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Crime

OJ Simpson released from prison nine years after botched Las Vegas robbery

The former football hero, TV and movie actor Simpson was sentenced in Nevada to up to 33 years, but was granted parole in July

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 October, 2017, 1:24pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 October, 2017, 10:21pm

Onetime “Trial of the Century” defendant OJ Simpson was released early on Sunday from the Nevada prison where he had been held since 2008 for a botched armed robbery at a Las Vegas casino hotel.

Nevada state prisons spokeswoman Brooke Keast said that Simpson was released after midnight from Lovelock Correctional Centre in northern Nevada. She said she didn’t know who met Simpson and didn’t have any information on where Simpson was headed.

Keast said the late-night release from the prison was conducted to avoid media attention.

“We needed to do this to ensure public safety and to avoid any possible incident,” Keast said.

Simpson, 70, won his freedom from a Nevada parole board in July after nine years behind bars, at a hearing that did not take into account his 1990s trial for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and a friend, Ron Goldman.

Watch: OJ Simpson granted parole in July

Simpson was looking forward to reuniting with his family, eating a steak and some seafood and moving back to Florida, his lawyer said recently.

Simpson also planned to get an iPhone and get reacquainted with technology that was in its infancy when he was sent to prison in 2008.

The Florida Department of Corrections, however, said officials had not received a transfer request or required documents, and the attorney general said the state didn’t want him.

“The spectre of his residing in comfort in Florida should not be an option,” Attorney General Pam Bondi said.

“Our state should not become a country club for this convicted criminal.”

Close friend Tom Scotto, who lives in Naples, Florida, has offered to have Simpson live at his house. Simpson lost his home near Miami to foreclosure in 2012.

Two of Simpson’s children, Justin and Sydney, also live in Florida.

Simpson is a native of California, born in San Francisco, and played his final years as a pro football player for that city’s team, the 49ers. He lived in Los Angeles at the time of the murders.

But California corrections officials say he has not filed papers to live in that state either.

He could live at least temporarily in Las Vegas, where a friend let Simpson use his home for five weeks during his robbery trial.

His five years of parole supervision could be reduced with credits for good behaviour.

It’s a new chapter for the one-time pop culture phenomenon whose fame was once again on display when the major TV networks carried his July parole hearing live.

On September 16, 2007, he led five men he barely knew to the Palace Station casino in Las Vegas in an effort to retrieve items that Simpson insisted were stolen after his acquittal in the 1994 slayings.

Two of the men with Simpson in Las Vegas carried handguns, although Simpson still insists he never knew anyone was armed. He says he only wanted to retrieve personal items, mementoes and family photos.

He went to prison in 2008, receiving a stiff sentence that his lawyers said was unfair.

If the nation’s Simpson obsession waned for a while, it seriously resurged last year with the Emmy-winning FX miniseries, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, and the Oscar-winning documentary OJ: Made in America.

Associated Press and Reuters