Did He Do IT? The Story of O.J. Simpson and the Famous Murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman

OJ Simpson being arrested by LAPD l Courtesy of Charles LeBlanc on flickr

On the night of June 12, 1994, the bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson, ex-wife of Orenthal James (O.J.) Simpson, and Ronald Goldman were found brutally murdered outside Nicole’s town home in Brentwood, California.1 When police arrived on the scene, Detective Mark Fuhrman quickly recognized the body of Nicole, as he had covered a domestic dispute with her and O. J. prior to this event2 While other officers were inspecting the scene of the crime, Detectives Philip Vannattero and Fuhrman went to Simpson’s Rockingham Estate to inform him about Nicole’s death. When they arrived, one of the first things they saw and examined was an odd blood stain on Simpson’s white Ford Bronco, which began to raise suspicion. They soon after would attempt at contacting O.J., but would conclude that Simpson was not home after there was no answer when they tried paging him from the front gate. Desperate to find answers, Fuhrman jumped the fence, and to his surprise, he found a bloody glove behind Simpson’s guest house that was identical to a glove found at Nicole’s home. These findings quickly caused O.J. to be considered a suspect in the murder case. Once evidence came pouring in, the district attorney’s office came to the conclusion that there was enough evidence to indict Simpson for the death of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

Photo of the Bronco on the 405 Freeway l Courtesy of culturedecoded.wordpress.com

When the police went to arrest O.J. in Encino, California, again to their surprise, they found that O.J. was not in the home where police expected him to be. Instead, he was in a Ford Bronco that belonged to A. C. Cowlings, trying to run away on the 405 freeway. In the Encino home, O.J. left a disturbing suicide note that was signed with a smiley face. In the back of the Bronco, O.J. apparently had a gun to his head ready to pull the trigger at any moment. This escape was televised nationally to over 95 million viewers. To anyone who lived in Los Angeles at the time, many remember where they were during the time of the attempted escape and “slow chase” of O.J. Simpson. The chase reportedly started to transition when O.J. was on the phone with Detective Tom Lange negotiating with him, granting Simpson’s request to go home and see his mother before he was arrested. Police decided that it was best to cooperate, and thus began one of the slowest police chases to ever happen. It would end with O.J. home with his family who were waiting desperately for him to surrender. Fans of O.J. were lined up to watch the chase either cheering him on to keep running, or people viciously accusing him of the murders he might have committed. Once he got home, the police formally arrested him and he was placed under police custody.3

O.J. was formally indicted on July 22, 1994, and the trial began on January 24, 1995 with Lance Ito as the presiding judge.3 The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Lead Prosecutor Marcia Clark and Deputy Attorney Christopher Darden took on the case in attempt to bring Simpson to justice for Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman. The two presented an accurate timeline to prosecute Simpson with the help of Rosa Lopez’s various testimonies to the police. Lopez was a domestic worker for one of Simpson’s neighbors, who at one point attempted to leave the country in order to avoid testifying.5 The timeline went like this: between 9:48-9:50 PM, Ronald Goldman leaves the restaurant with glasses left by Nicole’s mother. At 10:15, the first cries of help from Nicole are heard by a neighbor as well as Nicole’s dog constantly barking at the scene. At 10:40, Kato Kaelin hears three loud thumps outside the wall of his room. Allan Park, a limo driver, also arrives at Simpson’s Rockingham Estate to take him to the airport. At 11:00, Park buzzes the intercom several times to get no reply from Simpson. At 11:00, after calling his boss urging him that Simpson was not home, he buzzes the intercom one more time and this time O.J. replies. He claimed that he overslept and just got out the shower. Fifteen minutes later, Simpson left his home to go to Los Angeles International Airport to make an American Airline flight to Chicago. At 12:10, the bodies of the victims are found. The next morning, after finding a bloody glove behind Kaelin’s room, the Simpson house is labeled a crime scene, and the Police file a search warrant to investigate the house.6.

The prosecution team’s case for why Simpson was the killer was rooted mainly in DNA evidence found at both crime scenes. At the town home, there was a bloody glove found with the DNA of O.J., Nicole, and Goldman. There was also a knitted hat with pieces of Simpson’s hair found on it, as well as a bloody footprint that matched the sole pattern of a shoe O.J. owned at the time. At O.J.’s Rockingham Estate, there was a glove found that was identical to the one found at Nicole’s town home, with the same DNA evidence as mentioned earlier. This glove was found where Kaelin said he heard loud thumping behind his room. There was also blood found on the driveway along with one of Nicole’s bloody socks and a bloody footprint that matched the one found at the town home. When police went to talk to Simpson the next day, they noticed that O.J. had a cut on his finger, which was suspicious as he never gave a clear reason as to how he got the cut. Simpson also had purchased a knife before the events that occurred on that night. However, the knife and shoes were never found. Not only was this evidence strong, but Simpson also had a history with domestic violence, where Simpson had been abusive towards Nicole. This history with violence did not help Simpson’s desire to plea his innocence. In any ordinary case, this would have been enough to send someone to jail, but this was no ordinary case.

OJ tries on a glove found at the crime scene that does not fit on his hand l Courtesy of Bambinoides.com

The team of attorneys defending Simpson were known as the “Dream Team,” as many of them were high profiled lawyers. The team would be led by Johnnie Cochran, as he had created an accurate plan to profess Simpson’s innocence.3 Cochran’s plan was to turn this from a murder case and make it about race. His plan revolved around corruption in the LAPD with racist cops and a mishandling of evidence. The defense suggested that there were technical mistakes made by LAPD. Some evidence had not been packaged or contained correctly. There had been even some evidence that had been left in a van to overheat while other evidence used strange preservation methods, such as items being frozen and unfrozen. Not only that, but the gloves that were found at both crime scenes supposedly did not fit Simpson. O.J. was asked to try them on in court and when the gloves did not fit him, Cochran coined the famous line, “If the glove doesn’t fit, then you must acquit.” The team’s last case was directed towards Fuhrman, labeling him a racist. Fuhrman was found on record using racial slurs over forty times in one sitting when asked to talk about a case involving another black man. Fuhrman was also the first one at the Rockingham Estate and was the sole person to find the glove after he jumped over Simpson’s fence. This is critical, as the defense was able to claim that Fuhrman possibly planted the evidence at Simpson’s home, thus tainting the DNA evidence.8

Prior to this case, Police brutality in Los Angeles during the 1990’s was not a light topic. On March 3, 1991, Rodney King was brutally beaten by LAPD officers after King led police on a high-speed chase throughout L.A. County. Video evidence shows King being struck by police batons more than fifty times with over twenty officers on site. King would suffer from eleven fractures and other major injuries due to these beatings. It was later that Sergeant Stacey Koon and Officers Michael Powell, Timothy Wind, and Theodore Briseno were indicted by a L.A. grand jury in connection with the beatings of King, as they were the only officers to beat him. It was not until April 29, 1992, when the four LAPD officers were acquitted of all charged in the beating King. It was after this was announced that the riots began. It started at the intersection of Florence and Normandie in South Central Los Angeles with only chaos to follow. The riots went for over five days in the spring of 1992 resulting in fifty people dying and more than two-thousand being injured. Given the atmosphere of what it was like in 1992, the tension between the African-American community and the LAPD was almost like walking on a thread. This is where the defense’s case became relevant, leaving many to speculate that the LAPD might be doing the same thing to O.J. Simpson.9

The trial would last more than eight months, with over 150 different witness testimonies. Many different television providers would broadcast the trial as the general public took a great interest in it as opinions were largely divided along racial lines. A majority of African Americans believed Simpson was innocent while a majority of White Americans believed that Simpson was guilty. This racial divide sparked a nationwide debate. While people such as Clark and Kardashian drew fame from the case, people such as Darden became enemies in the public eye, especial to African Americans, as he was prosecuting “another brother.” Regardless, Darden would continue to say that he was very aware of the situation he put himself into. He would conclude by saying that he was in a “no-win situation.”10.

Simpson hearing he has been aquitted of the murder charges l Courtesy of Blogspot.com

On October 2, 1995, the jury began to deliberate the different evidence given on both sides. To the surprise of everyone, the jury came to its conclusion after less than four hours of debate. Everyone was expecting weeks of deliberation, and for the jury to come to a conclusion in under four hours led many to believe Simpson would be found guilty. Judge Ito decided to delay the announcement of the jury’s decision a day for timing reasons. So, on October 3, the jury found Simpson not guilty of the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Whites were distraught and African Americans were supportive of the sentence. The hearts of the families of Nicole and Ronald Goldman were shattered as they believed that Simpson did it. There were even friends of Simpson who could not look at him the same way, as they too believed he did it. Even though Simpson was acquitted of the criminal case, the families of the victims would start a civil case about the murders, charging Simpson with a wrongful death lawsuit. Simpson would lose this trial and owe the families $33.5 million in damages. Recent statistics show that the percentage of Americans who believe that Simpson killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman has increased from 66 percent of people believing Simpson was the killer in 1994 to 83 percent of people believing Simpson was the killer in 2014.11. Today, Simpson is serving a sentence for a robbery he committed in a Las Vegas hotel in 2007, and is now eligible for parole.

The story of O.J. Simpson is a tragedy, where we watch a hero fall. He was an American icon, being a star football player in both college at USC and in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers. He also starred in different roles in the film and television industries. He went from a hero to a zero. Originally, Simpson would never be forgotten for his various talents on and off the field. Now he is remembered as the criminal who got away with murder.

  1. Encyclopædia Britannica, “O.J. Simpson Trial.” https://www.britannica.com/event/O-J-Simpson-trial .
  2. Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Aired on FX, February 2, 2016.
  3. Encyclopædia Britannica, “O.J. Simpson Trial.” https://www.britannica.com/event/O-J-Simpson-trial
  4. Encyclopædia Britannica, “O.J. Simpson Trial.” https://www.britannica.com/event/O-J-Simpson-trial
  5. Salem Press EncyclopediaResearch Starters, 2017, s.v. “O.J. Simpson Trial,” by Devon Boan
  6. “O.J. Simpson trial: Night of the murders timeline,” CNN, updated December 31, 2007, accessed November 21, 2017. http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/12/11/court.archive.simpson14/index.html
  7. Encyclopædia Britannica, “O.J. Simpson Trial.” https://www.britannica.com/event/O-J-Simpson-trial
  8. Michael Lynch, “The Discursive Production of Uncertainty: The OJ Simpson ‘Dream Team’ and the Sociology of Knowledge Machine,” Social Studies of Science 28, no. 5/6 (1998): 829-68. http://www.jstor.org/stable/285519.
  9. “Los Angeles Riots Fast Facts,” CNN, updated April 23, 2017, accessed November 21, 2017. http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/18/us/los-angeles-riots-fast-facts/index.html.
  10. Justin Maffett, “Christopher Darden Talks O.J. Simpson, Tension with Johnnie Cochran,” NBC News, July 25, 2017, accessed December 4, 2017. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/christopher-darden-talks-o-j-simpson-tension-johnnie-cochran-n784991
  11. Buzzfeed Blue, “The Shocking Case of O.J. Simpson,” YouTube, March 4, 2017, accessed November 24, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLmDE_JYUNU&t=731s.
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92 Comments

  • Personally, I do think OJ committed the crime. I think there’s clear evidence, and DNA evidence definitely does not lie. It’s funny to hear about Darden, because now he is working to defend Eric Holder, who shot and killed the famous Nipsey Hussle. It seems now more than ever he’ll be the enemy of the African American race. It’s true some of his lawyers gained a lot of fame from this case, most especially Kardashian.

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