By Tim Darnell, Atlanta Journal-Constitution #local-all
It was called, at the time, the trial of the century. Today, it still captures the attention of books, TV documentaries, social media and endless speculation: the Los Angeles killing of a woman and her male companion. One of professional sports’ most recognizable athletes was accused of their brutal murders.
On Oct. 3, 1995, O.J. Simpson was acquitted of double murder charges in the death of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman. Brown and Goldman were stabbed to death on June 12, 1994, outside her condo in Los Angeles’ Brentwood area. Simpson was named a person of interest and led police on a low-speed pursuit June 17 after he failed to meet with police.
Simpson’s pursuit through the streets of Los Angeles — he was riding in a 1993 white Ford Bronco, driven by his friend Al Cowlings — was carried live by TV stations and networks around the nation. An estimated 95 million saw an event once described as “the most famous ride on American shores since Paul Revere’s.”
Globally covered, Simpson’s trial ended after 11 months on Oct. 3, 1995, when the jury rendered a verdict of “not guilty” for the two murders. An estimated 100 million people nationwide watched or listened to the verdict.
To date, no one has been arrested or charged in criminal connection to the murders. Goldman’s family won a 1997 wrongful death civil suit against Simpson, in which he was ordered to pay more than $33 million in damages.
Simpson continued to have legal and financial problems after his acquittal, and on Sept. 13, 2007, he and a group of men entered a room at the Palace Station hotel-casino and took sports memorabilia at gunpoint. Simpson later admitted to taking the items, which he said had been stolen from him, but he denied breaking into the hotel room or carrying a gun.
Two days later, Simpson was arrested and charged with multiple felonies, including criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, assault and robbery. On Oct. 3, 2008, Simpson and another co-defendant were found guilty of all charges. Two months later, he was sentenced to 33 years in prison with the possibility of parole after nine years.
Simpson was released on Oct. 1, 2017.