One of the most talked about trials in history started up in 1994, and that was the O.J. Simpson murder case. Prior to the case, O.J. was known to the world as a football player-turned-actor, but when his ex wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman were found murdered, he was a prime suspect. Simpson’s trial, presided by Judge Lance Ito, lasted for an entire eight months.
O.J. and Nicole had divorced two years earlier – when she was found, it was apparent that she was stabbed multiple times in the head and neck with defense wounds on her hands. Lawyers convinced the LAPD to allow O.J. to turn himself in at 11 AM on June 17th, but O.J. was a no-show. A friend of Simpson’s (Robert Kardashian – yeah, he’s related) read a letter penned by O.J. which denied all wrongdoings, but also sounded a little bit like a suicide note.
This lead to the infamous “Ford Bronco Chase”. After being spotted fleeing by a motorist in Orange County, police officers tried to follow the Bronco, which was driven by a friend named Al Cowlings.
Cowlings had yelled to the police officer that O.J. was in the back of the vehicle with a gun to his head, so the officer kept his distance, yet continued to follow the Bronco alongside 20 other police officers.
The chase was all over the news, and viewers watched with panic based on having no clue how everything would unfold. Would O.J. flee? Shoot himself? Confess to the crime?
Simpson reportedly demanded that he be allowed to speak to his mother before he would surrender – and after he did, his car was searched. The officers found $8,000 in cash, a loaded gun, a passport, and a fake beard and mustache – quite peculiar, if you ask me.
On July 29, when asked how he pleaded to the murders, Simpson – who was supposed to plead only simple words of “guilty” or “not guilty,” firmly stated, “Absolutely, one hundred percent, not guilty.” His criminal trial was televised for 134 days, and if found guilty, the death penalty he would have gotten got knocked down to a life imprisonment sentence.
The trial officially started on January 24th, 1995 and opened with a 9-1-1 call that Nicole Brown made back in 1989, where she cried for help after stating that O.J. was physically harming her. Simpson’s lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, made the argument that most women who are abused by their partners never end up being murdered by them (which is a pretty horrific thing to say in general, don’t you think?) The witness count for the trial was a whopping 150 people.
One of the popular moments of the trial was when a glove was revealed as evidence. The glove was identified as one of the two pairs of gloves that Nicole bought for O.J. back in 1990. According to the prosecution, both contained DNA evidence from O.J., Brown and Goldman – and the one at the Simpson house also had a strand of blonde hair that matched Nicole’s.
During the trial, they made O.J. try the glove on to see if it fit – but the glove had been frozen and unfrozen several times since, and O.J.’s arthritis also contributed to making the glove fit very tightly.
O.J. was found to be not guilty on October 3rd, 1995. President Clinton was prepped before the verdict was revealed, in case it lead to a nationwide riot.
In post-trial interviews, a few of the jurors admitted that they believed O.J. did commit the murders, but the prosecution failed to prove their case. Others believe that the jurors weren’t educated enough to properly understand the scientific evidence. Others felt that forcing O.J. to try on the glove pretty much ruined the case of finding him guilty.
No matter what, I can’t name anyone from my generation who doesn’t know where they were during the Bronco chase and the verdict announcement. While I, personally, was just eleven years old when everything went down, I understood that this trial had a lot of significance to it. With the massive amount of books and interviews researching “if” O.J. had done it, it’s news that still maintains a lot of relevance.
Image Credits: .imageslides.com (featured) youtube.com (Bronco)