It’s been 20 years since the Los Angeles Police Department chased O.J. Simpson in his Ford Bronco before surrendering for the murders of Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson. What led up to the chase and murder trial would sweep through the media for years to come.
On June 12, 1994, Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson were found murdered outside her condo in Brentwood, Los Angeles. Evidence at the crime scene led police to suspect that Nicole Brown’s ex-husband, O.J. Simpson was responsible for the crime.
Police attempted to give Simpson an opportunity to turn himself in before a certain time on June 17, 1994. Reporters were anxiously awaiting his arrival, but he failed to show up. An all-points bulletin was issued by the LAPD as a result. Robert Kardashian, Simpson’s defense attorney, read what appeared to be a suicide note from Simpson detailing he had nothing to do with his ex-wife’s murder at 5 p.m. An hour later, the car chase began.
After being spotted in his Ford Bronco, police officers tracked calls from his cellphone. Al Cowlings, one of Simpson’s football friends, was forced to drive the car with a gun aimed at him by Simpson. About 20 cars participated in the nationally televised slow-speed chase. Several broadcasters took to the airwaves to convince Simpson to turn himself in. He finally did at 8 p.m. at his mansion after he had a chance to speak to his mother.
On June 20, 1994, Simpson plead not guilty to both murders. He went before the grand jury, but they were dismissed due to excessive media coverage. After the probable cause hearing, the judge ruled there was enough evidence for Simpson to go to trial for both murders. Simpson stated he was “absolutely, one hundred percent, not guilty” at his arraignment on July 29.
The trial was televised on Court TV from Santa Monica for 134 days and was led by Tom Lange, a veteran LAPD detective. Among Simpson’s legal team were Carl E. Douglas and Robert Kardashian. Dubbed the “Dream Team,” they argued that detective Mark Fuhrman planted evidence at the crime against Simpson.
Based solely on DNA evidence, the prosecution felt they had a very strong case. However, Simpson first claimed he was asleep during the murders, despite witnesses apparently seeing his Ford Bronco in the street that night. Later, the defense made it seem that Simpson would not be able to commit the murders because of how fit Goldman was; he would put up a struggle.
Bloody shoe prints at the condo were found to place Simpson at the crime scene; however, after being tested at separate laboratories, there were two sets of different results.
Detective Fuhrman’s testimony was also thrown out due to lack of credibility, and that he plead the Fifth Amendment when asked about discovering the leather glove in Simpson’s home and the blood marks. The leather glove had remnants of Goldman’s blood and a hair that belonged to Brown.
On October 3, 1995, the jury reached a verdict of not guilty for either murder. Jurors interviewed stated that while they might have believed Simpson was guilty, the prosecution failed to prove their case. There was a lot of media controversy as a result with people, particularly women sympathizing with the domestic violence aspect of the case.
Two years later, Simpson was found liable for the wrongful death of Goldman after the victim’s family took him to civil court. He had to pay damages to Goldman’s family and Nicole Brown’s, as he was found liable for her death as well.
Simpson is currently serving time at Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nevada for robbery and kidnapping charges.