Four former O.J. Simpson co-defendants who took plea deals and testified against the former football star were sentenced Tuesday to probation for their roles in the gunpoint robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers.
Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass lectured the men but accepted a state recommendation that they serve no prison time. Instead she imposed terms of probation ranging from three to eight years on Michael McClinton, Walter Alexander, Charles Ehrlich and Charles Cashmore.
The eight-year probation sentence for McClinton, who testified that he supplied two guns and displayed one during the confrontation, drew an angry outburst from Bruce Fromong, one of the two memorabilia dealers robbed by Simpson and the others.
"You've got to be kidding me!" Fromong exclaimed before the judge ordered him removed from the courtroom and escorted out of the courthouse.
Testified about their involvement
McClinton, Alexander, Ehrlich and Cashmore each pleaded guilty to lesser charges and testified about their involvement in Simpson's September 2007 confrontation with Fromong and fellow collectibles dealer Alfred Beardsley at a Las Vegas hotel-casino. Each could have gotten prison time — up to 11 years in McClinton's case.
The men originally faced charges similar to Simpson and Clarence "C.J." Stewart, the only co-defendant who stood trial.
Simpson, convicted in October, was sentenced Friday to nine to 33 years in prison on 10 counts, including kidnapping, armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy. He was transferred to a Nevada state prison Monday.
Stewart was sentenced to 7 1/2 to 27 years after District Attorney David Roger characterized the former mortgage broker and Simpson friend as less culpable than Simpson in the armed raid in a cramped hotel room.
Simpson had rounded up his five co-defendants to help him confront Beardsley and Fromong, who he said had sports memorabilia and family heirlooms that had been stolen from him. Another memorabilia dealer who had arranged the hotel-room meeting secretly recorded the confrontation, in which angry threats were shouted and a gun was drawn.
McClinton brought guns
State parole and probation agents recommended no prison time for McClinton, 50, of Las Vegas, who acknowledged bringing guns to the confrontation, and Cashmore, 41, of Las Vegas, the last man recruited to come along, their attorneys said. Glass sentenced Cashmore to three years of probation.
Prosecutors earlier promised to seek a suspended sentence and probation for Alexander, 47, a Simpson golfing buddy from Mesa, Ariz., who admitted taking one of McClinton's guns into the Palace Station hotel room for the Sept. 13, 2007, encounter. He received four years' probation.
"My client cooperated even before it was to his legal advantage to do so," said Alexander's lawyer, Robert Dennis Rentzer.
The judge accepted the apology of Ehrlich, 54, a Simpson friend from Miami who was the last of the four men to take a plea deal. He apologized "for my stupidity and what I did."
"He betrayed you," Glass said of Simpson before sentencing Ehrlich to six years of probation. "But you made a choice and participated in this event."
Simpson, in an emotional statement to the judge last week, said he asked Stewart to help him retrieve personal items and memorabilia, and that McClinton, Alexander, Ehrlich and Cashmore volunteered to come along.
Simpson insisted he was only after items that he said had been stolen from him in the years after he was acquitted of murder in the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in Los Angeles.
"I didn't ask anybody to do anything but to stand behind me, allow me to yell at these guys and then help me remove those things," Simpson told the judge.