He allegedly tried to sell trophy even though it was widely known it had been stolen

By Christine Pelisek
Updated September 03, 2015 10:00 AM
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Credit: AP

Los Angeles prosecutors have charged a man in connection with the theft of O.J. Simpson’s 1968 Heisman Trophy more than 20 years ago.

Lewis Eugene Starks Jr., 56, is charged with one felony count of receiving stolen property, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Starks plead not guilty Wednesday afternoon. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 15.

The trophy, along with Simpson’s jersey and a plaque, were in a display case at the University of Southern California’s Heritage Hall when they vanished on July 28, 1994. Simpson was awaiting trial at the time for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend Ron Goldman. He was later acquitted of murder charges, but was found liable for their deaths in subsequent a civil trial. His personal Heisman Trophy – awarded to college football’s most outstanding player – was seized under the $33.5 million judgment, and auctioned in 1999 for $230,000.

Prosecutors say Starks, who was arrested on Monday, allegedly tried to sell the Heisman late last year, even though it was widely known to be stolen. It was found in Starks possession, prosecutors say.

The Heisman was given to Simpson in 1968 for his prowess as a running back at USC, before he started his Hall of Fame career in the National Football League.

Starks is being held on $20,000 bail. If convicted, Starks faces up to six years in prison.

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