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The OJ Trial: Brown-Simpson & Goldman Bodies Found 20 Years Ago



It was declared the "Trial of the Century," and from the day O.J. Simpson was arrested in 1994 on charges of killing his ex-wife and her friend, until he was acquitted almost 15 months later, it captivated the nation.

Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, and a friend Ron Goldman were found slashed to death outside her Brentwood, Los Angeles home June 12, 1994

 
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bf0e49d964e77516560f6a706700198eThis file combo photo shows Nicole Brown Simpson, left, and her friend Ron Goldman, both of whom were murdered and found dead in Los Angeles on June 12, 1994. Hall of Fame football star O.J. Simpson was charged with the murders of Nicole and Goldman, but a jury later found him not guilty in what some call the "Trial of the Century." (AP Photo/File)








 
This June 13, 1994, LAPD evidence file photo shows Los Angeles Police Department's Mark Fuhrman pointing to a pieces of evidence near the body of Nicole Brown Simpson on the bloodstained walkway of her condominium. The O.J. Simpson trial has become a textbook example of what not to do at a crime scene for police and forensic workers. (AP Photo/LAPD, File) 







 

In this June 17, 1994 file photo, a white Ford Bronco, driven by Al Cowlings carrying O.J. Simpson, is trailed by Los Angeles police cars as it travels on a Southern California freeway in Los Angeles. Cowlings and Simpson led authorities on a chase after Simpson was charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. (AP Photo/Joseph Villarin, File)

This June 17, 1994, file photo shows the first page of a four-page letter written by O.J. Simpson concerning charges against him . (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

This undated file image made from video provided by ABC television shows O.J. Simpson with his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and their children Sydney and Justin. (AP Photo/ABC, File) 















 

 In this Oct. 4, 1995 file photo, Michelle Sabol, of Los Angeles holds, a candle during a vigil outside O.J. Simpson's Rockingham estate in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles during a demonstration. At the time O.J. Simpson murder trail verdict was read, sixty-two percent of white Americans thought Simpson was guilty and 68 percent of blacks thought he was innocent, according to a CNN Time poll.  (AP Photo/Chris Martinez, File)

 In this June 16, 1994 file photo, O.J. Simpson, center, daughter Sydney and son Justin arrive at a private funeral for his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Eric Draper, File)



 


Photo combo shows some of the people in the televised courtroom saga of O.J. Simpson, which made household names of prosecutors, defense lawyers, family friends, even a houseguest. Pictured, top row from left are Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lance Ito; defense co-counsel Johnnie L. Cochran Jr.; defense DNA expert Barry Scheck; defense co-counsel F. Lee Bailey; and lead prosecutor Marcia Clark. Bottom row, from left: co-prosecutor Christopher Darden; Los Angeles Police detective Mark Fuhrman; Simpson house guest Brian "Kato" Kaelin; victim Ron Goldman's father Fred Goldman; and Denise Brown, sister of victim Nicole Brown Simpson. (AP Photo/File)
 In this Sept. 27, 1995 file photo, defense attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. puts on a pair of gloves, to remind the jury in the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial that the gloves Simpson tried on did not fit him. Cochran, Simpson’s lead attorney who coined the phrase, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” wrote a memoir revealing his rift with Robert Shapiro, the first member of Simpson's defense team, over control of the defense case. He died in 2005 from brain cancer at the age of 68. (AP Photo/Vince Bucci, Pool, File)






 
June 21, 1995 file photo, O.J. Simpson holds up his hands before the jury after putting on a new pair of gloves similar to the infamous bloody gloves during his double-murder trial in Los Angeles. Associated Press writer Linda Deutsch is seen in the background at right; writer Dominick Dunne is in the background at left rear. (AP Photo/Vince Bucci, Pool, File)









 

In this Sept. 28, 1995 file photo, O.J. Simpson is surrounded by his Dream Team defense attorneys from left, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., Peter Neufeld, Robert Shapiro, Robert Kardashian, and Robert Blasier, seated at left, at the close of defense arguments in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Sam Mircovich, Pool, File)
  In this Oct. 3, 1995 file photo, Robert Graham holds the latest edition of the Pasadena, Calif., Star-News announcing O.J. Simpson being found not guilty of two murders, outside the Criminal Courts Building in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Eric Draper, File


In this Feb. 5, 1997 file photo, Fred Goldman and his wife, Patti, sit quietly at the grave of their son Ronald Goldman in Valley Oaks Memorial Park in Westlake Village, Calif. Fred Goldman hasn't rested since a jury acquitted O.J. Simpson in the murder case 20 years ago. Simpson pulled a hotel-room stickup in Las Vegas in 2007 to recover his sports memorabilia before Goldman could get it, an act that landed him in prison for as long as 33 years. (AP Photo/Susan Sterner, File)
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The left photo shows Simpson on Oct. 3, 1995, after the jury acquitted him in the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles. The center photo shows Simpson in court on the first day his trial for armed robbery and kidnapping, on Sept 15, 2008, in Las Vegas. The right photo shows Simpson in Clark County District Court seeking a new robbery trial, claiming that trial lawyer Yale Galanter had conflicting interests, on May 13, 2013. (AP Photo/File)
O.J. Simpson
And in a 1973 photo, with the Buffalo Bills, the year he rushed for 2003 yards, and entered the record books as the  first NFL player to rush for over 2000 years in a single season



 

Trial of the Century:  10 Key Events to Remember.

THE KILLINGS:  Passers-by, led by the mournful howls of Nicole Brown Simpson's dog, find her body and that of Ron Goldman in front of her condominium in the wealthy Brentwood section of Los Angeles on the night of June 12, 1994. The coroner determines they were attacked by surprise and stabbed multiple times.

THE BRONCO CHASE:  Instead of surrendering as promised five days later, O.J. Simpson flees in a white Ford Bronco driven by his former football teammate Al Cowlings. As authorities pursue the car over 60 miles of Southern California freeways, officers plead by phone with Simpson to surrender as he at times holds a gun to his head. The chase, broadcast live on TV, ends when Cowlings drives him home.

THE SUICIDE NOTE (OR WAS IT?) : During the pursuit, Simpson's lawyer reads reporters a long, rambling letter many conclude is a suicide note. Although he never explicitly says he plans to kill himself, Simpson does say goodbye to his first wife and numerous friends. He declares he didn't kill his ex-wife or Goldman and says: "Don't feel sorry for me. I've had a great life."

THE DREAM TEAM : As his case heads to trial, Simpson assembles a high-paid team of the nation's best defense lawyers. It's led by flamboyant attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr., who coins the term: "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." It's a reference Cochran makes in his closing argument, telling jurors the bloody gloves found at the murder scene and at Simpson's home were too small for him.

DID THE GLOVES FIT? :  It certainly didn't look like it when Simpson tried them on. Some legal experts say the prosecution lost the case that day. "Don't do a courtroom demonstration in front of the jury unless you know how it will turn out," says former federal prosecutor Laurie Levinson.

THE RACE CARD:  Defense attorneys denounced police Officer Mark Fuhrman, who found the bloody glove at Simpson's house, as a white racist out to frame the black sports hero. After Fuhrman testified in court he hadn't used racial epithets to describe black people in years, lawyers produced a recording of him repeatedly using the N-word. Time Magazine got caught up in the fray when one of its artists doctored a cover photo of Simpson to make him look darker.

THE NATION REACTS:  After nearly a year of racial animosity fomented by the trial, the country is divided into two camps: Sixty-two percent of white Americans think Simpson is guilty and 68 percent of blacks think he's innocent, according to a CNN Time poll taken at the time the verdict was issued.

THE SECOND TRIAL: After Simpson's acquittal, the victims' families sue him. A second jury, applying a lesser standard of guilt than required in a criminal trial, finds him liable for the killings and orders him to pay a $33.5 million judgment. Goldman's sister and father spend much of the next decade taking him to court in an effort to collect.

FREE BUT NOT FREE:  On Sept. 13, 2007, the day the Goldman family wins the rights to Simpson's book, "If I Did It," he bursts into a Las Vegas hotel room with a handful of acquaintances and seizes numerous pieces of his sports memorabilia two men are trying to sell. He is convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges and sentenced to nine to 33 years in a Nevada prison. He will be eligible for parole in three years.

IMPACT ON POP CULTURE:  All but unfathomable. It helped establish the fledgling Court TV cable channel, now called TruTV. It launched the TV careers of several attorneys hired by the television networks to provide expert commentary, a phenomenon that led Woody Allen to remark in the film "Deconstructing Harry" that a special place in hell has been reserved for people who take such jobs. The trial's judge, Lance Ito, was lampooned repeatedly on "The Tonight Show" by a group called "The Dancing Itos" and on television's "Seinfeld," actor Phil Morris became famous playing Jackie Chiles, a loud, bombastic attorney modeled on Cochran.


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