O.J. Simpson was granted parole on Thursday and will be released from a Nevada prison in October, following an emotional hearing that centred on the botched armed robbery of his own mementos at a Las Vegas hotel that landed him behind bars for nine years.
A four-member panel of the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners voted unanimously to release the 70-year-old former National Football League star turned TV pitchman and actor, now best remembered as the defendant in a sensational double-murder trial that gripped America two decades ago.
Simpson participated by video feed from Lovelock Correctional Centre, about 100 miles (160 km) from the parole board’s offices in Carson City, sitting at a wooden table next to his attorney dressed in a prison-issue denim shirt and dark pants.
A smiling Simpson, with close-cropped grey hair and looking thinner than at his last parole hearing in 2013, testified along with his daughter and one of the victims in the 2007 heist. He offered a rambling account of the robbery, at times striking a defensive tone and at others sounding apologetic.
A board spokesman said that Nevada law does not require an expression of remorse as a criteria for winning parole, though he said it could be noted as a mitigating factor.
Simpson bowed his head and appeared to be in tears as the board voted unanimously to grant him parole, then stood and thanked the commissioners repeatedly, hands clasped.