O.J. Simpson, whose racially charged 1995 murder trial riveted the nation, said nothing much had changed after spending almost a decade in “nowhere USA”.
The disgraced American football star was freed on parole after nine years behind bars for armed robbery.
The 70-year-old left the Lovelock Correctional Center in the western state of Nevada just after midnight local time, prison spokesperson Brooke Keast said. “I don’t know where he was headed,” Keast said.
A video released by the Nevada Department of Corrections showed him leaving the facility and heading toward a car park wearing a long coat and baseball cap as a woman said: “Come on out.”
Hours later, he was tracked down by reporters as he sat in the back of a white SUV in Amargosa Valley, about 75 miles northwest of Las Vegas, just after 5:30 a.m..
“Man, how in the … Have you all been … you all stalking me?” he said, according to the video obtained by the New York Post.
Asked how it felt to be free, he said: “I’m in a car for the last five hours, so how do I know how it feels to be out?
“I’ve been in nowhere U.S.A. for the last nine years doing nothing. Nothing has changed in my life. What do you expect?” he said.
Asked where he was headed, he replied: “None of your business.”
Simpson’s lawyer has said he planned to relocate to Florida following his release from the medium-security prison where he has been serving his sentence.
“God bless, take care guys,” he said as the reporter left, adding: “Yeah, nothing’s changed.”
A Nevada parole official said Simpson planned to live at a home in the Las Vegas area for the foreseeable future.
State Parole and Probation Capt. Shawn Arruti told The Associated Press that Simpson has one approved residential plan, and it doesn’t currently include a move to Florida or any other state. Arruti said that could change in the future.
Simpson was granted parole at a hearing in July and his earliest release date was set for October 1, but he had widely been expected to be freed no earlier than Monday.
Instead, he was set free at eight minutes past midnight (0708 GMT Sunday) “to ensure public safety and avoid possible incident,” Keast said.
Simpson was famously found not guilty in 1995 of the grisly murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and a male friend, Ron Goldman, in a case that transfixed the country and became known as the “Trial of the Century.”
But the former National Football League running back and actor was sent to prison in 2008 for his role in an armed robbery the previous year of two sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas resort.
Simpson claimed at his trial that he was just seeking to recover personal items from the dealers, an explanation that satisfied his parole board.
At his parole hearing in July Simpson initially did not express any remorse for his actions but eventually offered that he was “sorry that things turned out the way they did.”
Profile | OJ Simpson
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