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April 20, 2014

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O.J. Simpson pleads for release from prison

Even if parole board grants request, former football player still faces four more years in prison

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Steve Marcus

O.J. Simpson appears at an evidentiary hearing in Clark County District Court on Thursday, May 16, 2013.

O.J. Simpson Hearing

O.J. Simpson, right, talks with his attorney, Patricia Palm in Clark County District Court, Monday, May 13, 2013, in Las Vegas. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine to 33-year sentence in state prison for his October 2008 conviction for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus, to seek a new trial, claiming he had such bad representation that his conviction should be reversed. Launch slideshow »

O.J. Simpson Trial, verdict

O.J. Simpson, right, with his lawyer Yale Galanter wait for a verdict of guilty on all counts to be read following his trial at the Clark County Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on Friday, Oct. 3, 2008. The verdict comes 13 years to the day after Simpson was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Launch slideshow »

Former football great O.J. Simpson says he’s been a model inmate in the state prison and has counseled other inmates to help them stay out of trouble.

At a parole hearing Thursday, Simpson said he has had no disciplinary actions at the Lovelock Correctional Center, about 90 miles from Reno, and reminded officials that he promised five years ago that he would be the best inmate he could be.

Simpson, 66, appeared via video conference before state Parole Commissioner Susan Jackson, asking that he be released from some of his prison time. Simpson was sentenced in 2008 to a total of nine to 33 years in prison for charges stemming from a 2007 robbery he committed when he and five other men entered a hotel room at Palace Station in 2007 to retrieve memorabilia items from Bruce Fromong and Al Beardsley that Simpson believed belonged to him. At the parole hearing, he sought reprieve from robbery and kidnapping convictions that carry a five- to 15-year sentence.

Jackson said the full seven-member board will consider the aggravating and mitigating circumstances and likely make a decision in the next week. It will take four members to agree to release Simpson. But David Smith of the parole board staff said that even if Simpson gains a favorable ruling, he would face at least four more years, and as many as 18 years, on deadly weapons charges associated with the case.

Simpson said his work assignments at Lovelock include janitorial work such as mopping floors and cleaning up parts of the prison. He told Jackson he has been a coach for the sports team and an umpire but doesn’t play because of his age.

He said he has gained the respect of many inmates and has “advised a lot of guys to keep them free out of a lot of trouble.”

The former great running back told Jackson he has enrolled in the Victim Impact program and is waiting to be accepted in other programs.

Asked if he would like to be transferred to another prison, Simpson said he did not, partly because there are no gangs in Lovelock and because he has gained the respect of other prisoners “and helped them.”

Simpson said there was no excuse for his actions. He said he had talked with the two men and “we have put this behind us. ... They apologized and I apologized.”

Simpson said he had been drinking all that day but added he does not have an alcohol or drug problem.

He told the parole board that he misses his two children and has tried to shield them from the media spotlight.

“I wish it had never happened,” he said, adding that he was committed to change.

A motion to set aside Simpson’s convictions on grounds that his trial attorney was inadequate in his defense is pending before Clark County District Judge Linda Bell.

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