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Today, 61-year-old former NFL football star and celebrity O.J. Simpson is cooling his heels behind bars. Last night, Simpson was found guilty on all counts in his armed robbery and kidnapping trial. In a strange twist of fate, the Las Vegas jury returned its verdicts, after 13 hours of deliberations, on the 13th anniversary of the not guilty verdict in Simpson’s double murder trial in Los Angeles.
In 1995, Simpson was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in what was called “the trial of the century.”
In the Vegas trial, co-defendant and Simpson golfing buddy, 54-year-old Clarence “C.J.” Stewart, also was found guilty of all 12 counts. The most serious, armed robbery and kidnapping, could send both defendants to prison for life.
The jury of nine women and three men were polled and they confirmed their verdicts. None of the jurors on the main panel were African American. However, there were two black alternate jurors.
The prosecution claimed Simpson organized a raid on the Vegas hotel room of two sports memorabilia dealers in September of 2007. Two of Simpson’s five cohorts admitted to bringing guns to that hotel room. Four of them accepted plea bargains and agreed to testify against Simpson and Stewart.
Simpson’s attorney denied he told anyone to bring a gun nor did he see one during the confrontation. The defense insisted Simpson was only trying to get back personal property that had been stolen from him. Apparently, the jury did not buy that after hearing nearly three weeks of testimony from a colorful and sometimes shady group of witnesses.
Judge Jackie Glass refused to grant bail. So Simpson and Stewart were handcuffed and taken into custody immediately. They are due back in court for sentencing on December 5.
Simpson’s daughter Arnelle and sister, Carmelita Durio, were in that Clark County Regional Justice Center courtroom for the reading of the verdicts. Durio collapsed and had to be treated by paramedics.
Meanwhile, Simpson attorney Yale Galanter told reporters he plans to work on getting a new trial for his client.