O.J. Simpson Has Been Granted Parole: The Story Of O.J. Continues
For more than 50 of his 70 years on Earth, O.J. Simpson has been at the center of attention. He first became a household name on the football field, followed by on movie screens and televisions around the world. Despite the celebrity he enjoyed for the first 23 of those 50 years, his life will be defined by the events of June 12, 1994, when his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman were killed, and Simpson was tried for their murders. Though he was acquitted 18 months later, Simpson was subsequently held responsible for their deaths in a civil suit, in 1997.
Simpson’s murder trial arguably made him the most famous person in the world during its 11-month duration, as nearly every minute of the proceedings was televised. The decision to allow cameras in the courtroom in many ways launched the 24/7 obsession with celebrity that dominates our culture today, ironically, including the involvement of Robert Kardashian, one of Simpson’s lawyers, whose family would go on to become the focus of the world’s biggest spotlight over the last decade.
Simpson stayed in the public eye for a number of years following the verdicts in his criminal and civil cases, writing books that detailed how he would have committed the murders if he did them, and other things that further stoked the deep polarization that surrounded him after the murders. In 2007, Simpson and a number of men took memorabilia Simpson claimed had been stolen from him, from a sports memorabilia dealer that they held at gunpoint. Simpson was arrested for the act, put on trial and subsequently sentenced to 33 years in prison on October 3, 2008. The sentencing occurred 13 years to the day after Simpson was acquitted in his criminal case, and the 33 years corresponded with the $33.5 million Simpson was ordered to pay the family of Ronald Goldman in the civil suit Simpson lost.
Simpson’s life once again captured the zeitgeist in 2016 as both the FX TV series, American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson and the ESPN documentary O.J.: Made In America, revisited Simpson’s life and the so-called trial of the century. Both projects went on to critical and commercial success, winning Emmys and an Oscar, respectively. And, just last month, JAY-Z released a controversial song titled “The Story Of O.J.” that tackled issues about race and class in America, both central themes that arose in Simpson’s murder trial.
Today (July 20), after serving 9 years in prison on the robbery conviction, O.J. Simpson once again dominated screens big and small with a court hearing. Simpson was up for parole and, in a deja vu moment, the Nevada parole board allowed cameras into the proceeding. During his testimony, Simpson stated “I’ve spent nine years making no excuses about anything. I am sorry that things turned out the way they did” and “I had no intent to commit a crime. I’ve done my time. I’d just like to get back to my family and friends. Believe it or not, I do have some real friends, and I tried to be helpful to everybody.” After Simpson completed his testimony, the 4-person parole board voted unanimously to grant his parole. Their decision cleared the way for Simpson to exit prison as early as October 1, 2017.
Although the parole hearing closes another chapter in the story of O.J. Simpson, his notoriety and history leave ample room for the possibility of further controversial chapters in his life. Stay tuned…