OJ Simpson was granted parole Thursday after serving nearly nine years in prison for his part in a 2007 armed robbery and kidnapping in the US city of Las Vegas.
Simpson, a 70-year-old former American football star, said he had done his time and wanted to go home to his friends and family, especially his four kids.
“Right now I’m at a point in my life where all I want to do is spend as much time as I can with my children and my friends,” Simpson said.
The hearing was live-streamed by the Nevada parole board and broadcast live on cable news networks.
When the decision was announced, Simpson bowed his head, smiled and thanked the board.
Simpson was the defendant in a sensational trial more than 20 years ago in which he was charged with murdering his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. That 1995 trial gripped the nation and revealed racial bias in the police system.
Simpson, who is black, was acquitted in that case in a verdict that shocked the nation but also drew support from African Americans who pointed to sloppiness in the investigation, suspicion about police conduct and a rush to judgement.
More than 10 years after being acquitted, the former running back had another run-in with the law when he was involved in the 2007 armed robbery and kidnapping. He was found guilty and sentenced to nine to 33 years.
His case came up for parole Thursday as he neared the minimum number of years in the sentence, which he served in a medium-security facility north-east of Reno.
Simpson testified Thursday that he was only trying to get his property back and never saw a gun in the room during the robbery.
“What I saw was my family, my mother’s albums, pictures of my kids growing up,” he told the board.
Simpson said he regrets the incident because of how it affected the victim, and that he never would pull a gun on anyone.
“I would have done anything not to have that happen,” he said.
He apologized to both the victim and to the people of Nevada, saying he should have never allowed the men he brought with him to come.
His daughter Arnelle Simpson described him as her “best friend” and her “rock,” saying that he has been “a perfect inmate” and that that was “truly amazing” under the circumstances.
“We just want him to come home,” she said.
“Throughout this ordeal we have remained close, we have remained strong.”
Simpson could be released as early as October.