Chris Darden on O.J.: "We Have Yet to Extract From Him the Punishment That He Deserves"
The prosecutor in Simpson's murder case spoke just hours before a Nevada parole board considers whether to release the former NFL star, serving time behind bars for his role in a sports memorabilia heist in Las Vegas.
Count Chris Darden, one of the attorneys who prosecuted O.J. Simpson in his infamous 1995 murder case, among those who aren't happy about the possibility of Simpson being granted parole today.
The Nevada Board of Parole is set to consider Thursday (July 20) whether Simpson should be released from prison, where he's serving time for his role in a sports memorabilia heist in Las Vegas, as the former NFL star approaches the minimum time served on his 33-year sentence.
Darden said he believes board members will "unfortunately" grant Simpson parole, but he doesn't think he should be since he hasn't yet been "reformed and rehabilitated."
"I think he has a lot to account for, and we have yet to extract from him the punishment that he deserves," Darden said on NBC's Today.
While Simpson's imprisonment is for an unrelated case, Darden would still like the parole board to ask him if he killed ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, whom Simpson was acquitted of murdering.
"I think that's the one question that everybody wants to ask," Darden said when Today's Savannah Guthrie pointed out that this query might not be legally relevant. "If you're really reformed and rehabilitated, if you're really remorseful, if you're really a born-again Christian, then let's move this discussion forward. Admit your sins."
Darden added that he thinks it'll be difficult for the parole board to forget about Simpson's murder trial, saying that the board is a group of people who believe in justice and "justice isn't killing two people and getting away with it."
Darden was skeptical about Simpson being a "model prisoner" who supposedly has helped fellow inmates.
"The fact that he's a model prisoner doesn't mean he's a model citizen," he said. "And the fact that he's a model prisoner doesn't mean he doesn't pose a risk to the public."
"I heard that he leads a Bible study class or something to that effect," Darden added. "That's not the O.J. Simpson I know."
"I thought he was the same old guy I met in 1994, 1995 — a very manipulative person, a narcissist," he said. "I think he was saying what he needed to say, and he was doing what he needs to do to get out of prison."
Darden remains amazed by the interest around Simpson, calling the Thursday hearing the "parole hearing of the century," a play on the "trial of the century" description given to Simpson's murder case, which was the subject of the acclaimed first season of FX's American Crime Story.