HOUSTON (FOX 26) - In a nation where celebrity displaces royalty, the fate of a fallen super star still captures collective concern.
"It's still fascinating right now, today," said Mickey Coleman as she watched live coverage at Boudreaux's Cajun Kitchen.
Beyond two dead bodies, a White Bronco, an ill-fitting glove and America's most controversial acquittal, O.J. Simpson's 9 years behind bars for orchestrating a clumsy, bloodless robbery seemed to most, punishment enough.
"They say he's been a model citizen in there, so he should be released," said Kissimmee Thompson.
As the 70-year-old, one-time master of the gridiron appealed for freedom to a Nevada parole board, his remorse seemed to many half-hearted, his defiance only slightly diluted by time.
"I don't know if he is actually deterred from committing other crimes, that's the hard part. It also kind of teaches other people you cannot continue to make the same mistakes that because you are a celebrity or because you have a higher status that you get to negate the reality of the justice system," said Marqueeta Moss.
And yet in a country eager to offer "second chances", the unanimous decision to release the "Juice" felt for many, justified.
"We don't have to stay condemned of a crime, always. We can do the crime and pay with time and we are allowed to move on with our lives," said Dr. Vera Walker Hawkins.
"It's a good thing for America to see. We are people that forgive. Let him enjoy his life. He's 70 years old," said Megan Sutton.
Simpson is set for release in October and says he will reside in Florida.