Image: Watching Simpson coverage
Nick Ut  /  AP
People at a gym in Los Angeles watch television news coverage of O.J. Simpson's sentencing in Las Vegas on Friday.
updated 12/5/2008 8:12:04 PM ET 2008-12-06T01:12:04

In the city where O.J. Simpson walked free in one of the most celebrated murder trials of the last century, people said that justice — delayed for more than a decade — was finally served.

Simpson's acquittal in October 1995 in the double murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, remains fresh in the minds of those who remember the "Trial of the Century."

Contempt for the former NFL star was apparent among those interviewed Friday, although most weren't glued to their televisions or radios like they were when the verdict was read in Simpson's criminal murder trial.

Reactions were racially charged in the 1995 murder case against Simpson. But a group of blacks and whites familiar with the trial in Las Vegas agreed that justice was done.

"I think he got what he deserved," said Greg Wheatley, 32, of Los Angeles, at Universal CityWalk. "You do things and you've got to expect karma to come around."

Simpson was sentenced Friday to as many as 33 years in prison for a botched attempt to recover sports memorabilia and other mementos from two dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room in September 2007. Simpson claimed the items belonged to him, but jurors convicted him of kidnapping, conspiracy, assault and other charges. The 61-year-old Hall of Famer could be eligible for parole after nine years.

Should have laid low
In Brentwood, where the slayings took place, DeLauren Scott said Simpson should have kept a low profile after his previous legal problems.

"If he's not smart enough to stay out of the spotlight, he probably deserves it," said Scott, 25, a banker who lives in Los Angeles.

Sherwin Biesman, 69, an administrative law judge, didn't believe that Judge Jackie Glass didn't consider the murder acquittal for this sentencing.

"You're a human first and I don't care what the hell she said. In the back of your mind it's still going to influence you," said Biesman, who lives in Brentwood.

At the downtown Los Angeles courthouse where Simpson stood trial, some people discussed the verdict in the hallways.

On the ninth floor in a corner courtroom, one of the most notable figures from Simpson's murder trial was working. Superior Court Judge Lance Ito presided over a felony rape and robbery trial while a couple of police officers outside quietly discussed Simpson's likely punishment.

Larry Williams, a criminal defense attorney, thought Simpson expected to receive less time. "Simpson being Simpson, I'm not surprised," he said.

Williams said he didn't think the judge's sentence was retribution for Simpson's murder acquittal, but the verdict probably was. Still, he acknowledged, there's "no sympathy for him."

Others thought law enforcement seemed to be gunning for Simpson.

"They always blamed him that he killed his wife but since they couldn't prove that, they got him for something else," said Adriana Bernal, 41, of Los Angeles.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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