In Las Vegas, Judge Jackie Glass orders Simpson, 61, to spend at least nine years in prison. Simpson makes a tearful plea for leniency, but Glass calls him arrogant and ignorant.
Brushing aside a tearful apology from O.J. Simpson, a Las Vegas judge today sentenced the former football star to at least nine years in prison for the kidnapping and robbery last year of two sports memorabilia dealers in a casino hotel room.
Under the sentence handed down by Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass, Simpson would be eligible for parole in 2017. The maximum time he could serve is 33 years.
The sentence came after an emotional address in which Simpson sought to justify his conduct at the Palace Station Hotel & Casino. His eyes red and his voice wavering, the NFL Hall of Famer said he went to the down-market hotel in an effort to recover family heirlooms, including his slain ex-wife’s wedding ring, to pass down to his children.
“In no way did I mean to hurt anybody, to steal anything from anybody,” Simpson said. “I just wanted my personal things.”
Glass, who presided over Simpson’s trial, testily rejected his protestations.
“When you take a gun with you and you take men with you in a show of force, that is not just a ‘Hey, give me my stuff back.’ That’s something else and that’s what happened here,” the judge said.
Earlier, Glass rejected a request by Simpson’s lawyers to free him pending appeals. Glass also sentenced co-defendant Clarence Stewart to at least 7 1/2 years behind bars with a maximum sentence of 27 years. (Earlier versions of this article reported that Simpson was sentenced to at least 16 years in prison and Stewart 15, but attorneys later clarified those figures.)
Simpson, 61, was convicted Oct. 3 for kidnapping and armed robbery, among other charges stemming from the Sept. 13, 2007, encounter at the off-strip casino. He led a rag-tag band of men, two carrying handguns, to confront dealers hawking mementos from him and other sports stars.
Clark County Dist. Atty. David Roger described Simpson as a “ringleader” who deserved a stiffer sentence than Stewart. It was Simpson, he said, who secured the two handguns and rounded up accomplices.
“He chose to use force and violence to take this property,” Roger said.
Simpson’s defense had asked for what they said was the most lenient sentence possible — six to 17 1/2 years in prison. State parole authorities had recommended at least 18 years in prison.