O.J. Simpson stepped closer to freedom Thursday when he was granted parole for a 2007 botched robbery, and members of Ron Goldman’s family were surprised.
“It was shocking,” Goldman’s sister Kim said on Good Morning America Friday. “I think I expected that [Simpson] was going to come in with a script – ‘I did these crimes, I’m so sorry, I’m remorseful, I know that there was a gun in the room.'”
Instead, Kim recounted, Simpson seemed less than remorseful as he continued to insist that he had only intended to retrieve items he deemed personal property in the Las Vegas robbery. (Simpson and five others were convicted of storming into the hotel room of two memorabilia dealers and snatching hundreds of items. The ex-NFL star was later found guilty of 12 charges and faced a nine-to-33-year sentence.)
“I thought he was going to follow what I thought was going to be a very strategic plan for the day and then he went off-script,” Kim continued. “He became exactly who he normally is, and I started to panic a little and obviously like everybody else we watched them unanimously willing to release him and it was very disappointing.”
On Thursday, four members of the seven-person parole board listened to Simpson’s testimony from prison via video conference, during which he reiterated that he never brandished a weapon, nor instructed anyone to do so. In a particularly memorable moment, he told the parole board that, “I basically have spent a conflict-free life.”
Fred Goldman, Ron Goldman’s father, was particularly incensed by Simpson’s statement.
“Everybody in the world except him knows that he has not led a conflict-free life,” Goldman said Friday. “He beat up his first wife, he beat up Nicole numerous times, he had numerous other altercations with people over the years – hardly conflict-free, nor do I suspect it’ll ever be conflict-free. He’s just not capable of being that person.”
Simpson’s infamous reputation is indelibly tied to his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her good friend Ron Goldman’s 1995 deaths; the former athlete was found not guilty in the highly publicized trial, though critics have cried foul on the ruling in the years following. (Simpson was found guilty in a civil case tried in 1997, and was ordered to pay over $33 million in punitive damages to the Brown and Goldman families.)
Now, with Simpson set to be released as early as October 1, both Kim and Fred Goldman told GMA that they’ll be watching his every move.
“We’ve lived our life with him being a free man, we’ve done this,” Kim said. “So, we’ve had nine years of reprieve. We’re going to go back to doing what we’ve done. I run a non-profit working with teenagers, I do stories on other victims and survivors, I’m raising my kids. We’re active in the world of victims and survivors’ advocacy. We’re going to continue doing those things and take it one day at a time and if he chooses to write a book, or do a reality show, we’ll be there.”