A man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a felony count of receiving stolen property — USC’s copy of O.J. Simpson’s 1968 Heisman Trophy — which was taken during a campus burglary more than 20 years ago.
Los Angeles County prosecutors allege that Lewis Eugene Starks Jr., 56, of Apple Valley was in possession of the university’s copy of the trophy and a plaque, knowing that they had been stolen.
Starks, who prosecutors say has a prior burglary conviction, is accused of trying to sell the items late last year.
Superior Court Judge Sergio C. Tapia II reduced Starks’ bail from $70,000 to $20,000, but denied the defense’s request for him to be released on his own recognizance.
Stark, who was arrested Monday by Los Angeles police, faces up to six years in state prison if convicted.
The items were stolen July 28, 1994, from Heritage Hall at the University of Southern California, along with Simpson’s football jersey and a plaque.
Los Angeles police said the Heisman trophy — a duplicate given to the university and not the one awarded to Simpson himself — was recovered Dec. 16 by detectives assigned to the LAPD’s Art Theft Detail.
The items had been taken during a burglary in which display cases were dismantled, according to police.
The burglary occurred about 1 1/2 months after Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were killed outside her Brentwood condominium.
Simpson was arrested and tried for the June 12, 1994, killings, but acquitted in 1995 by a Los Angeles Superior Court jury in what was dubbed the “trial of the century.”
Simpson — who maintained that he didn’t commit the crime — was eventually ordered to pay a $33.5 million wrongful death judgment to Goldman’s biological parents and his ex-wife’s estate after a civil trial in Santa Monica.
Simpson reportedly sold his own copy of the Heisman for about $255,500 to help defray court costs.
In October 2008, the former football hero-turned-actor/sportscaster was convicted in Las Vegas of a dozen charges, including robbery and kidnapping, stemming from what he contended was an effort to retrieve memorabilia from his football career. He remains behind bars in Nevada.
—City News Service