CARSON CITY — Former football star and actor O.J. Simpson was granted parole Wednesday on two kidnapping and three other charges stemming from his 2007 robbery of two memorabilia collectors at Palace Station.
But the 66-year-old must remain in prison for at least four more years on five other charges related to the robbery.
He has been incarcerated in the Lovelock Correctional Center, a medium-security facility about 130 miles northeast of Carson City, since December 2008.
Simpson also is trying to win a new trial and overturn all the convictions over the Palace Station robbery. A ruling on that request is expected in coming weeks.
In the two-page parole order, the Board of Parole commissioners said that Simpson has a “positive record” at Lovelock that includes no infractions, he has participated in parole programs, and he had no previous criminal convictions.
Simpson was found not guilty by a Los Angeles jury in 1995 of the 1994 deaths of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman in one of the most celebrated trials in American history.
Before those deaths, Simpson was one of the best known and liked former athletes in America, regularly appearing in humorous TV commercials.
Simpson’s lawyer, Patricia Palm, said she spoke to the former Heisman Trophy winner after he learned he had won parole.
“He was feeling very grateful,” Palm said.
Simpson’s legal team appreciated that the Parole Board viewed his case “without bias and prejudice,” she said.
“They did the right thing and the only thing that would be fair,” said Palm, noting Simpson has been a model inmate.
But family members of Ron Goldman said they felt a sense of vulnerability after Simpson was granted parole.
They said in a statement that they’ve experienced a reprieve and calm while Simpson has been behind bars.
They said it is unsettling to know he might regain his freedom in a few years
Simpson is serving a nine- to 33-year sentence over the Palace Station robbery, in which he said he was trying to recover memorabilia stolen from him.
“Make no mistake, I would give it all back to these guys,” he said, referring to the victims at his parole hearing last week. “They can have it all to give me back five years.”
In his parole hearing, Simpson expressed remorse for the robbery of memorabilia collectors Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley. He said he has spoken to the two men and “for the most part (we) put it behind us.”
He noted he had come to Las Vegas that day for a wedding and had been drinking all day. While he said he did not think he had a drinking problem, he vowed to attend Alcoholic Anonymous meetings in prison during the remaining years of his sentence.
Unlike other prisoners convicted of robbery, Simpson said he was trying to get his “stuff” back, while other people were stealing what belonged to others.
At that hearing, he also told Parole Commissioner Susan Jackson and hearing representative Robin Bates that when he entered prison, he vowed he would be “the best prisoner they’ve ever had here,” and “for the most part I’ve kept my word on that.”
Bates and Jackson acknowledged that Simpson has had no infractions at Lovelock. Simpson even said at the hearing that he liked the Lovelock prison, which is in a rural area off Interstate 80.
Simpson said he often coaches fellow inmates at sporting events and umpires softball games in prison. Inmates often come to him to talk about their problems, he added.
He said he regretted he could not attend the funeral of his sister and birthday parties and graduations of his four children because of his time behind bars. His oldest daughter, Arnelle, sent a letter on behalf of all the children, requesting the parole.
Simpson said all the children wanted to attend the parole hearing in person, but he advised them against that because he suspected there would be a lot of media attention.
He said he has tried to keep his children out of the media.
Review-Journal writer Francis McCabe and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3901. Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at email@example.com or 775-687-3900.