US-CRIME-SIMPSON-SENTENCING

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O.J. Simpson, the 70-year-old former football star, was granted parole by the Nevada Parole Board at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Carson City, Nevada on Thursday.

Simpson faces release as early as October 1, after serving nine years.

The former football star was approaching the minimum time served of a 33-year sentence after he was found guilty of a 2008 kidnapping charge, armed robbery and 10 other charges. Simpson was convicted of stealing sports memorabilia during a botched heist which took place in a Las Vegas hotel room.

Simpson appeared via video in a blue jumpsuit alongside his attorney Malcolm Lavergne. Simpson’s daughter Arnelle, his sister Shirley Baker, and friend Tom Scotto, were also in attendance.

Bruce Forming, one of the robbery victims vouched for Simpson, expressing that he forgives him for the 2008 robbery.

On the night in question, Simpson said he was contacted by a man named Tom Riccio who claimed a group of men were trying to fence his property, which included family photos and memorabilia.

“When I came into the room I noticed spread out everywhere was my personal property. You hear me on at least three or four cases saying, I just want my property,” Simpson continued.

Simpson pointed out that the state of California later turned over the same property that he tried to retrieve.“I only went there to retrieve my own property,” Simpson said.

The board asked questions pertaining to Simpson’s rehabilitation process, including specific questions regarding sobriety and remorse. Simpson denied having a substance abuse problem and also said he attended rehabilitation courses focusing on mediation. The parole board said they would not consider any prior incidents, including the 1994 murder of ex-wife Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman, where Simpson was acquitted in 1995.

“Look I’ve missed a lot of time, 36 birthdays, without my children,” Simpson said. “I wish it would have never happened. If I would have taken better judgement–I take full responsibility,” Simpson said.

Under the conditions of his parole, Simpson would be subject to supervision and possibly a year of community service in Nevada. If any of the terms are violated, Simpson would be required to return to jail.

Simpson’s daughter Arnelle got emotional when she spoke on her father’s behalf.

“No one really knows what we’ve been through,” she said. “The choice that he made nine years ago were clearly inappropriate and wrong and counterproductive.On behalf of my family, we just want him to come home,” Simpson said.

SOURCE: NBC News

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