O.J. Simpson's luck runs out after 13 years

Sun Oct 5, 2008 4:33pm EDT
 
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By Dan Whitcomb

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - O.J. Simpson, who more than a decade ago stunned much of America by beating murder charges, found himself in a Las Vegas jail on Saturday, facing the possibility of life in prison after a jury found him guilty of kidnapping and robbery in a dramatic late-night verdict.

The former football star who walked away from his "Trial of the Century" a free man amid widespread views he had stabbed and slashed his ex-wife and her friend to death, was handcuffed and led to jail on Friday night after he and a co-defendant were convicted of robbing a pair of sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas hotel.

A court clerk quickly rattled off a dozen guilty verdicts against him and co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart that jurors returned after 13 straight hours of deliberations, 13 years to the day after his October 3, 1995, acquittal in Los Angeles.

Simpson's family members were left sobbing in the front row of the courtroom and his sister, Carmelita Durio, was treated by paramedics after collapsing.

Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass summarily rejected requests by lawyers for Simpson, 61, and Stewart, 54, that they be allowed to remain free until the December 5 sentencing.

Both men, who were found guilty of conspiracy, burglary, kidnapping, robbery and assault, face mandatory minimum penalties of five years in prison but could end up with life terms.

While Friday's courtroom scene was emotional, it did not grip America and attract the millions of viewers who watched live in 1995 when Simpson was acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

On Saturday, Ron Goldman's father, Fred Goldman, told CNN, "We're absolutely thrilled to see that the potential is that he could spend the rest of his life in jail where that ... belongs."   Continued...

 
<p>O.J. Simpson appears in court during closing arguments in his trial at the Clark County Regional Justice Center on October 2, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. REUTERS/Jae C. Hong/Pool</p>