LAS VEGAS (AP) – Thirteen years to the day after being acquitted of killing his wife and her friend in Los Angeles, O.J. Simpson was found guilty of robbing two sports-memorabilia dealers at gunpoint in a Las Vegas hotel room.
The 61-year-old former football star was convicted of all 12 counts late Friday after jurors deliberated for more than 13 hours. He released a heavy sigh as the charges were read and was immediately taken into custody.
Simpson, who went from American sports idol to celebrity-in-exile after his murder acquittal, could spend the rest of his life in prison.
His attorney said he would appeal.
Many people considered the four-week trial justice delayed. Simpson was cleared in 1995 of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in one of the most sensational trials of the 20th century, but was later found liable for the deaths in a civil case.
“I don’t like to use the word payback,” defense attorney Yale Galanter said. “I can tell you from the beginning my biggest concern … was whether or not the jury would be able to separate their very strong feelings about Mr. Simpson and judge him fairly and honestly.”
The Hall of Fame football star was convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery and 10 other charges for gathering up five men a year ago and storming into a room at a hotel-casino, where the group seized several game balls, plaques and photos.
Prosecutors said two of the men with him were armed; one of them said Simpson asked him to bring a gun.
Simpson showed little emotion as officers handcuffed him and walked him out of the courtroom. His sister, Carmelita Durio, sobbed behind him in the arms of Simpson’s friend, Tom Scotto, who said “I love you,” as Simpson passed by.
As spectators left the courtroom, Durio collapsed.
Galanter said his client had expected the outcome, and in a courthouse conversation with an Associated Press reporter Thursday, Simpson had implied as much.
Galanter said it was not a happy day for anybody.
“His only hope is the appellate process,” he said.