LOVELOCK, Nev. — Prison officials in Nevada announced Friday they have moved O.J. Simpson to a new cell and away from any inmates who might want to hurt or harass him in the months before he is set to be released.
A Nevada parole board on Thursday decided Simpson should be freed after the former NFL star apologized for his role in a 2007 armed robbery, said he’d been a model prisoner and promised that he’d have no conflicts if released.
Brooke Keast, a spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Corrections, said Friday that Simpson was subsequently moved out of the general inmate population to special housing.
“His parole could make him a target here. He just has 2½ months to go, and we don’t want someone trying to make a name for themselves thinking, ‘I’m going to go punch O.J. Simpson in the face,’ ” she said, adding many other inmates at the Lovelock Correctional Center, a medium-security prison in the desert, are serving life sentences.
Simpson is now in his own cell.
Tom Scotto, a close friend who says he visited Simpson in prison dozens of times, said he was with the former athlete after the ruling and when officials told him to pack up and leave his cell.
“They looked at him and they said, ‘This can be the most dangerous time — a time when you would be a target,’ ” Scotto said.
Scotto also said the change might be rough on his friend. “O.J. isn’t going to like this, because he loves being out there and talking to everybody.”
Keast said: “We just don’t want anyone trying to make a name for themselves. We’ve been able to protect him for nine years.”
The next chapter in Simpson’s life could begin as soon as October, the earliest he could be released, according to David Smith, a spokesman for the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners. The state must now develop his release plan.