OJ Simpson will make a 415-mile journey handcuffed in a cage in the back of a prison van before he is freed next week, DailyMail.com can reveal.
The journey, which takes approximately six hours and 30 minutes, will take him from Lovelock Correctional Center, in northern Nevada, to High Desert Prison, in Indian Springs, 45 miles outside Las Vegas.
It is likely to include a restroom break in Tonopah – a tiny town of 2,478 people that is home to a small prison camp.
Known as the Tonopah Conservation Camp, the small 152-man facility, situated in a remote part of Nye County, Nevada, supplies the local fire department with inmates to help fight bush fires.
Tasting freedom: OJ will be free by next week after nine years in prison in Nevada for armed robbery. His final stage before release will be a 415-mile van ride in handcuffs
Locked up: OJ has spent his confinement in the Lovelock Correctional Center but will leave it handcuffed in the cage in the back of a prison van
Bleak: Lovelock, in northern Nevada, is heavily guarded but Simpson has been a trouble-fre inmate his parole hearing as told
Inside time: This is the general prisoners wing in Lovelock, where OJ has bene jailed since 2009. It has a maximum capacity of 1,680 prisoners and more than 200 corrections officers
Back in handcuffs: OJ’s guards will follow standard procedure when they move him to High Desert, putting him in handcuffs in the ‘cage’ in the back of a van to move him 415 miles
Nevada Department of Corrections sources confirmed to DailyMail.com that the transfer will be made by van within the next few days.
Simpson, 70, is currently still inside the Lovelock Correctional Center in northern Nevada, where he has served the majority of his nine-year stint for armed robbery and kidnap.
Retired Lovelock prison guard and Simpson’s former friend Jeffrey Felix, 53, of Reno, Nevada, told DailyMail.com that stops on the 415-mile journey will be few because of the 70-year-old’s fame.
He said: ‘More than likely, they’re going to shoot straight through [to High Desert]. To stop with OJ, that’s a lot of drama if they stopped in some small town.
‘If OJ’s got to go to the bathroom or something, they could stop at Tonopah – there’s a camp at Tonopah, a prison camp in Tonopah they can stop at.
Jeffrey Felix guarded OJ behind bars but the armed robber was furious when he wrote a book about their close friendship.
‘Something like that would have to happen.’
Of the van itself, he added: ‘It’s just a regular full-size van with a cage inside. It’s got front seats and in the back – there’s a cage in there. [The prisoners] just sit in there with handcuffs.’
OJ had been expected to travel to Florida, where his two youngest children live, on release but the Florida Department of Corrections confirmed to DailyMail.com that they are yet to receive a transfer request from Nevada.
Because he lived in Miami prior to being convicted and sentenced in Las Vegas in December 2008 and has family in the state, Simpson is entitled to an automatic transfer.
However, multiple sources, including Felix, say the Juice will now spend his first months of freedom in Las Vegas. His lawyer, however, told the Associated Press he would go to Florida, without offering a time scale.
Felix, who worked at Lovelock for 20 years before retiring in 2015, was responsible for looking after the Juice during his time inside and became close to the former NFL star.
He says the 70-year-old will spend his first few weeks on the outside in a Nevada retirement community playing golf.
The 53-year-old told DailyMail.com: ‘We talked a lot about that [Simpson’s release]. He wanted to go to Florida to live with his daughter [Arnelle who now lives in Fresno, California] but now he’s going to go to Las Vegas to a retirement community.
‘He pretty much just wants to play golf and be left alone. That’s it. Play golf and be left alone.’
But Simpson will also be subject to onerous probation conditions, including bans on drinking alcohol, gambling and possessing firearms.
Standard Nevada probation requirements include regular drug testing, regular meetings with probation and parole officers and being subject to random property searches.
Felix told DailyMail.com that Simpson is likely to find it tough. ‘Hopefully he stays out of trouble, but you got to remember that probation is no joke,’ he said.
‘Those guys can come into your house, take a drug test, they can search your house, they can search anybody’s house where you’re at.
Typical cell: OJ was on a general wing where prisoners sleep two to a cell during his time behind bars but because of his age has spent the last few months in an infirmary cell, which he has to himself
OJ’s other car journey: The murder suspect’s notorious 90-minute slow-speed car chase in June 1994 was followed by a dramatic trial whose sensational end divided the nation
Unfinished business: In 1997, a civil court jury ordered Simpson to pay millions in damages to the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.
‘It’s not going to be like prison where we had to get sergeant’s approval to make him take a drug test or sergeant’s approval to shake down his cell.
‘He’s not going to be able to drink, he’s not going to be able to gamble, he’s not going to be able to stay out late at night, he’s going to have to check in.’
Felix, who says Simpson still loves to party, says the 70-year-old has spent his last few months in jail alone in the infirmary but has been talking to guards about looking forward to getting to Vegas.
He said: ‘Nobody really has access to him now – he’s locked up all by himself so he hasn’t really been talking to anybody.
‘The people I’ve been talking to, they’re getting bits and pieces – he’s looking forward to going to Vegas, he’s looking forward to golfing, he’s looking forward to freedom pretty much.’
During his time at Lovelock, Simpson was assigned to the worker’s unit and had a job cleaning gym equipment.
Felix says his usual routine would involve getting up at 6am before having breakfast and going to work.
He would then have a morning nap at 10.30am before lunch and would spend his afternoons enjoying gentle runs and coaching other prisoners’ softball games.
After dinner at 4.30pm, he would spend the evening watching sport on ESPN and playing cards and dominos with other prisoners.
Felix says he would also speak regularly to his children on the phone, including Sydney and Justin – his son and daughter with murdered ex-wife Nicole Brown.
Simpson’s impending release brings to an end one of the most dramatic chapters in a dramatic life so far.
Despite being acquitted of the murders of ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman following a sensational trial in 1995, many still believe him to be guilty; including Goldman’s father Fred.
A civil trial in 1998 found him liable for their deaths and his memoir, entitled If I Did It, was retitled to read ‘If I Did It: Confessions of a Killer’ when it was released in 2007 at Fred’s request.
Felix says he hopes Simpson did not kill the pair, as he claims, but says the Juice would go quiet when he asked him to explain why the pair of drug dealers he blames for their deaths did not take anything from Brown’s home.
He said: ‘His story to me was two people showed up at his house saying Nicole and Ronald Goldman owed them $30,000 in cocaine money.
‘They asked the Juice to cover and when he said no, they said they were heading over to Nicole’s townhouse to talk to her about getting the money and possibly putting Ronald to work in the restaurant selling the dope, pushing the dope.
‘And OJ told them, well as long as no harm comes to them. And that’s where either OJ went with them or he followed them over there and maybe he came up on the situation and that’s how his shoes got there, the blood trail. There’s a lot of ifs there but we know he was at the scene.’
Felix, who has penned a book called Guarding the Juice about his years looking after Simpson, added: ‘I’d like to believe him. My question is, if the drug dealers went there to collect money, how come after they killed Ronald and Nicole, they didn’t go into the house and take something?
‘That’s OJ’s thing. And when I asked him, well Juice, why didn’t they take any money? He had no answer for that.’