It is more than 20 years since OJ Simpson, once one of America’s best loved sportsmen, was found not guilty of murdering his former wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ronald Goldman. He is currently nine years into a 33-year sentence for a string of crimes including armed robbery and kidnapping. Simpson, who turned 70 last week, could walk free later this year. On Thursday, he will appear by videolink before a Las Vegas parole board who will decide whether he is ready to be released. Here’s what you need to know: The Juice OJ Simpson and Nicole Brown Credit: Reuters Simpson was an American football star who broke records during his prime playing as a running back for the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers in the 1970s. That success meant he was in demand after retiring, becoming a familiar figure on television as well as acting in in films. His sporting achievements saw him inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985. By then he had met and married his second wife, Nicole Brown. They had two children together before she filed for divorce in 1992 after he was investigated a number of times for domestic violence. Trial of the century The moment OJ Simpson was found not guilty of murder 01:27 Brown and her friend were found dead outside her home in 1994. They had been stabbed to death. Simpson was questioned and later ordered to turn himself into police. However, he fled and the ensuing low-speed police chase – during which a convoy of vehicles followed Mr Simpson in a white Ford Bronco down Interstate 404 – was broadcast live on television. It set the scene for an extraordinary court case which gripped America. Some 100 million viewers were watching when a jury finally found Simpson not guilty at the end of an eight-month trial in October 1995. Although the prosecution had an overwhelming amount of DNA evidence, the defence was able to argue that mistakes made by investigators may have contaminated the crime scene. Simpson was also unable to fit his hand inside one glove found at the scene and another found near his home. Civil lawsuit Brown’s family never accepted the verdict and brought a case against Simpson for wrongful death. After four months, a jury awarded the victims’ families $33.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages, holding Simpson responsible for their deaths. Las Vegas robbery OJ Simpson found guilty 01:17 Simpson’s final downfall came in 2008, 13 years to the day after he was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife. The star was convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery and 10 other charges for assembling a gang of five men a year earlier for help seizing game balls, plaques and photos from a hotel and casino complex. Simpson always insisted he was merely reclaiming mementos that had been stolen from him. He was sentenced to spend 33 years in prison with a possibility of parole after nine years – a stiff sentence his supporters said was payback for the not guilty verdict in the murder trial. Parole hearing of the century .@ESPN to air #OJSimpson's parole hearing live: https://t.co/RmMy1vLZ9Upic.twitter.com/k0VO7B7Ge9— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) July 14, 2017 He is serving his time at the Simpson Lovelock Correctional Centre in Nevada, where he is known as inmate 1027820. In 2013 his good behaviour in prison helped win him parole for the less serious convictions. That leaves the Nevada Parole Board of Commissioners to consider on Thursday the more serious offences of assault with a deadly weapon and four weapons charges. The board said it was meeting with a majority of members so that it could make its decision there and then. “Because of the media interest in this case and to facilitate returning to business as usual, the board opted to conduct this hearing with a majority of the members,” it said in a statement. The hearing will be broadcast live on television and, if successful, Simpson could be freed as soon as October 1.
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