O.J. Simpson wants his freedom back. The former football player, 66, was convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges in 2008, and due to his good behavior in prison, he asked for leniency on Thursday, July 25. Appearing remotely via closed-circuit TV, Simpson told two parole board members that his nearly five years in prison "have been somewhat illuminating at times and painful a lot of times."
The disgraced athlete was previously sentenced to spend up to 33 years in prison after trying to reclaim items from a Las Vegas casino; he argued in court that the memorabilia was rightfully his. "The difference between all of [the other prisoners'] crimes and mine is that they were trying to steal other people's property, they were trying to steal other people's money," he said. "My crime was trying to retrieve, for my family, my own property. . . Make no mistake, I would give it all back to these guys. They can have it all to get these five years of my life back."
Simpson has not had any disciplinary infractions during his incarceration. Parole Commissioner Susan Jackson said that the former football hall-of-famer poses a "low risk" of repeating his criminal offenses.
"I missed my two younger kids who worked hard getting through high school, I missed their college graduations," Simpson said, appearing red-eyed and emotional. "I missed my sister's funeral. I missed all the birthdays."
Simpson was convicted on October 3, 2008 -- the 13th anniversary of his acquittal in the 1994 killings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman.
A final decision regarding Simpson's leniency is expected next week. Four out of seven commissioners must support his request. Even if the Nevada Parole Board rules in Simpson's favor, he would then begin serving sentences attached to other charges and spend at least another four years in prison.
Simpson still has four weapon enhancement sentences to serve, followed by consecutive terms for two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. Parole from those sentences would be taken into consideration at future hearings, according to the Associated Press.