CrimeOnline‘s own Nancy Grace has weighed in on a Nevada parole board’s stunning decision to grant O.J. Simpson a conditional early release, nine years into his 33-year-sentence for armed robbery.
The parole board voted unanimously to grant Simpson parole, following a hearing during which Simpson argued on his own behalf. Simpson’s eldest daughter, as well as the victim of the armed robbery, a friend of Simpson’s who said he has forgiven him, both testified on his behalf at the hearing.
Simpson cast himself as something of a prison mentor at his parole hearing, talking up the ways that he has advised fellow inmates and encouraged them to enroll in a class about conflict resolution offered at the correctional facility.
“I don’t think I could have represented this prison — I don’t think any inmate could have represented this prison better than I have. I’ve tried to be helpful to everybody,” Simpson said.
Nancy Grace was unmoved, calling Simpson’s overblown claims about himself, and the excuses he repeatedly made for how he became involved in the armed robbery, “a pack of lies.”
Nancy also noted the remarkably lighthearted atmosphere at the parole hearing, where Simpson appeared extremely relaxed, smiling and cracking jokes while many in the room laughed along.
“All the parole board members seemed to be yukking it up,” Nancy observed. “Two of them did manage to keep a straight face during all the laughter … while the rest of the room cracked up.”
“That did not give me a good feeling … when I saw the pardon and parole board members laughing and joking and yukking it up that Simpson. That bode ill,” Nancy said.
“It seems to me that they had their decision made before they even came in.”
“It seems to me that they basically left the room, had a cup of coffee … and came back in and rendered their decision,” Nancy said.
Early in the hearing, which lasted over an hour, the parole board members clarified that they would not be taking Simpson’s 1995 murder acquittal or 1997 civil jury decision that found him liable for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman into consideration in making their decision to grant him parole.
Speaking to a Crime Stories listener, Rhonda, who called into the live podcast to share her own thoughts on the decision, Nancy expressed her disappointment that the parole board would ignore Simpson’s past liability.
“I guess what this means for me today, Rhonda, is that the entire civil jury … the trial, where we heard so much evidence … that jury’s decision really didn’t amount to a hill of beans. That’s very disappointing for me for this Nevada parole board to just say well we’re not going to even look at that.”
Nancy also noted how Simpson seemed unwilling to accept responsibility for the armed robbery that earned him his jail sentence, and how he characterized himself as someone who was completely unfamiliar with a life of crime.
“Another thing that disturbed me was that he never took responsibility for the armed robbery,” Nancy said. “He never did. He blamed everybody but himself. He says things like I would never ever. Pull a gun on anybody. What about a knife?”
Listen to the entire special live Crime Stories podcast here: