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Gaming Guru

Melissa Arseniuk

O.J. Simpson found guilty

4 October 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- O.J. Simpson is going to prison.

A predominantly white, predominantly female jury has found the former All Star running back guilty following a run-in last year with a pair of memorabilia dealers.

The jury delivered its verdict just moments ago after a long day of deliberations.

The nine-women and three-man jury started discussing the fate of Simpson and his co-accused, Clarence "C.J." Stewart, at 8:30 a.m. this morning. The group elected to stay late this evening in effort to reach a conclusion and after nearly 14 hours of discussions, they indicated that they had agreed upon a verdict.

Simpson's lawyers, Yale Galanter and Gabriel Grasso, are expected to appeal the verdict. They have already moved, unsuccessfully, for several mistrials.

District Court Judge Jackie Glass will likely deliver Simpson's sentence in November or in early December.

Simpson and Stewart were charged with 11 felonies (Conspiracy to commit kidnapping; conspiracy to commit burglary; burglary while in possession of a deadly weapon; and two counts each of first degree kidnapping with use of a deadly weapon; robbery with use of a deadly weapon; assault with a deadly weapon; and coercion with use of a deadly weapon). They also faced one gross misdemeanor, conspiracy to commit a crime.

The trial began on Sept. 15 and over three weeks of proceedings the court heard from 22 different and often colorful witnesses.

Key state witnesses, including alleged gunmen, Michael McClinton and Walter Alexander, provided contradictory testimony.

McClinton said he and Alexander both wielded handguns during the confrontation, but never pointed the weapons at anybody. Alexander said his gun never left his waistband. Both said Simpson asked them to bring the weapons to the raiding party, but Simpson's lawyers denied their allegations.

One of the victims, Bruce Fromong, and the middleman who arranged the contentious meeting in his hotel room, Thomas Riccio, both said that McClinton pointed his gun directly at them.

Simpson and Stewart never testified, but through their lawyers denied their clients had any knowledge that guns were to be used in what they claimed was intended to be a simple reconnaissance mission.

Simpson's attorneys said their client and his associates went to the Palace Station on Sept. 13, 2007, to recover personal items that had been stolen from him. The Heisman Trophy winner had no desire to take any items not belonging to him, they said, though the defense acknowledged other memorabilia items -- including 30 to 50 Joe Montana lithographs and 24 baseballs signed by Pete Rose and Duke Snider – were taken by mistake.

An audio recording of the six-minute altercation secretly taken by Riccio captured the voices of Simpson and others promising to return anything that wasn't theirs. Prosecutors said several of the items, including the autographed baseballs, were never recovered.

Today's decision comes 13 years to the day after another jury deemed Simpson not guilty in the double-murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

A subsequent civil suit found Simpson liable for the deaths, however, and placed a $33.5-million judgment against him.

Simpson and his lawyers are expected to give a press conference shortly. Members of the jury will also be invited to address the media, though it was not immediately clear how many, if any, jurors will speak publicly about the trial.