O.J. Simpson was granted parole today after pleading with a Nevada parole board to release him from prison after he served nine years behind bars for his involvement in an armed robbery and assault.
Simpson told the parole board he wishes he had been a better Christian in the past and that he has tried to be a model prisoner during his incarceration.
"I was always a good guy, but I could have been a better Christian," he said.
The 70-year-old had asked four parole board members to release him now that he has served the minimum nine years of a 33-year sentence.
Simpson said he hasn't "drank" in nine years, in an apparent claim to being free from alcohol. He also said he has often mediated conflicts among inmates.
Simpson says that when he and others went to a Las Vegas hotel room a decade ago to confront two sports memorabilia dealers, he didn't know his companion was armed.
The former sports star described what led up to the armed robbery at that hotel, saying he never pointed a gun at anyone or made any threats during the crime that put him in prison.
Simpson stated Thursday that almost all the sports memorabilia items he saw in a collector's Las Vegas hotel room actually belonged to him. He had gone there to take back what he says was his property.
One of the sports memorabilia dealers in the robbery that put Simpson in prison told the parole board that Simpson has apologized to him and he has accepted it.
Bruce Fromong says he and Simpson have been friends for almost 27 years and that Simpson is not a threat. He said Simpson is a good man who made a mistake.
Simpson has been a widely controversial figure through the years. He was the main suspect in what has been called "The Trial of the Century" for the murder of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. He was aquitted in that trial.
But Simpson's defenders have argued that his current sentence was out of proportion to the crime, saying he was being punished for the two murders for which he was acquitted back in 1995.