The O.J. Simpson Case

I recently read the book "Outrage" by Vincent Bugliosi and as usual struggle with trying to keep the thoughts of a book out of my true crime blog.  However, in this case, unlike many others, I have little to argue with Bugliosi.  I have to say that his thoughts much mirrored what I already believed, as well as I learned more things that I simply had to agree with him on.  I will try my best to not compare the two here but after 17 years  and this book being the freshest in my mind that may be difficult.

When this trial was going on in 1995 I was a young 23 mother of two and my interest in true crime, as well as the process of the justice system was limited. There really was very little that I could recall about the details prior to reading Buliosi's book.  Of course we all remember the verdict being read, even today you still hear it being repeated (how embarrassed do you think that clerk is how she stumbled over his name when she knew millions watched, let alone decades later?).  I recall the fact that Mark Fuhrman was thrown under a bus (at least in my opinion), and I recall the infamous glove incident.  The biggest thing I recall however, is how the media treated this case.  I remember being so angry that they would tell us not just what people thought, but how people thought based on their race.  I believe it was one of first times I saw how the media can spin things.  I had friends of different races and we discussed things and as I recall it seemed like we were either in agreement with each other or their opinions were opposite of how the media portrayed them based on race.  I also remember thinking that my view was that he likely did not do it himself (I have since changed that position) but had it done and even to the point had made sure that the signs pointed to him.  I believed he had someone else do it but things were to look like he had but based on the fact that he truly did not do it, it could not be proven to get a guilty verdict. 

I will try to give a short version of the crime and the evidence.  I will try by giving the undisputed facts, and then move on to the evidence based on the prosecution and then the defense.

Undisputed facts:

Nicole Brown and O.J. Simpson were married in 1985 and had two children. Nichole filed for divorced in 1992.  There were more than a few incidences of domestic violence in the relationship prior to their split in which the police were called but according to Nicole (in a 911 call) they never seemed to do much to him.  According to her diary, Nichole, says the violence began when they met in 1977.  In January of 1989 there was one report in which O.J. eventually pleaded guilty to but much like many domestic violence issues he down played the situation, and placed most of the blame on Nicole.  Although they divorced in 1992, reports are that from then until her death in June 1994 they had tried to reconcile a few times.  Apparently the last and final break up was in May of 1994.

Nicole and O.J had both attended a program for their daughter around 6:00 on the evening of June 12, 1994.  Nicole's family also attended.  After the program Nicole and her family went to eat at a restaurant called Mezzaluna.  One of the waiters there was a friend of Nicole's, Ronald Goldman.  Nicole and her children left the restaurant about 8:00 and stopped for ice cream before going home.  It was discovered that Nicole's mother had forgotten her glasses at Mezzaluna and they were called.  Ronald Goldman offered to return them to Nicole.  Ronald left Mezzaluna about 9:50.  At 10:15 a neighbor of Nicole's indicates that his dog was barking consistently and in an unusual manner.  

While most of O.J. Simpson's whereabouts during this time and stories changed or could not be verified his house guest Brian Kaelin (nicknamed Kato Kaelin) says that between 9 and 9:30 he and O.J. went to McDonald's for dinner.

Between 10:40 and 10:50 limo driver, Allen Park, states he rang the buzzer to O.J.'s home several times and received no response.  He was there to pick up Simpson to take him to the airport for a flight to Chicago.  Park testified that just before 11 pm he saw a large figure cross the driveway to the house.  Just after that Park buzzed again and Simpson answered.  At 11:45 Simpson was on his plane to Chicago. 

Just after midnight on the morning of June 13, 1994,  the bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, and waiter, Ronald Goldman were found outside Nicole's California home.  Both victims had been stabbed multiple times. 

As with all murder case the first person of interest is always the current or ex significant other of the victim(s).  In this case it was obviously Simpson.

The State's Case:

The prosecution contended that officers arrived at the scene and began collecting evidence. Detectives stated they found an abundance of blood as well as a glove that appeared to have blood on it.  They also stated they found a bloody shoe print leaving the scene of the crime and headed towards the rear of the residence.  

Prosecution stated that the blood was tested and that it matched the blood of the victims, as well as O.J. Simpson.

The detectives went to Simpson's home about 5 in the morning.  They stated they climbed the wall to enter the residence claiming after receiving no answer and having just been at a scene in which two bodies were found they had probable cause to enter without a warrant.  The defense argued this but in my opinion it was a weak argument as this sort of thing happens often and it did make sense.  The detectives have no clue at this point who murdered the first victims and that they will not find more. For all they knew at that point the initial murders were done in retaliation to Simpson, or involved him in some way.  Simpson had been at Nicole's home off and on up until the month prior.  

Around 7 am the detectives officially proclaimed Simpson's home as part of a crime scene and went to obtain a warrant.

Within the search of the Simpson home detectives stated they found blood in Simpson's Ford Bronco, a bloody sock in his room and the matching glove from the previous scene behind the home of the house.

After testing the prosecution claims that once again all the blood tested matched either the victims or Simpson.

Simpson was contacted in Chicago and upon his return to California was interviewed by the police.  He had cuts on his hands.  He stated he did not know where they came from but that he noticed them around 10:30 while preparing to leave for Chicago (also around the time in which the prosecution claims the murder occurred).

Simpson soon obtained council and after the initial investigation it was agreed that Simpson would turn himself into the police on June 17th for two counts of murder.  Instead of doing so there was the infamous slow speed chase by police.  During the chase Simpson made several phone calls to family members proclaiming his innocence, but also placing blame on Nicole.  Once apprehended back at his home,  it was found that Simpson had his passport, a disguise, clothing, a gun and he had given his friend (Al Cowlings, who was driving for him) $8,000 to hold for him.  Many first believed that Simpson had intended to kill himself based on a letter he had a friend read to the media but after his apprehension it was believed he planned to run.  

The Defense Case:

Much of the defense case actually really had little to do with the crime and evidence itself.  The trial turned when the defense was able to enter evidence against Detective Mark Fuhrman in attempts to prove that he was racist and in their accusations that he planted evidence (specifically the matching glove found at Simpson's home).  

DNA was fairly new in 1995 and this case brought it into light.  It was fairly complicated to explain.  The defense team had a few lawyers specifically for this reason.  One was Barry Scheck who is well known now for his "Innocence Project" that has freed those convicted but later found innocent, mainly through DNA.  While I have respect for Scheck in most areas, I do not in this case.  He made little attempts to accurately explain DNA and the process and he pushed the theory of contamination and/or laboratory mishandling.  The problem with this (and the prosecution FAILED to point out) is that when there is contamination the results would be inconclusive.  Contamination does not result in "false positives" or create DNA.  There was also an attempt at one point to try and state that detectives had planted blood at the scene that had been taken from Simpson in his first interview with police.  Once again however, the prosecution failed to point out a few problems with this theory or once again point out there are no false positives or pointing out that blood directly taken from a person and the exposed blood at the scenes have different makes or chemicals and they could prove that the blood tested was not the blood from the blood sample taken from Simpson.  To add to this the prosecution claims that the defense had the opportunity to have the blood tested on their own and independently but refused to do so. 

The defense never spoke of the cuts on Simpsons hands or how they got there.  They did make several attempts to get the timeline of the murders moved a bit to try and prove that Simpson was accounted for during that time, but that does very little.

Then there was the infamous trying on of the glove.  The prosecution had said it was a matching pair, one found at the crime scene, one found at Simpson's home.  They were able to prove the brand, where they were made and the exclusive store they were sold at.  They were also able to prove by pictures that Simpson owned a pair like these as well as the fact that Nicole had bought them for him. A big show was made when the defense was allowed to physically handle the evidence (which is often rare) and try the glove on.  Of course as we all know it did not "fit." The prosecution attempted but failed to point out that it could have or in their contention did shrink because of being exposed to the elements so long as well as the blood.  In essence the theory was that it had remained outside in the middle of the night on the ground exposed to the dew and nighttime weather elements but was also soaked in blood that remained there until it dried, causing it to shrink.  

As far as planting evidence, the defense theory was not only had Mark Fuhrman done it but that basically several dozen officers from three different departments, many who did not know Fuhrman, were in on the plot to "frame" Simpson.  They stated this without offering proof that anything was planted, that any of the officers had been proven to or even accused of planting evidence previously, or that there truly was a conspiracy at all.  

In the end the jury believed that not only had the prosecution not proven their case (despite cases are one every day on only a 10th of the evidence presented here), but that the police had conspired to frame Simpson (this was said in a book written by people on the jury).  

It would be interesting to me to hear what the jury members have to say now, after all the information and evidence that was not presented at trial (the prosecution admitted they did not present a lot of evidence that they could have simply because they thought they had enough.... yeah, re-read that, you read it right the first time), as well as the information that has come out since.

After the criminal trial the families of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman sued Simpson in a civil case for wrongful death.  Unlike a criminal trial where in order to come to a conclusion of guilt must be "beyond reasonable doubt" in a civil trial it is considered by the "preponderance of evidence."  In this case Simpson was found to be responsible and ordered to pay $33.5 million dollars to the victims families (including some to his own children).  He failed to make payments.  

In 2006 a book publisher announced they were publishing a book written by Simpson titled "If I did it," a supposed hypothetical account of what he would have done had he been guilty.  Many see this as a confession.  Of course he had the right to go onto the steps of the courthouse just after his acquittal and confessed he was guilty and nothing could have been done.  The book was subsequently cancelled, however, the Goldman family picked it up and had it published, presumably said so they would recover some of the $33.5 million owed from the civil suit.  I take great issues with this.  I think it was blood money.  Yes, I do believe that Simpson was/is guilty; yes I do believe as many have said that Ronald Goldman got lost in the story and is often the forgotten victim, but I disagree with the family on this issue.  It would have been different if Simpson had gotten it published and the money was going to him, to which they could then recover from their verdict.  In this case, however, the book was dropped so Simpson was not going to benefit from it, therefore they were taking money that he had "earned."  

In 2012 Investigation Discovery did a documentary of serial killer, Glen Rogers called "My Brother, the serial killer."  It is claimed in there that Rogers confessed to killing Nicole and Ronald; that Simpson had paid him to do so and it also claims they have proof based on items Roger had given his mother.  I am yet to hear anyone involved with this case give any credit to this theory.  All evidence pointed to Simpson, including shoe prints, blood and fibers and there was no evidence of anyone else.

In the end Simpson has gotten his however.  In 2008 Simpson was convicted for multiple felonies including kidnapping, assault, robbery, and using a deadly weapon.  Simpson claims that someone had stolen items, including memorabilia, and that he was simply "stealing it back."  Audio tapes were played in court of the account and of Simpson's own words.  He was sentenced to 9 to 33 years.  Many believe that the judge was harsher on him than what normally would have been so that he "pays" for the murders he committed in 1994.  

It should also be noted that after the murders Nicole's sister, Denise started the Nicole Brown Charitable Foundation that helps those involved in domestic violence.  


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