OJ Simpson granted parole for 2007 crime at Palace Station

O.J. Simpson. (Nevada Department of Corrections/MGN)

LAS VEGAS (KSNV) - After nine years behind bars, football legend Orenthal James "O.J." Simpson is getting out early.

He was sentenced to 33 years with the possibility of parole after nine years. He’ll face the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners Thursday morning.

He’s been locked up in Northern Nevada at Lovelock Correctional Facility on robbery and kidnapping charges.

It all started in 2007 when Simpson was in Las Vegas to attend a wedding. The day prior, he and five other men robbed two sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint at Palace Station. He was caught on camera at the wedding saying, "I didn’t do nothing."

Turning down a plea bargain, Simpson gambled with the jury and after 13 hours of deliberations, lost. He was found guilty of kidnapping, armed robbery, and 10 other charges.

Five years into his sentence he was up for parole on some of the charges. Parole was granted, but because Simpson chose to serve his time on each charge back to back, he had years to go before he could get out of prison.

"Make no mistake, I would give it all back to these guys. They can have it all, to get these last five years back," Simpson said at that hearing.

Appearing by video link from Lovelock, just like he did four years ago, Simpson, who is now 70 years old, made his pitch for freedom.

David Roger, the former Clark County D.A. who prosecuted Simpson, said recently, "Nine years is a pretty long time for armed robbery here in the state of Nevada."

Some say Simpson’s time behind bars was influenced by his high-profile murder case 23 years ago.

It’s been called the "Trial of the Century." On Oct. 3, 1995, Simpson was found not guilty of killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Now, thanks to ESPN's Academy Award-nominated documentary "O.J.: Made in America" and FX's Emmy Award-winning miniseries "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story," which both debuted last year, a whole new generation got to know Simpson.

In 2016, News 3 sat down with Simpson’s former Lovelock prison guard, a man who considers the Heisman Trophy winner a friend. He wrote a tell-all book called “Guarding the Juice.”

“Yes, I asked O.J. if he killed them and all I get is a look," said Jeffrey Felix. "And I ask, 'Juice, is that the look?' And he'd say, 'that's the look.'”

News 3 Reporter Denise Rosch asked, "What do you think that meant?"

"That meant we're not going there," replied Felix.

If paroled, Simpson is still on the hook for $33.5 million owed to the Goldman and Brown families stemming from a successful civil case against him.

The ex-football star still draws a pension from the NFL. Some reports indicate that could be as much as $19,000 a month, though the NFL hasn’t officially commented.

His post-prison finances, flight risk, and his behavior in prison are among the factors that will determine if "The Juice" gets loose.

Currently, Simpson shares a 125-square-foot cell with another inmate.

The former athlete’s knees keep him from participating in sports, but he is now the prison’s softball league commissioner.

Simpson won’t walk free until at least Oct. 1.

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