O.J. Simpson, AKA The Juice, may be looking at life outside of prison walls again.
The controversial question surrounding the former football star O.J. Simpson has never really been solidly solved: did he murder his wife?
Now he faces the possibility of parole, which would see him released from the Nevada prison as early as the first of October.
Columnist Scott Ostler writes, “The big question is, if Simpson is paroled, how would he be received? With open arms? Slammed doors?” he continued, “He would be retried a million times in the court of public opinion, gossip TV and social media. Psychopathic murderer or frame-up victim? Rehabilitated soul or consummate con man?”
Although the story of Simpson has been made into documentaries and movies, there is suddenly a renewed interest in the mystery.
Simpson’s upcoming parole hearing, which comes more than eight years after he was found guilty in 2008 of armed robbery, kidnapping and other charges, is just the latest incident in the decades-long saga of the disgraced Hall of Fame running back.
Orenthal James Simpson was born in 1947 and raised by his hospital administrator mother in the housing projects in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood.
The future convicted armed robber started having run-ins with the law early on in life, joining a street gang called the Persian Warriors and getting incarcerated at the San Francisco Youth Guidance Center. Speaking about his childhood, Simpson’s childhood sweetheart and first wife, Marguerite Whitley, told People Magazine in 1975 that the future NFL star “was a really awful person then.”
Seemingly fated for a life of crime, a chance meeting at the home of famed San Francisco Giants slugger Willie Mays changed everything.
“It wasn’t any heavy sit-down rap about don’t get in trouble. It was just about ability, man,” Simpson told Rolling Stone in 1977. “He’d say, ‘You got so much ability.’ And I really wanted to be a professional baseball or football player. The point that came through to me was: hey man, Willie was from Alabama where he had nothing. And he told me, ‘Just your ability can get you over. You got the ability. Don’t screw it up, man.’”