LOS ANGELES • Disgraced American football star O.J. Simpson, whose racially charged 1995 murder trial riveted the nation, was released from jail on parole early yesterday after nine years behind bars for armed robbery.
Simpson, 70, left the medium-security Lovelock Correctional Centre in the western state of Nevada just after midnight local time, a prison spokesman said.
He still faces parole supervision for another five years.
Simpson was granted parole at a hearing in July and his earliest release date was set for yesterday.
The former National Football League running back and actor was sent to prison in 2008 for his role in an armed robbery the previous year of two sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas resort.
During his trial, Simpson said he was just seeking to recover personal items from the dealers. He repeated that explanation at his parole board hearing in July, and the four-member panel voted unanimously for his release.
His lawyer Malcolm LaVergne said Simpson planned to relocate to Florida, play golf and be with friends and family.
Born Orenthal James Simpson, he shot to fame in the 1970s, having earlier won the prestigious Heisman Trophy - the award for the best player in US collegiate football.
He retired from football in 1979 and became an advertising pitchman and a Hollywood actor.
In June 1994, Simpson's 35-year-old ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her male friend Ron Goldman were found stabbed to death outside her Los Angeles home.
Simpson was arrested after a car chase through Los Angeles that was broadcast live by television stations and watched by millions.
He was acquitted in October 1995 after a nine-month trial. The verdict was greeted with disbelief by many. Public views on the African-American athlete's guilt or innocence divided sharply along racial lines.
Simpson was later found liable for the deaths in a 1997 civil suit and was ordered to pay damages totalling US$33.5 million (S$45.2 million) to the victims' families.