LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A man found in possession of O.J. Simpson’s Heisman Trophy, which disappeared from the University of Southern California in 1994, has been charged with receiving stolen property, Los Angeles prosecutors said on Wednesday.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Lewis Eugene Sparks, 56, was not accused of stealing the famed trophy but had kept it for two decades since the theft.
Prosecutors said Sparks, who was taken into custody on Monday, attempted to sell the trophy late last year.
The Heisman, college football’s top award, was given to Simpson in 1968 after he starred as a running back for USC and before his professional Hall of Fame career in the National Football League.
It was taken from Heritage Hall on the USC campus along with Simpson’s USC jersey and a plaque on July 28, 1994, weeks after the former player was arrested and charged in the murder of his ex-wife and her friend.
The Heisman was missing for more than 20 years until it was recovered by Los Angeles police in December. No arrests were made at the time.
Sparks, who expected to make an initial court appearance later on Wednesday, faces up to six years in prison if he is convicted. Prosecutors said he had a prior conviction for burglary.
Simpson, who became an actor and TV pitchman following his NFL career, was acquitted of the June 12, 1994, murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman after the “Trial of the Century” that was covered exhaustively by the U.S. media.
He was found liable for their deaths in 1997 following a separate civil court trial.
Simpson was convicted in 2008 of robbing two memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room and sentenced to 33 years in a Nevada prison. Now 68, he is eligible for parole in 2017.
Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Peter Cooney