Nine years after being sent to prison for armed robbery, O.J. Simpson is about to find out whether he will regain his freedom. The 70-year-old former football star and actor is to appear before a parole board ,which will decide his fate on Thursday. Here’s what you need to know about his hearing.

What was his crime?
O.J. Simpson was convicted in 2008 of an armed robbery involving two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room. The 70-year-old — inmate No. 1027820 — will ask four parole board members to release him in October after serving the minimum nine years of a 33-year sentence.

How to watch?
The hearing is scheduled to begin Noon CT on Thursday. ABC, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, HLN and ESPN will all air the hearing live.

Where will it take place?
Four members of the Nevada Board of Parole will huddle in the board’s office in Carson City. Simpson will participate by video conference at Lovelock Correctional Center, the medium-security prison about 120 miles away.

Who will be with O.J.?
• Malcolm LaVergne, Simpson’s attorney from Las Vegas
• Tom Scotto, a close friend of Simpson
• Daughter Arnelle and his sister Shirley Baker

What is the format of the hearing?
The hearing consists of several question-and-answer periods and, based on Simpson’s 2013 parole hearing, on Thursday it will unfold like this:
• After the panel chairman attends to administrative matters, Simpson will be asked of he’d like to make a statement. He will. In 2013, his statement lasted 3 1/2 minutes.
• The panel chair then will review the risk-assessment instrument on which inmates are graded from one to 15. The lower the score, the better the inmate’s chances of parole.
• During the final portion of the hearing, Simpson will be asked to address his parole plan that will include where he intends to live if he is released from prison and to discuss other aspects of the almost nine years he has spent at Lovelock.

Quick decision expected
The parole hearing Thursday could be over in less than an hour. The board wants to issue an immediate decision to minimize distractions it says the intense media interest is causing.

If the four board members in Carson City are not in agreement, two board members in Las Vegas will be patched in by phone or video conference. A simple majority of four needed to grant or deny parole.

First parole hearing in 2013
During Simpson’s 2013 hearing, when he was paroled for kidnapping and lesser criminal counts, the proceeding lasted just 15 minutes. The two board members who comprised the panel that day then deliberated, gave a recommendation to the full seven-member board and their decision to grant parole did not reach Simpson for about two weeks.

When would he be released?
If granted parole, Simpson will be eligible for release as soon as Oct. 1. If denied parole, he likely will have to wait between one year and three years before getting another hearing.

Contributing: AP, Gannett News Service

 

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