The O. J. Simpson trial is the official Trial of the Century
according to NBC and its viewers, beating out even the Nuremberg trials following World War II. O. J. Simpson
, an American football hero, was placed on trial for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and a man by the name of Ron Goldman. Never before had the media covered a trial in such detail. Throughout the nine-month duration of the trial, all of the major television networks constantly analyzed the status of the case. After an extremely long and memorable trial, Simpson was found to be not guilty, despite a mountain
of evidence against him.
The murders happened on June 12, 1994 in Los Angeles. A neighbor of Nicole Brown Simpson heard Nicole's dog howling and went to investigate. Her neighbor found the dog covered in blood, saw the bodies of the victims, and contacted the proper authorities. That very same night, O.J. left Los Angeles to go to Chicago. He was picked up in a limo driven by a man named Allan Park who would become a key witness in the trial. Park arrived on time to pick Simpson up at his home, at around 10:25 that night. He waited around and an individual he assumed to be Simpson entered the house a half hour later. Simpson then explained that he had not come out immediately because he had overslept. Park also later testified that Simpson had a black bag that he would not let Park handle, which is obviously very suspicious. Simpson left the airport and arrived in Chicago.
Simpson did not seem very disturbed when he was informed of his ex-wife's death. They never really had a good relationship. Nicole called 911 many times over the course of their marriage when O.J. would abuse her. Because he was a celebrity and he made many powerful friends within the LAPD, most of these claims were not even investigated. Nicole's sister testified that she had seen events of domestic violence occur between them.
O.J. agreed to turn himself in to the police the day after Nicole's funeral. Instead of doing this, he had his friend A.C. Cowlings pick him up in his infamous white Bronco and drive around. Simpson left a note that seemed like a suicide note, and eventually the police found the Bronco and engaged it in a low-speed chase.
Eventually O.J. surrendered and the trial began. His plea was "absolutely one hundred percent not guilty, Your Honor." Thus began the nine-month trial, complete with jurors sequestered in a hotel during the entire ordeal. Judge Lance Ito decided not to allow television cameras in the courtroom, and the trial became very eventful very quickly. The prosecutors brought in witness after witness, going through the history of Nicole and O.J.'s abusive relationship.
The O.J. Simpson trial made a young man by the name of Kato Kaelin a household name. When Kaelin testified, it was as if he was putting on a show for those assembled in the courtroom. Kaelin was a house guest of Simpson's the night of the murders, and he said that he had heard knocks on the wall at about the same time Allan Park saw Simpson returning home.
The evidence continued to pile up against Simpson. One of the most damaging pieces of evidence came when investigators analyzed the blood samples found at the crime scene and at Simpson's home. The blood at the crime scene, which matched Simpson's, could have only come from 1 in 170 million samples. Blood found in Simpson's home matched Nicole's, and there was only a 1 in 6.8 billion chance that an individual could match that sample. Though it would seem that this evidence could close the case, this is ironically where the defense really began to win.
The defense presented to the court the idea that corrupt Los Angeles police officers had planted the blood at those areas. Race played a big role in this trial. Simpson's "Dream Team" singled out Mark Fuhrman, an LAPD officer, and brought him to the stand. Fuhrman was asked if he had ever used the n word and he denied it. The defense then proceeded to bring out a tape of him using that word. This established the fact that all of the evidence before the jury could be a pack of lies. This was particularly damaging to the prosecution because the jury was composed mostly of minorities.
Though he was one of America's greatest athletes, the defense insisted that Simpson was in no shape to commit a double murder. Evidence was presented that O.J. had a severe case of arthritis that kept him from many activities. It was unlikely that Simpson's medical condition at the time could prevent him from killing two people.
One of the more memorable quotes from the trial was, "If it does not fit, you must acquit." Johnnie Cochran, one of Simpson's lawyers, came up with this after O.J. tried on a glove that supposedly belonged to the murderer. The glove was a little too small on him, causing Cochran to urge the members of the jury to give Simpson his freedom.
The verdict was released on October 3, 1995. Orenthal James Simpson was found not guilty of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Goldman's family became consumed with emotion and broke down in the courtroom. Simpson swore to find the real killers of Nicole and Ron, but many viewed this as a simple publicity stunt. Simpson did not make any real commitment to any sort of further investigation on the matter.
The criminal trial was over, so he was a free man. But Simpson still had to face a civil suit. This time, he was found guilty of the wrongful deaths of Ron and Nicole. Simpson was ordered to pay several million dollars to the families of the victims.