Simpson to face kidnapping, robbery charges

Former American football legend O.J. Simpson was hit by a barrage of felony charges on Tuesday that could see him battling to avoid a life prison sentence, documents showed.

Simpson to face kidnapping, robbery charges
Former American football legend O.J. Simpson was hit by a barrage of felony charges on Tuesday that could see him battling to avoid a life prison sentence, documents showed.

Simpson, who became a national hate figure in the US following his sensational acquittal for the brutal murder of his ex-wife and her friend in 1994, will appear in court on Wednesday for an arraignment hearing.

He is currently being held without bail after being deemed a flight risk.

Charges against Simpson, 60, and three other men were detailed in a criminal complaint filed by Nevada prosecutors in Clark County on Tuesday, following the fallen icon's arrest in connection with an alleged robbery last week.

Simpson and the men have been charged with seven felony offences: conspiracy to commit kidnapping; conspiracy to commit robbery; first degree kidnapping with use of a deadly weapon; burglary with a deadly weapon; robbery with a deadly weapon; assault with a deadly weapon and coercion with a deadly weapon.

The four men have also been charged with the misdemeanour offence of conspiracy to commit a crime. If convicted on the most serious charges Simpson could be sentenced to life in prison.

The charges stem from an incident at the Palace Station casino on Thursday, when a gang of gun-toting men that included Simpson is reported to have stormed into a hotel room and snatched sporting memorabilia from two dealers.

Simpson is behind bars at the Clark County Detention Centre in connection with the alleged robbery. In interviews with US media prior to his arrest he denied robbery, saying he was only recovering items that had been illegally stolen from him. He also denied that anyone in the group was armed.

On a tape that surfaced in US media reports on Monday, a man identified as Simpson could be heard angrily confronting the two sports memorabilia dealers.

"Think you can steal my (expletive) and sell it?" the man purported to be Simpson is heard to say after telling his associates: "Don't let nobody out of here!"

Several unidentified voices are heard barking aggressive, expletive-laden demands at the victims of the heist, Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong.

Fromong said in interviews Simpson and his associates had stormed into his hotel room like soldiers on a military raid.

"The door burst open and they came in commando style, O.J. Simpson and some of his people, I guess you would call it, with guns drawn," Fromong said. "The thing in my mind as soon as I saw him, I'm thinking, "O.J., how can you be this dumb?'"

One of the most famous American football players of his generation during a glittering 1970s career that saw him set several records, Simpson was the prime suspect in the 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman.

Nicole, who had filed for divorce from Simpson in 1992 citing his "abusive behaviour," was attacked so savagely that she was almost decapitated.

Simpson, who has always vehemently denied the killings, was acquitted of murder after a racially charged Los Angeles trial in 1995, a verdict that was greeted with widespread outrage across America.

Simpson was subsequently found liable for the deaths in a 1997 civil suit and was ordered to pay damages to the victims' families totalling 33.5 million dollars.

The families of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman have hounded Simpson relentlessly, and last year led a storm of protest against his book "If I Did It," a hypothetical account of the murders.

Publication of the book was later blocked, and the rights to it were subsequently awarded to the victim's families. It was finally published last week, and has shot to number two on Amazon.com's best-seller lists.

AFP
Last Mod: 19 Eylül 2007, 13:57
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