This Thursday, Lovelock Correctional Center’s Inmate #1027820 will sit for a formal parole hearing in Carson City, Nevada. #1027820 is described in the prison records as 6′ 2″, 235 pounds, with a “medium” build and “dark” complexion. Brown eyes. Black hair. The height and weight would be ideal for football – maybe carrying the rock?
The hair might have been more ‘black’ 8 years ago when #1027820 first came to Lovelock, but now it is more peppered with gray – quite a bit more.
What crime did #1027820 commit that got him convicted and landed him in stir with a 33 year sentence? Well, to put it in simple terms – armed robbery and kidnapping.
No, he didn’t steal someone’s kid, he led a posse to the Vegas hotel room of memorabilia collectors and dealers Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong and then proceeded to attempt (and succeed) in a very foolhardy fashion, in recovering what he later claimed to law enforcement, were his personal property including trophies and family photos of him and his children.
Small problem – one of Inmate #1027820’s too live crew, brandished a weapon, using it to enforce the takeback. The other problem is that the entourage hauled off quite a bit of loot that did not, in fact belong to Inmate #1027820.
Oh, by the way, as if you may not at this point have deduced, Inmate #1027820 is “the Juice” – Orenthal James Simpson, aka O.J. Simpson, the legendary Heisman Trophy winning USC Trojan tailback and NFL running back for the Buffalo Bills and S.F. 49rs.
With the Niners, Simpson achieved notoriety in being the first ball carrier to notch 2,000 yards in a single season, thus earning him not only a place in the College Football hall of fame, but in the NFL’s as well.
Of course, when you are believed to have committed a double murder that brought beheading to the public attention well before the Islamic State arrived on the scene and alerted dumb criminals to the best practices of safe disposal of gloves used in committing a felony – your sports achievements and the memorabilia connected with it, along with an average golf game, are all you really have to hang your hat on.
For the purposes of this column, we will not delve into a re-litigation of the Nicole Brown-Simpson-Ron Goldman murders. All of that is well trod ground and numerous books have been written. Nothing here to add to it. Hard to describe it as a controversy, since the vast majority of people who followed the trial 23 years ago, firmly believed OJ was guilty and that the verdict of acquittal was a travesty.
It (the trial), introduced so many tropes and images and phrases into the public lexicon that I would be remiss in not calling to mind such as the Ford Bronco; “if the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit”; Johnnie Cochran; Robert Kardashian (yes – the progenitor of that brood that have not committed murders that we know of, but have assaulted public taste innumerable times) ; F. Lee Bailey; Marcia Clark; Kato Kaelin.
The real classic from all of it is O.J.’s narrative, which was turned into a book, the proceeds of which were directed to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice – “If I Did It”.
In shorthand, the concept is, “If I, O.J. Simpson, had killed those two people, and I’m not saying I did or didn’t – but obviously I wouldn’t have done it in the sloppy manner of the loser that actually did it and framed me with it.”
SI reported that, On July 25, 2013, Simpson came before the parole board on five of his charges. In a 15-minute hearing he listed his positive contributions, which included mopping floors and disinfecting prison gym equipment. He took particular pride in his umpiring and coaching of prison-yard sports and his advising of younger inmates, saying he “kept a lot of trouble from happening” at Lovelock. Prove it, O.J.
Sports Illustrated also points out that Vegas already has betting odds on the likelihood of the Juice being sprung from the state pen.
ESPN, for its part, will be broadcasting live during the parole hearings during their program “Outside the Lines”, 90-minute special 1 p.m. ET.
The whole affair is going to be quite a second act to the first act, which was the day of the jury verdict in the Simpson – Goldman murder trial, when 100 million TV viewers were stunned to hear the jury foreman pronounce a non-guilty verdict.
The Nevada Department of Corrections has approved 240 media credentials to journalists all over the planet and a dozen satellite trucks will be stationed at Carson City, where the hearing is taking place and at Lovelock, where either OJ will be released in October, if the decision goes his way and the betting lines are correct – or where Simpson will be returning until his next shot at parole.
Another iconic personality from 1994 and the murder trial, LAPD investigator Mark Furhman, is taking the O.J. gets sprung side of the betting. Fuhrman writes:
Now nine years later O.J. is up for parole. Of course he is. He has done more time for a business dispute robbery where the main suspect knew the victim than any case in my law enforcement experience. Nine years in prison! That’s a big chunk of time for a suspect with a clean rap sheet. The legal reasoning for parole is that he did the minimum time without any prison violations. But the behind-the-scenes motivation might be to get Simpson out of the Nevada prison system.
Then Fuhrman tackles “The big question”. “Will O.J. get paroled?” I would say, “Yes.”