Orenthal James “O.J.” Simpson was a popular retired football player and is now exclusively known in conjunction to the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman on June, 12, 1994.
After a car chase that captivated the nation, Simpson was arrested and put on trial. In what was considered an open and shut case for the prosecution turned into a televised media circus. Simpson had a “dream team” of lawyers defending him including Robert Shapiro and Johnny Cochran, who coined the phrase “If it doesn’t fit you must acquit” referring to a glove found at the scene.
On October 3, 1995, after only three hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. It is thought that the prosecution failed to adequately explain DNA evidence to the jury, which was still a relatively new concept at the time that would be considered ironclad proof today. When the verdict was shown live on TV it revealed riffs in the public’s view of Simpson, with white viewers considering him guilty, while black viewers celebrated his innocence.
In 1997 the Brown and Goldman families sued Simpson for damages in a civil trial. Simpson was found liable for their wrongful deaths in a civil court and ordered to pay a $33.5 million judgment.
Simpson found himself back in the spotlight in January 2008 when he was charged with armed robbery and kidnapping. The robbery occurred at a Las Vegas hotel, and involved Simpson trying to, in his own words, to recover his property, memorabilia that two dealers had allegedly stolen from him. On October 3, 2008, exactly thirteen years after Simpson was acquitted for the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman, Simpson was found guilty on all charges and subsequently sentenced to thirty-three years in prison, with eligibility for parole in 2017.
The Bronco from the infamous chase is on display at Alcatraz East Crime Museum. Information on the forensic evidence used in the trial can be found here.
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