Naples residents react to OJ Simpson parole, possible move to SWFL

Posted at 7:24 PM, Jul 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-20 19:24:30-04

Customers at Pelican Larry's Raw Bar & Grill in Naples watched OJ Simpson's parole hearing on TV Thursday afternoon while they sipped their beers with some interest - especially considering the news that Simpson could decide to call Southwest Florida his home when he's released October 1. 

"He's served 9 years, so it's time to let him go," said Michael Hornbeck of Naples.

Thomas Scotto, a friend of Simpson's for over 20 years, lives in East Naples and has offered to share his home with Simpson upon his release. 

"He's my best friend, my only friend," Scotto told Fox 4 by phone Wednesday.

Hornbeck believes Simpson has done his time for his 2008 conviction on robbery and kidnapping charges while trying to get some memorabilia back from a memorabilia dealer in Las Vegas.

But Hornbeck thinks Simpson got off easy in his 1995 murder trial, when he was charged with killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

"They acquitted him...but I think he was guilty," Hornbeck said. "But he had the 'dream team' (a nickname for his attorneys) with him."

Ed Clayton of Naples said he expected the Nevada parole board to let Simpson walk free.

"I would be surprised if it went the other way," Clayton said.

He said he welcomes the idea of Simpson moving to Collier County.

"I know the gentleman likes to play the game of golf, so therefore he will be highly visible," Clayton said. "I think it's positive for the community."

Rich Kraft of Naples believes Simpson would try to stay out of the spotlight in Southwest Florida.

"He'll just be in the background, he won't do anything," Kraft said.

Hornbeck agreed.

"I think he'll keep a low profile," Hornbeck said. "I don't think he's going to mess up again."