Although American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson hauled off heaps of Emmy Awards, it’s hard to imagine a sequel based on the crime that actually has kept the former football superstar behind bars since 2008. Still, O.J.’s 2007 felony misadventure makes a fascinating footnote to “The Trial of the Century.”
October 3 is a weirdly significant date in the life of Orenthal James Simpson. On October 3, 1995, he was acquitted of murder. October 3, 2008, 13 years to the date after he was cleared in the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, he faced another judge, this time in Las Vegas.
Prosecutors alleged that Simpson, accompanied by six other men including Clarence “C.J.” Stewart, forced their way into the hotel room of Bruce Fromong, an established sports-memorabilia dealer. Alfred Beardsley, a business colleague of Fromong’s, was also present at the time. According to Fromong, the group burst into the room “almost commando-style” with guns drawn. Simpson, who reportedly was not wielding a weapon, announced he was there to take back items that belonged to him.
Fromong says that he did have about $100,000 worth of O.J.’s old possessions in his collection, but that he’d acquired the materials legally. Among them was the very suit Simpson wore in court on the day of his historic verdict.
Simpson and Stewart faced a dozen charges as codefendants, including armed robbery, kidnapping, and weapons violations. Eleven counted as felonies. The five cohorts who accompanied them that night took plea deals and ended up testifying for the prosecution.The trial lasted less than three weeks. After a 13-hour deliberation, the jury found Simpson and Stewart guilty on all counts.
The judge sentenced O.J. Simpson to a minimum of nine years in prison, with a maximum of 33. Simpson attempted to file for a new trial, and also appealed the conviction up to the Nevada Supreme Court. The Nevada Supreme Court upheld the conviction, even though they did entertain the notion of bail after the fact for Simpson while his appeals played out. Then the court decided against it.
On July 31, 2013, Simpson got parole on the armed-robbery convictions. His requests for a new trial on the other charges were denied, and he remains locked up. The fallen icon is expected to be eligible for a full parole in late 2017.
To learn more about O.J. Simpson, watch Investigation Discovery’s O.J. After the Evidence on ID GO now!
Main photo: O.J. Simpson [CNN screenshot]