O.J. Simpson was released from a Nevada state prison, trying to avoid attention in the process.
Nevada Department of Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Keast said that was by design.
According to Keast, different plans were discussed in how best to handle Simpson’s Sunday release after serving nine years for his 2008 conviction of robbery and kidnapping at a Las Vegas casino, but she said her department decided on misdirection after it began getting a flurry of comments and phone messages that were “very aggressive” in nature.
Part of the plan included giving media members misleading statements about when and where Simpson would leave, Keast said.
“There was a lot of concern about something happening,” she said. “When I started being inundated with media and people who claimed to be media but didn’t have emails that resembled bona fide news agencies, it sent up a red flag.”
“It became a matter of safety for him, our staff and the community.” Keast said in a published report.
As a result, Simpson wasn’t transferred to the High Desert State Prison – about 45 minutes north of Las Vegas – where media members were led to believe he would be set free.
Instead, he was released from the Lovelock Correctional Center at 12:08 a.m. Sunday, eight minutes after he officially became eligible for parole and despite claims by the Nevada Department of Corrections that parolees aren’t released on Saturdays or Sundays.
The subterfuge initially kept reporters at bay. But hours later someone with a video camera caught up to him around 5:30 a.m. sitting in the back seat of a car at a gas station about 75 miles northwest of Las Vegas and interviewed on video an unhappy Simpson.
The video was posted online.
“Are y’all stalking me?” Simpson responded as he closed his car door on a person who greeted him with “Hey juice.”
Simpson responded testily to a question about how it felt to be free.
“I’m in a car for the last five hours, so how do I know how it feels to be out?” Simpson said. “I’ve been in Nowhere USA for the last nine years doing nothing. Nothing has changed in my life. What do you guys expect?”
The interview was cut short with an exasperated plea from Simpson.
“Can I please have a break here? Nothing’s changed,” as his car started moving out of the gas station.
Various news stories have speculated that Simpson will live, initially at least, in Las Vegas.
–City News Service