The Sports Xchange
Posted with permission from The Sports Xchange
Former football star O.J. Simpson walked out of a Nevada prison early Sunday morning after serving nine years for a Las Vegas kidnapping and armed robbery.
The 2007 hotel room heist in Las Vegas brought the conviction and prison time that Simpson avoided in the killings of his ex-wife and her friend after his 1995 acquittal in Los Angeles. He was convicted in Las Vegas in 2008 and served nine years of a 33-year sentence.
The 70-year-old Simpson left prison wearing denim and white sneakers shortly after midnight local time to avoid media scrutiny from the Lovelock Correctional Center in northern Nevada. He was picked up by an unidentified friend.
"I told him, 'Don't come back,' and he responded, 'I don't intend to,'" Brooke Keast , a spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Corrections, told CNN. "He was upbeat, personable and seemed happy to get on with his life.
"Our biggest concern was our safety and the public's safety and not wanting anybody, paparazzi, to follow him. He left through a big blue door through the front gatehouse and exited quietly. He looked down because he didn't want to be photographed."
The four-person parole board unanimously voted on July 20 to release Simpson with the date for his freedom being "on or after Oct. 1.? Before his release, Simpson met with his parole officer -- he will face restrictions of up to five years of parole supervision.
"They went over what he needs for parole and where he needs to check in, what he should do to get a driver's license, et cetera (and) instructions on what to do once he's out there," Keast said.
Simpson, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has four adult children, two of whom live in Florida.
"I can tell from his voice on the phone ... that he's looking forward to freedom and hugging his family on the outside," Malcolm LaVergne, Simpson's lawyer, told the Los Angeles Times in an interview conducted before the release.
Simpson maintained he led five men into the confrontation in Las Vegas to retrieve personal items and family mementos stolen following his acquittal of murder charges in the 1994 slayings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Simpson was later found liable in a civil case for the slayings in 1997 and ordered to pay the victims' families $33.5 million.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said earlier in the week that Simpson was not welcome in Florida.
Bondi asked the Florida Department of Corrections in a letter to notify authorities in Nevada that Florida objects to granting Simpson permission to transfer to Florida to serve his parole.
"Floridians are well aware of Mr. Simpson's background, his wanton disregard for the lives of others, and of his scofflaw attitude with respect to the heinous acts for which he has been found civilly liable," Bondi wrote. "The specter of his residing in comfort in Florida should not be an option. Our state should not become a country club for this convicted criminal."
Simpson was a college star at USC, winning the Heisman Trophy in 1968, and was perhaps the top running back in the NFL in the 1970s while starring for the Buffalo Bills. He was enshrined to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.