Prisoner #1027820, also known as USC No. 32 — or O.J. Simpson — will face a parole board in Carson City, Nevada on Thursday, where the former running back could take a major step toward becoming a free man this fall.
Simpson has been an inmate at the medium-security Lovelock Correctional Facility in rural Nevada for most of the past decade. Here’s how he got there:
On Sept. 13, 2007, acting on a tip from Simpson associate Tom Riccio, the former football player led group of men into a hotel room at the Palace Station in Las Vegas to take back memorabilia and personal items he believed had been stolen from him and was being offered for sale by two dealers, Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong.
A secret audio recording of the altercation, made by Riccio, captured the group entering the room and Simpson saying that nobody would be allowed to leave. One of Simpson’s accomplices threatened Fromong with a gun, and after a confrontation that lasted about six minutes, the group left the hotel room with Simpson memorabilia as well as items signed by baseball star Pete Rose and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana.
Simpson was arrested on Sept. 16 and later admitted being in the room and retrieving the items. After a trial the following year, an all-white jury convicted Simpson on all 10 charges brought against him, including kidnapping, burglary and assault with a deadly weapon.
And on Oct. 3, 2008 — the 13th anniversary of the day he was acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in L.A.’s upscale Brentwood neighborhood — Judge Jackie Glass sentenced Simpson to 33 years in prison, with eligibility for parole in nine. Tomorrow’s hearing will determine whether Simpson will be able to take advantage of that and become a free man this November.
Fromong himself wants Simpson paroled, telling Inside Edition Wednesday “he’s done his time,” and he will appear in front of the parole board on Simpson’s behalf.
And even the prosecutor whose office tried to convict Simpson of the California murders said the Nevada court took the earlier verdict out on the football icon and delivered an unfair sentence.
“In my opinion, it was a sentence out of proportion to both the crime and his criminal background,” former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti told TheWrap last year. “And when I say criminal background, he was not convicted of a murder.”
“I don’t feel sorry for him being in prison. But I have a problem with the justice system when they impose 33 years on that kind of a crime,” Garcetti added. “I guess it was payback.”