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O.J. Simpson smiling in new mug shot; old pal hopes for confession

By
Alex Butler
The Nevada Department of Corrections this week released a new mug shot of O.J. Simpson. He could be paroled as early as next year.
The Nevada Department of Corrections this week released a new mug shot of O.J. Simpson. He could be paroled as early as next year.

LOVELOCK, Nev., June 7 (UPI) -- A new mug shot released from prison shows O.J. Simpson smiling, but as he serves a nine- to 33-year prison sentence, it's his demons that imprison him most, a longtime friend said.

Ron Shipp told the New York Daily News he believes Orenthal James "O.J." Simpson will eventually confess to killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in 1995.

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Simpson, 68, was found not guilty in the "trial of the century," which has been the focus of multiple recent TV series, including February's FX true crime special The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. The finale of that series averaged 6.2 million viewers to become "cable's most watched new show of 2016," according to Variety.

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ESPN will debut a five-part documentary, O.J. Simpson: Made in America, on June 11.

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Shipp, who spoke to the Daily News at the Los Angeles premiere of the ESPN series, was the same man who testified in 1995 that Simpson told him that he "had some dreams of killing" his former wife.

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"The guy is in total torment today," Shipp told the newspaper. "Someone told me his is 300 pounds and he looks horrible. O.J. has always felt his appearance meant everything and now, deep down inside, he is starting to live with himself."

The Nevada Department of Corrections on Monday released a new mug shot of Simpson, which shows him smiling. It was taken at the Lovelock Correctional Center, where he is serving time after an arrest in 2007 for breaking into a hotel room in Las Vegas while wielding a gun with a group of men and stealing sports memorabilia. He could be paroled as early as next year.

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His last mug shot was taken in 2013.

Before the slayings, Simpson had been a Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Southern California and starred in the NFL.

Simpson rushed for 11,236 yards and 61 touchdowns in 11 NFL seasons for the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers.

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In 1973, he rushed for 2,003 yards and 12 scores, becoming the NFL MVP. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

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Ezra Edelman, director of the ESPN film, told Rolling Stone that he hopes the Simpson saga isn't "impossibly momentous."

"My initial response to that question is, 'God, I hope not,'" he says. "If that's one of the most impactful events of the past 50 years, that's kind of sad. That's not to diminish what happened, but the basis of that question speaks more to the rabid fascination of the thing itself."

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