OJ Simpson faces possible life term for armed robbery, kidnapping

October 5th, 2008 - 4:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Los Angeles, Oct 5 (DPA) Disgraced US sporting legend OJ Simpson could spend the rest of his life in prison, after a jury found him and a co-defendant guilty of a dozen counts of armed robbery and kidnapping.Simpson, 61, and his co-defendant, onetime golfing buddy Clarence “CJ” Stewart, 54, were found guilty of the alleged robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers a year ago at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Friday’s verdict came, ironically, 13 years to the day he was acquitted for the murder of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

On Saturday, Goldman’s father, Fred Goldman, said he was happy with the verdict.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to see that the potential is that he could spend the rest of his life in jail,” Goldman told CNN. “Right now, there is not much more to say other than we’re going to wait to find out what else happens.”

Simpson was led from the courtroom in handcuffs as Judge Jackie Glass set sentencing for Dec 5 in Las Vegas. He could face sentences ranging from 15 years to life for the kidnapping conviction, and 10 years to life for armed robbery. These could run either concurrently or consecutively.

The panel of nine women and three men deliberated more than 12 hours after listening to nearly three weeks of testimony in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Simpson’s attorney Yale Galanter had argued before the jury that his client was simply retrieving memorabilia that had been unlawfully taken from him.

Galanter spoke with Simpson after the verdict and described him as “extremely upset, extremely emotional.” He is to file a motion for a new trial and appeal the case.

Prosecutor Christopher Owens claimed that Simpson hid valuable mementos with friends to avoid handing them over to Goldman’s father as part of a financial settlement following his 1995 acquittal.

When one of those friends, a former agent, did not return the items to Simpson, he became angry and began planning a sting, the prosecutor said.

Simpson went with half a dozen men to the hotel room, where he threatened the agent. “Stand… up before it gets ugly in here,” he said, according to a recording of the incident played by Owens.

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