A man was charged Wednesday in connection with the theft of a duplicate of the 1968 Heisman Trophy won by O.J. Simpson that was stolen more than 20 years ago from a display at the University of Southern California.
Lewis Eugene Starks Jr., 56, was charged with receiving stolen property. He pleaded not guilty on Wednesday.
A copy of the trophy, recognized as the top annual individual award in college football, was stolen with Simpson's jersey and a plaque in July 1994 from Heritage Hall on the USC campus. Starks is accused of stashing away the trophy and plaque, knowing that the items had been stolen, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.
He was arrested Monday after allegedly attempting to sell the items last year, prosecutors said. Starks faces up to six years in state prison and is due back in court Sept. 15.
His public defender, Merle Lottman, said Starks "showed good faith and worked with police, and is trying to resolve the matter."
At the time of the display case theft, Simpson was at the center of a homicide investigation involving his former wife and her friend. USC officials removed the trophy and other items from cases at Heritage Hall for safekeeping, but put them back on display a few days later.
It was then that a custodian noticed the trophy and jersey were missing, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. The mystery of the missing trophy and No. 32 jersey stumped investigators until December 2014 when detectives assigned to the LAPD art theft detail recovered the items.
Few details are available regarding the trophy's recovery.
Simpson's own trophy was seized under a $33.5 million judgment after a civil court found Simpson liable for the deaths of Nicole Simpson and friend Ron Goldman.
Simpson, acquitted in the 1995 murder trial, is now in a Nevada prison after a 2008 conviction for kidnapping and armed robbery in a hotel room heist in Las Vegas.