LAS VEGAS - During his trial for armed robbery and kidnapping, O.J. Simpson once sat in a courthouse hallway musing on what might have been: Before his arrest, he had mulled moving to Las Vegas, where he liked the climate and the people he had met.
Now he could spend the rest of his life in Nevada in prison.
The 61-year-old former football star, actor, and TV pitchman will be sentenced tomorrow along with a co-defendant in a hearing that highlights Simpson's journey from fame and fortune to crime and punishment.
Although the case carries mandatory prison time, friend Tom Scotto said Simpson remains hopeful and positive after being convicted in October of all 12 charges that arose from a hotel-room confrontation with two sports-memorabilia dealers.
"He's doing better than I would be in this situation," said Mr. Scotto, who visited Simpson in jail and has spoken with him by phone. "He sounds good. He is upbeat. He's looking forward to the sentencing so he can get on with the appeal."
Mr. Scotto spoke from his home in Florida. Simpson moved there after he was acquitted in the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles.
Simpson will spend a minimum of six years in state prison and could be held for life.
Court documents filed Tuesday indicate the state Parole and Probation Division has recommended Simpson and his co-defendant get at least 18 years in prison.
Simpson's lawyer, Yale Galanter, plans to push for the minimum sentence, arguing Simpson has no prior convictions. Mr. Galanter, who said Simpson's jury punished him for the Los Angeles murders, said he hopes the judge will not do the same thing.
Since his conviction, Simpson has been held in isolation in jail. In state prison, he will remain in solitary because of his celebrity.