O.J. Simpson‘s friend says the retired NFL star will visit the grave of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson when he is released from prison later this year.
The 70-year-old was on Thursday granted parole after serving nine years in jail for a botched robbery and is set to be freed as early as October. In 1995, O.J. was famously acquitted of the murder of Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman in what was dubbed the “trial of the century.”
O.J. told the parole board he would like to spend as much time as possible with his children and his friends after his release. Two of his pals, Henry Johnson from Miami, where O.J. lived before his 2007 arrest for robbery, and Tom Scotto, from Reno, Nevada talked to Good Morning America Friday about his life after jail.
“Well, he’s going to go to Florida,” Tom said. “There’s several options actually. I heard somebody say he’ll go to Tampa but he’s not going to go to Tampa. But we have several options we’re talking about. We first have to go to Florida, report to the parole board, I’m sure and then from there, we’re going to go visit his sister in California, we’re going to do a road trip. He wants to visit all the people that died while he was in prison and pay his respects. He wants to visit his daughter’s grave. He wants to visit Nicole’s grave and we’re just going to spend time with family out there.”
“He’s going to visit Nicole’s grave?” anchor David Muir asked.
“Yes,” Tom replied, nodding.
Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool
Many of O.J.’s supporters feel the 33-year prison sentence he received for the robbery case was too harsh and that the trial was biased because of his 1995 double murder acquittal.
“O.J. Still believes in his innocence as well as he’s got plenty of followers, including me, that believe that he was unjustly found guilty of liability of Ron Goldman’s death and Nicole’s death. It’s a shame,” Henry told Good Morning America. “We feel very sad that we’ve lost those two people. As a matter of fact, Americans have lost—we’ve lost compassion for each other as a diverse ethnic group. America’s strength is based on its diversity and we need to come back together and unite this country so it can remain strong.”
Henry said he visited O.J. in prison a few weeks ago and was optimistic about his chances for parole.
“Nevertheless, he was realistic,” Henry said. “He knew that his fate was in the hands of the parole board and he’s done his best to serve his time honorably and I believe he has. I’ve been to the prison to visit with him at least a half a dozen times and most times that I see him there he’s very upbeat. The guy is almost serene. He’s weirdly, he’s inspiring because, you know, a guy that’s lost everything from a castle to a cage, the guy can maintain some positivity and he’s respected in the prison. He was respected by the guards. He was respected by other inmates.”
When asked if he thought O.J. learned anything behind bars, Johnson said, “O.J has a Christian base. He’s fundamentally, he’s Christian and he’s got a chance to ponder about his mistakes that he’s made in the past and I know he’s grown as a 70-year-old man.”
Bruce Fromong, the only surviving victim of the armed robbery, spoke out in support of O.J.’s parole at the hearing.
“This is a good man. He made a mistake,” he said. “And if he called me tomorrow and said, ‘Bruce, I’m getting out, will you pick me up?’ Juice, I’ll be here tomorrow for you. I mean that, buddy.”
“I think that O.J. Has served his time and, you know, he served what he was supposed to do,” he said on Good Morning America.” And it was time for him to get out.”