CARSON CITY — O.J. Simpson told a panel of the state Parole Board on Thursday that he deserves a parole from a first-degree kidnapping conviction and four other concurrent sentences stemming from a robbery of two sports memorabilia collectors at Palace Station in 2007.
Simpson, 66, said he has been a model inmate during his five years in prison.
Simpson said he would “be the best prisoner they’ve ever had here” when he arrived and “for the most part I’ve kept my word on that.”
“I’ve not had any incidents despite all the stories in the tabloids and everything,” he told Parole Commissioner Susan Jackson and hearing representative Robin Bates.
The notorious former football player and actor spoke to the panel by videoconference from Lovelock Correctional Center, where he is serving a 9- to 33-year sentence in the incident. The medium-security facility is about 90 miles northeast of Reno.
He was convicted of 10 charges after a trial in Las Vegas and would not win release if parole was granted.
If paroled from the concurrent two kidnapping, burglary with a firearm and two robbery charges he would begin serving his next consecutive sentence. He would have to serve at least four more years.
The panel was scheduled to forward its private recommendation to the full board for a decision that is expected next week. It will take four of seven votes from the board for Simpson to win parole.
SIMPSON REGRETS INCIDENT
Simpson wore a blue jumpsuit at the hearing. He spoke calmly and said repeatedly he regretted the incident.
Simpson said in his statement he has spoken to the victims and apologized for the incident, which he said got out of hand.
“We have for the most part put it behind us,” he said.
The victims were Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley.
Simpson said the difference between him and the other inmates he is serving time with is that they tried to steal other people’s property or money while he was trying to recover property that belonged to him.
“Make no mistake, I would give it all back to these guys,” he said. “They can have it all to give me back five years.”
Simpson said he has missed seeing his two younger children go through high school and missed his sister’s funeral.
Simpson said when he went to retrieve his memorabilia his intention was not to rob them.
“I knew both these guys who had my stuff; I was a little upset with them and I think I wasn’t as civil as I should have been,” he said. “I brought some guys with me who I didn’t really know and one I didn’t trust and that’s on me. For that, I‘ve been here for five years
“And all I can do about it since I’ve been here is be as respectful and as straightforward as I could be with the staff here at Lovelock and do my time as best as I could do,” Simpson said.
Simpson said he has spoken at length to the two victims and apologized. He said they have apologized to him too.
“I just wish I had never gone to that room,” he said. “Other than that I’m just sorry this all had to happen.”
LOW RISK TO REOFFEND
Responding to questions about the incident from Jackson, Simpson said he was celebrating a wedding and had been drinking alcohol all day which is why he had others drive him to Palace Station. Simpson said he does not have a substance abuse problem.
Two letters of support were received by the board on Simpson’s behalf, including one from his eldest daughter, Arnelle, but no one testified in person.
Simpson said he asked his family to not attend the hearing because of the expectation that a lot of media would be present.
None of the victims appeared to testify either.
Jackson said an assessment used by the board shows Simpson is a low risk to reoffend. He has been disciplinary-free while at Lovelock.
Simpson said he advises a lot of the other inmates and would like to believe he has helped avert incidents at the prison. He has spent his time as a gym worker, coaching inmate teams and umpiring games.
Simpson is also awaiting a decision by Clark County District Judge Linda Bell on his bid for a new trial based on the argument of ineffective assistance from his trial lawyer, Yale Galanter.
During a weeklong hearing in May, Bell heard evidence that Galanter misadvised, misled and lied to Simpson while representing him in his 2008 robbery case. It is unknown when Bell’s decision will be handed down.
In his concluding remarks in Thursday’s 15-minute hearing, Simpson said he is sorry he had to “send the state of Nevada legal system through all of this because I know it has not been fun for the people involved.”
Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at email@example.com or 775-687-3900.