O.J. Simpson’s Conviction and Prison Sentence

“I don’t want to hear you talk about black people unfairly treated – because the worst person to ever get a fair shake in the legal system is sitting right in front of me.”

  • Judge Jackie Glass at Simpson’s sentencing hearing

“He’s extremely upbeat. He knows that all of these life experiences make him better prepared for what’s next. O.J. doesn’t have sour grapes; he’s appreciative and ready for his next chapter.”

  • Simpson’s former lawyer Malcolm LaVergne after his prison release

“He is a good man. None of this would have happened if he wasn’t who he was – who he is – of course. It wasn’t about taking property that did not belong to him.”

  • Bruce Fromong, memorabilia dealer robbed by Simpson

“He’s obviously lost the charisma that he had… He was a broken man in a way that I think the murder trial didn’t break him.”

Jeffrey Toobin, author of “The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson”

Conclusion

  • O.J. Simpson served nearly nine years in prison out of a 33-year sentence for armed robbery and kidnapping related to a 2007 Las Vegas hotel room heist.
  • He was granted parole in July 2017 after meeting requirements of minimum time served and good behavior.
  • Simpson was acquitted of double homicide charges in 1995 but found liable in a civil suit, ordered to pay millions in damages he has mostly avoided.
  • His 2017 release elicited mixed reactions from the public, reopening debates about racial bias in the justice system.
  • Simpson continues to generate fascination and controversy over 22 years after his ex-wife’s murder. His prison term represents a complex coda to one of the most enthralling true crime sagas of our time.

Frequently Asked Questions

When did O.J. Simpson commit the Las Vegas robbery?

Simpson committed the armed robbery at the Palace Station hotel in Las Vegas on September 13, 2007.

What items did O.J. Simpson steal in the hotel robbery?

Simpson and his associates robbed a hotel room of various sports collectibles and memorabilia Simpson claimed had been stolen from him earlier. Items taken included game balls, plaques, and photos from his football career.

How long was O.J. Simpson’s prison sentence for robbery and kidnapping?

Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in prison with eligibility for parole after 9 years served. His co-defendant received 7.5 to 27 years.

Why did O.J. Simpson only serve 9 years of a 33 year sentence?

Simpson was granted parole by the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners in July 2017 after serving his minimum sentence of 9 years required before parole eligibility.

Where was O.J. Simpson incarcerated for the Las Vegas robbery?

After his conviction in 2008, Simpson was imprisoned at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada. He served nearly 9 years there until his parole release.

Prison Inside Team

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Welcome to ‘Prison Inside,’ a blog dedicated to shedding light on the often hidden and misunderstood world within correctional facilities. Through firsthand accounts, personal narratives, and insightful reflections, we delve into the lives of those who find themselves behind bars, offering a unique perspective on the challenges, triumphs, and transformations that unfold within the confines of these walls.

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