CRIME

OJ Simpson could be released from prison this year, public defender says

O.J. Simpson, the Hall-of-Fame football player famously acquitted in his wife's murder before heading to prison for a Las Vegas hotel robbery, could get released on parole as early as this year, a top public defender said on Tuesday. 

Simpson, 69, is being held at Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada. Simpson's age and reports of his good behavior in prison make parole a good possibility, Steven Yeager, the chief deputy public defender in Clark County, told Nevada Newsmakers.

"Typically, when the parole board is making that determination, they are looking at the inmate's history in the institution, the disciplinary history," Steven Yeager, the chief deputy public defender in Clark County. "They also look at the age of the inmate and one of the things we always talk about in the criminal justice system is the older you get, the less likely you are to continue committing crimes."

The Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners is expected to set a hearing date for Simpson in June. If he is granted parole, he likely would be released in October. 

His fate likely relies on a points system factoring in age, gender, and behavior. Inmates with low scores -- Simpson included -- are the most likely to get parole, Sports Illustrated reported.

Simpson is serving a 33-year sentence for a 2007 robbery at a Las Vegas hotel. He was convicted of first-degree kidnapping, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit a violent crime. Simpson said he was trying to retrieve memorabilia and some personal items at the hotel. 

The former football star was denied parole in 2013. He has served nine years of his 33-year sentence so far. 

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Simpson grabbed national attention when he was named a suspect in the murder trial of his wife, Nicole Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. He was acquitted of murder in the 1994 trial. The case later went to a civil trial where he was found liable for the deaths. 

Yeager told Nevada Newsmakers the murder trial could affect Simpson's chances of obtaining parole because of "politics and public perception." 

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"Probably what makes that a little more complicated here is the fact that he (Simpson) was, of course, found not guilty of those crimes. But there is a widely-held belief in our country that he did commit those crimes," Yeager said.