OJ Simpson Bids For Freedom In Parole Hearing
Credit: Jason Bean/Pool via Bloomberg/Getty Images

O.J. Simpson was released from prison in Nevada early Sunday morning after serving nine years for a 2007 kidnapping and armed robbery in Las Vegas.

Brooke Keast, a spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Corrections, told CNN that the former NFL star left prison shortly after midnight and was picked up by an unidentified friend.

“I told him, ‘Don’t come back,’ and he responded, ‘I don’t intend to,’” she told CNN. “He was upbeat, personable and seemed happy to get on with his life.”

Simpson, 70, was released in the middle of the night on a weekend to avoid creating a media circus, Keast said.

“Our biggest concern was our safety and the public’s safety and not wanting anybody, paparazzi, to follow him,” she said. “He left through a big blue door through the front gatehouse and exited quietly. He looked down because he didn’t want to be photographed.”

In July, Simpson was granted parole after serving nearly nine years behind bars. During his highly publicized parole hearing, the four Nevada parole board commissioners present unanimously voted for his early release, citing the support Simpson had from his family and his disciplinary-free record while in prison, where he also took anti-violence classes.

Although he is no longer in prison, Simpson will remain on parole until Sept. 29, 2022. The former Buffalo Bills player will have to adhere to the conditions set by the Nevada parole board, which include banning him from consuming alcohol in large quantities or hanging out with ex-convicts or people who engage in criminal activity.

More than 20 years ago, Simpson was found not guilty of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman, in Los Angeles in 1994.

In a statement previously issued to PEOPLE, Goldman’s sister, Kim, and his father, Ron, explain that “while we respect the Nevada Parole Board’s decision to release Simpson, it’s still difficult for us knowing he will be a free man again.

“We will continue pursuing the now $60 million judgment awarded to our family after the jury found that Simpson willfully and wrongfully caused the deaths of Ron and Nicole, as well as remain dedicated in our commitment to domestic violence awareness, victim advocacy and judicial reform,” the continued. “We appreciate the ongoing support and well wishes from people all around the world and on behalf of our family, we thank you.”

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