Advertisement

O.J. Simpson sentenced to probation in wife beating

By
JAMES RYAN

LOS ANGELES -- Pro Football Hall of Fame running back O.J. Simpson was placed on two years probation, ordered to undergo counseling and perform community service Wednesday after pleading no contest to charges he beat his wife during a New Year's Day argument.

West Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald Schoenberg also ordered the 1968 Heisman Trophy winner, who has been attending twice weekly counseling sessions since January, to pay a $200 fine and donate $500 to an organization for battered women, City Attorney's Office spokesman Mike Qualls said.

Advertisement

In Park Ridge, N.J., Joe Russo, Hertz vice president for public affairs, said the incident was unfortunate but that there were no plans to drop Simpson as a TV ad spokesman for the car rental company.

'We regard it as a private matter to be treated as such between O.J.'s wife and the courts,' Russo said. 'We have no plans to make any changes.'

Simpson, 41, pleaded no contest Monday to a single charge of spousal battery for beating his wife during an argument early New Year's Day at the couple's Brentwood home, when he allegedly screamed 'I'll kill you' as he slapped and kicked her.

Simpson, who played for the Buffalo Bills from 1969-77 and the San Franicsco 49ers in 1978-79, had faced up to one year in County Jail and a $1,000 fine. He did not appear in court at his sentencing.

Schoenberg ordered Simpson, who has reconciled with his wife, Nicole, 29, to donate $500 to Sojourn, a Santa Monica organization that provides shelter and services to battered women, and perform 120 hours of community service work in Santa Monica. The judge will review Simpson's progress in counseling after three months.

Police said Simpson struck his wife with 'open and closed fists and pulled her hair' during the incident.

Officers summoned to the home were kept waiting outside a security gate. A short time later, Nicole Simpson let the officers in and told them her husband had beaten her up.

Although she initially asked officers to arrest her husband, whom she married in 1985, she later changed her mind, and the charges apparently were filed against her wishes.

Officers noted at the time of the incident that Nicole Simpson's face was marked with bruises and scratches, but she did not require medical treatment.

Simpson told investigators that the couple had been drinking when a 'wrestling-type altercation' broke out. He also said he was surprised by the extent of his wife's injuries.

After charges were filed, the former running back downplayed the incident, saying, 'My wife and I had a fight, that's it. We put it behind us.'

Simpson won the Heisman Trophy while attending Southern California.

Since his retirement from football, he has appeared in television commercials and has worked as a sportscaster.

Latest Headlines