Simpson in Protective Custody After Parole Hearing
The former athlete was moved to a single cell away from other prisoners
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2017 8:30 AM CDT
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Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson appears via video for his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Simpson was granted parole Thursday after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel heist.   (Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool)

(Newser) – Though his parole isn’t scheduled to start until this fall, OJ Simpson has already moved—to a new prison cell. Prison officials at Lovelock Correctional Facility in Nevada said Friday that the former NFL player was moved to a single cell away from the general prison population ahead of his expected October release, reports the LA Times. The move is said to be for Simpson’s protection, in the case that any of the approximately 1,700 inmates seek to harm him ahead of his release. Simpson was granted parole Thursday after spending nine years in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping. According to CNN, Nevada Department of Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Keast says the parole board’s unanimous decision potentially makes Simpson a “target.”

“When you have people who are lifers that are not going to be getting out, there are some people who might want to make a name for themselves,” she says, per the Times. “It’s not worth the risk.” Keast added that despite Simpson’s celebrity status and high-profile court cases, the prison has been able to protect him for nine years. Tom Scotto, a friend of Simpson who says he was with him after the ruling, told CNN that the former athlete might not welcome the move: "OJ isn't going to like this, because he loves being out there and talking to everybody." A spokesperson for the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners says that the earliest Simpson can begin parole is October as the state develops a plan for his release.

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