A jury in Las Vegas late Friday night found O.J. Simpson guilty of armed robbery and kidnapping – 13 years to the day after his acquittal in the so-called trial of the century for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in Los Angeles.
In the latest case, the former football and movie star, 61, and his co-defendant, Clarence Stewart, 54, were convicted on all 12 counts against them. The armed robbery and kidnapping charges carry a mandatory five years behind bars and a potential life sentence.
Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 5.
The case involved a six-minute incident over sports memorabilia with two dealers in a down-market Las Vegas hotel 13 months ago. Simpson later said he was merely reclaiming his possessions.
O.J. Grimaced, Sister Collapsed
Showing little emotion, Simpson slightly grimaced as the Clark County District Court clerk read “guilty” 24 times shortly before 11 p.m. The Los Angeles Times reports he nodded but immediately regained his composure, while his sister, Carmelita Durio, wept on a friend’s shoulder in the gallery and then wailed as her brother was handcuffed and removed from the courtroom by marshals.
Reuters reports that paramedics had to be called to treat Durio, who had collapsed. Also in court was Simpson’s daughter Arnelle, who was described as sobbing when her father was taken away.
Stewart was also cuffed and escorted out.
Four of Simpson and Stewart’s former codefendants had earlier agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges. They then testified for the prosecution.
The victims in the crime were memorabilia dealers Bruce L. Fromong and Alfred Beardsley, who were led to believe a prospective buyer was coming to their casino hotel room to browse sports memorabilia, much of it connected with the legendary Heisman trophy winner.
Instead, Simpson and his associates rushed into the room with guns, stuffed the memorabilia into pillowcases and fled. The encounter was recorded by Thomas Riccio, a sports memorabilia collector and associate of Simpson’s who then sold the tape to media outlets.
Simpson’s lawyer, Yale Galanter, argued that investigators targeted Simpson and filed overblown charges and that there was no criminal intent. He vows to appeal Friday’s verdict.