A gray-haired O.J. Simpson went before a Nevada parole board Thursday, telling them he "had no weapon" and "didn't threaten" anyone in a 2007 Las Vegas hotel room memorabilia heist.
In a nationally televised hearing that reflected America's enduring fascination with the former football star, he said he is "no danger to a pull a gun on anybody. I never have in my life."
Simpson also said he’s never made any excuses during his years in prison, but he wishes he had not brought two “security” men along as he attempted to retrieve sports collectibles he says were stolen from him a decade earlier. The encounter led to his conviction on armed robbery. One of the companions had a gun, and Simpson told the board he only found out about the gun afterward.
Simpson, who avoided a murder conviction in the "Trial of the Century" in 1995, also said he has lived a "conflict-free life." He claims he has often mediated conflicts among inmates at Nevada's Lovelock Correctional Facility and learned much from an alternative-to-violence class.
Simpson, now 70, has spent more than eight years in prison and is eligible to get out as early at Oct. 1. By then, he will have served the minimum of his nine-to-33-year armed-robbery sentence for a bungled attempt to snatch sports memorabilia he claimed had been stolen from him.
"I've done my time," he said plainly.
Simpson's daughter, Arnelle Simpson, said his family know he's not perfect, but he has been a model inmate and is remorseful.
The hearing began with a series of basic questions about Simpson's background and a lighthearted moment when Nevada Board of Parole Commissioner Connie Bisbee asked Simpson to confirm that he recently turned 90 years old.
"I feel like it," Simpson said as the crowd burst into laughter.
"You look great for 90!" Bisbee responded.
Appearing as inmate No. 1027820, Simpson is dressed in blue jeans and a blue button-down shirt in the stark hearing room at Lovelock.
The robbery was a new low for Simpson, whose celebrity spanned sports, movies, television and advertising before his fall from grace during his highly publicized murder trial in 1995.
Simpson was found not guilty in the killings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. In 1997, he was found liable in civil court for the deaths and ordered to pay $33.5 million to survivors including his children and the Goldman family
The Goldmans believe Simpson got away with murder in Los Angeles, and many people felt the stiff sentence handed down in Las Vegas wasn’t just about the robbery.
A Goldman family spokesman said Ron Goldman’s father and sister, Fred and Kim, won’t be part of Simpson’s parole hearing but feel apprehensive about “how this will change their lives again should Simpson be released.”