O.J. Simpson Murder Case Review

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Orenthal James (OJ) Simpson, also known as the juice was a former american football running back, actor broadcaster and now a convicted felon. The juice has won numerous awards and has many achievements such as: First NFL player to rush more than 2000 yards in one season, winning the fleishman trophy and being put in the hall of fame for college and professional.

Born and raised in San Francisco, California, Simpson is a son of Eunice (née Durden), a hospital administrator, and Jimmy Lee Simpson, a chef and bank custodian. His father was a well-known drag queen in the San Francisco Bay Area. Later in life, Jimmy Simpson announced that he was gay and died of AIDS in 1986. Simpson's maternal grandparents were from Louisiana, and his aunt gave him the name Orenthal, which she said was the name of a French actor she liked. Simpson has one brother, Melvin Leon 'Truman' Simpson, one living sister, Shirley Simpson-Baker, and one deceased sister, Carmelita Simpson-Durio. As a child, Simpson developed rickets and wore braces on his legs until the age of five, giving him his bow legged stance. His parents separated in 1952, and Simpson was raised by his mother. Simpson grew up in San Francisco and lived with his family in the housing projects of the Potrero Hill neighborhood. In his early teenage years, he joined a street gang called the Persian Warriors and was briefly incarcerated at the San Francisco Youth Guidance Center. Future wife Marquerite, his childhood sweetheart, described Simpson as 'really an awful person then'; after his third arrest, a meeting with Willie Mays during which the baseball star encouraged Simpson to avoid trouble helped persuade him to reform. At Galileo High School (currently Galileo Academy of Science and Technology in San Francisco, Simpson played for the school football team, the Galileo Lions.

At 12:10 am on June 13, 1994, Simpson’s ex-partner Nicole Brown and her boyfriend Ron Goldman were found murdered outside Brown’s property in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California. Nicole's dog had bloodstained paws and led the neighbors to the bodies. Brown was face down and barefoot at the bottom of the stairs leading to her front door. She had been stabbed multiple times in the head and neck, and had a few defensive wounds on her hands. The final cut was deep into her neck, probably as the assailant held her head up by the hair. Her larynx could be seen through the gaping wound in her neck, and a vertebrae was incised; her head remained barely attached to her body. Goldman laid nearby by a tree and fence. He had been stabbed multiple times in the body and neck. He had more defensive wounds, and a cut on his shoe may indicate he kicked the assailant. Both victims had been dead for about two hours prior to the arrival of police. Underneath Brown was a restaurant menu she may have been holding. On her banister was a melting cup of ice cream. Near Goldman was his beeper and car keys, as well as a knit cap and glove from the assailant. Robert Riske, one of the first two officers on the scene, claimed to see a single bloody glove, among other evidence. Also near Goldman was an envelope with glasses he was returning. Bloody footprints from the assailant were shown leaving the scene. Measuring the distance between the steps showed the assailant walked away rather than ran. He may have also returned to the scene after initially walking away. To the left of some footprints were drops of blood from the assailant apparently bleeding from his left side.

The Prosecution Case

The prosecution believed it had a strong case despite the lack of known witnesses to the crime and the failure to recover the murder weapon. The case was supported by DNA evidence, and a conviction was expected. From the physical evidence that was collected, the prosecution claimed that Simpson drove to Brown's house on the evening of June 12 with the intention of killing her. They maintained that Brown had put their two children to bed and was getting ready to go to bed herself when she opened the front door of her house after either responding to a knock on the front door or hearing a noise outside. Simpson allegedly grabbed her before she could scream and attacked her with a knife. Forensic evidence alleged that Goldman arrived at the front gate to the townhouse sometime during the assault, and the assailant apparently attacked him and stabbed him repeatedly in the neck and chest with one hand while restraining him with an arm chokehold. Brown was found lying face down when authorities arrived at the crime scene. According to the prosecution's account, after Simpson had finished with Goldman, he pulled Brown's head back using her hair, put his foot on her back, and slit her throat with the knife, severing her carotid artery. They argued further that Simpson left a 'trail of blood' from the condo to the alley behind it; there was also testimony that three drops of Simpson's blood were found on the driveway near the gate to his house.

Simpson's initial claim that he was asleep at the time of the murders was refuted by several different accounts. Simpson claims he had never left his house that night, and he was alone as he packed his belongings to travel to Chicago. A potential alibi witness was produced, Rosa Lopez, a neighbor's Spanish-speaking housekeeper, who testified that she had seen Simpson's car parked outside his house at the time of the murders. However, Lopez's account, which was not presented to the jury, was pulled apart under intense cross-examination by Clark, when she was forced to admit that she could not be sure of the precise time she saw Simpson's Bronco outside his house.

The prosecution called Brown's sister, to the witness stand. She tearfully testified to many episodes of domestic violence in the 1980s, when she saw Simpson pick up his wife and hurl her against a wall, then physically throw her out of their house during an argument. The prosecution then called the manager of the Mezzaluna restaurant where Brown dined on the night she was murdered. Crawford recounted that Brown's mother phoned the restaurant at 9:37 p.m. about a pair of lost eyeglasses. Crawford found them and put them in a white envelope. Goldman left the restaurant at 9:50 p.m. after his shift, taking the glasses to drop them off at Brown's house.

Detective Ron Phillips testified that when he called Simpson in Chicago to tell him of his ex-wife's murder, he sounded shocked and upset, but did not ask about how she died. The prosecution offered circumstantial evidence to show Simpson's guilt. DNA analysis of blood discovered on a pair of Simpson's socks found in his bedroom identified it as Brown's. The blood had DNA characteristics matched by approximately one in 9.7 billion. The blood made a similar pattern on both sides of the socks. Defense medical expert Dr Henry Lee testified that the only way such a pattern could appear were if Simpson had a 'hole' in his ankle, or a drop of blood were placed on the sock while it was not being worn. Lee also testified that the collection procedure of the socks could have caused contamination.

Samples from bloody shoe prints leading away from the bodies and from the back gate of the condo were tested for DNA. Initial testing did not rule out Simpson as a suspect. In more precise tests, matches were found between Simpson's blood and blood samples taken from the crime scene. In March 1995, Fuhrman testified that he drove to Simpson's house on the night of the murders in order to question him. He buzzed the intercom at the outside wall of the property but received no response. The house appeared empty, and he scaled one of the outer walls to enter the property. He found blood marks on the driveway of the house, as well as a black leather glove on the premises. It was later found to have both victims' blood on it, as well as Simpson's.

One dark leather glove was found at the crime scene, with its match found behind Simpson's estate. Brown had bought Simpson two pairs of this type of glove in 1990. Both gloves, according to the prosecution, contained DNA evidence from Simpson, Brown and Goldman. On June 15, 1995, Simpson was asked to put on the leather glove that was found at the scene of the crime. The leather glove seemed too tight for Simpson to put on easily. “If it doesn't fit, you must acquit”.

Later, it was revealed that Simpson “has arthritis and we looked at the medication he takes and some of it is anti-inflammatory and we are told he has not taken the stuff for a day and it caused swelling in the joints and inflammation in his hands”. However, this theory was debunked as the Los Angeles County Jail doctor confirmed Simpson was taking his medication every day and that the jail's medical records verified this. The prosecution also stated their belief that the glove shrank from having been soaked in blood and later testing. They presented a photo during the trial of Simpson earlier wearing the same type of glove that was found at the crime scene. In May 2008 one of Simpson's former sports agents, released his book ‘How I Helped O.J. Get Away with Murder’, in which he claimed that the gloves did not fit because, on his advice, Simpson had stopped taking his arthritis medicine, which made his hands swell.

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Defense Case

Simpson hired a team of high-profile defense lawyers, which was said to have cost between US$3 million and $6 million; known as the dream team. Simpson's defense sought to show that one or more hit men hired by drug dealers had murdered Brown and Goldman because they were looking for Brown's friend, Faye Resnick, a known cocaine user who had failed to pay for her drugs. The defense team's reasonable doubt theory was summarized as 'compromised, contaminated, corrupted' in opening statements. They argued that the DNA evidence against Simpson was 'compromised' by the mishandling during the collection phase of evidence gathering, and that 100% of the 'real killer(s)' DNA was lost from the evidence samples. The evidence was then 'contaminated' in the LAPD crime lab and Simpson's DNA from his reference vial was transferred to all but three exhibits. The remaining three exhibits were planted by the police and thus 'corrupted' by police fraud.

The murders and trial received extensive media coverage from the very beginning. The case was a key event in the history of reality television. The Los Angeles Times covered the case on its front page for more than 300 days after the murders. The media outlets served an enthusiastic audience; one company put the loss of national productivity from employees following the case instead of working at $40 billion. According to Howard Kutz of the Washington Post, the acquittal was “the most dramatic courtroom verdict in the history of Western Civilization”.

The issue of whether or not to allow any video cameras into the courtroom was among the first issues Judge Ito had to decide, ultimately ruling that live camera coverage was warranted. He would be later criticized for this decision by other legal professionals. Dershowitz said that he believed that Ito, along with others related to the case such as Clark, Fuhrman, and Kaelin, was influenced to some degree by the media presence and related publicity. The trial was covered in 2,237 news segments from 1994 through 1997. Ito was also criticized for allowing the trial to become a media circus and not doing enough to regulate the court proceedings as well as he could have.

At 10:07 a.m. on October 3, 1995, Simpson was acquitted on both counts of murder. Before the verdict, President Bill Clinton was briefed on security measures if rioting occurred nationwide due to the verdict. An estimated 100 million people worldwide watched or listened to the verdict announcement. In post-trial interviews, a few of the jurors said that they believed Simpson probably did commit the murders, but that the prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Three jurors together wrote and published a book called ‘Madam Foreman’, in which they described how their perception of police errors, not race, led to their verdict. Critics of the jury's not-guilty verdict contended that the deliberation time was unduly short in comparison to the length of the trial. Some said that the jurors, most of whom did not have any college education, did not understand the forensic evidence.

Discussion of the racial elements of the case continued long after the trial's end. Some polls and commentators have concluded that many blacks, while having their doubts as to Simpson's innocence, were more inclined to be suspicious of the credibility and fairness of the police and the courts, and thus more likely to question the evidence. The LAPD had a history of abusing African-Americans in the city, which was emphasized in the Rodney King case. An poll taken in 2004 reported that, although 77% of people sampled thought Simpson was guilty, only 27% of blacks in the sample believed so, compared to 87% of whites. The Simpson case continues to be assessed through the lens of race. In 2016, it was reported that most black people now think Simpson was guilty.

In the February 1998 issue of Esquire, Simpson was quoted as saying, “Let's say I committed this crime ... Even if I did this, it would have to have been because I loved her very much, right?”.

In April 1998, Simpson did an interview with talk show host Ruby Wax. In an apparent joke, Simpson shows up at her hotel room claiming to have a surprise for her, and suddenly waved a banana about his head, as if it were a knife, and pretended to stab Wax with it. The footage soon made its way onto the US TV networks, causing outrage.

In 1996, Fred Goldman and Sharon Rufo, the parents of Ron Goldman, filed a suit against Simpson for wrongful death, while Brown's estate, represented by her father Lou Brown, brought suit against Simpson in a 'survivor suit'. The jury in the trial awarded Brown and Simpson's children, Sydney and Justin (Brown's only children), $12.6 million from their father as recipients of their mother's estate.

In November 2006, ReganBooks announced a book ghostwritten by Pablo Fenjves based on interviews with Simpson titled If I Did It, an account which the publisher said was a hypothetical confession.

As a result of a 2007 incident in Las Vegas, Nevada, regarding an attempt to steal materials Simpson claimed were stolen from him, Simpson was convicted in 2008 of multiple felonies including use of a deadly weapon to commit kidnapping, burglary and armed robbery, and sentenced to a minimum nine years to a maximum 33 years in prison. Simpson was released from prison with Sunday, October 1, 2017.

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O.J. Simpson Murder Case Review. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 25, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/o-j-simpson-murder-case-review/
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