Orenthal James Simpson was a football player in 1970s. Playing for Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers he won the Heisman Trophy in 1968 and became one of the greatest running backs in NFL history. He still holds the record for the most single-season rushing yards per game. After retiring from football in 1979 Simpson started acting career and remained a public figure. Besides, he was a sports commentator on NBC.
In 1985 Simpson married his second wife, Nicole Brown. The pair had two children. In 1989 their marriage hit a rock, when Simpson was condemned to community service and probation after he was accused of spousal abuse. Three years after his wife filed for divorce.
On June 13, 1994 Nicole Simpson and her friend were found stabbed to death. Nicole had multiple wounds in the head and neck. The bodies were found outside of her home in Los Angeles. She was 35 years old, he was 25.
After interrogation Simpson was ordered to turn himself in to the police on June 17. The police got an all-points bulletin after he had failed to surrender himself. The same day Simpson’s lawyer, Robert Kardashian, read for the media his suicide note. In that note Simpson asked “to think of the real O.J. and not that lost person”. In the evening the former football player was arrested. The police found a fake moustache, makeup adhesive and a gun in his car.
On October 3, 1995, about 150 million people witnessed the televised verdict of the O. J. Simpson trial. For more than a year, the former football player’s case stunned the nation and prevailed in the public imagination. After an eight-month trial jury found the celebrity not guilty.
The prosecutors had incontestable DNA evidence against Simpson, such as victims’ blood traces in his vehicle and Nicole’s blood on his socks. However, the defence had technical mistakes made by the forensics team and claimed that the crime scene was contaminated casting doubt on the DNA evidence. Furthermore they used a video with Mark Fuhrman, a policeman who helped to collect the physical evidence. On that video Fuhrman made multiple racist remarks. The policeman was later accused of perjury.
At the crime scene a dark glove was found. Later the second one was recovered at Simpson’s apartment. The prosecution found DNA from the victims and from Simpson on both gloves. However, the lawyers asked him to try on those gloves which appeared to be too small for his hands. “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” pronounced the lawyer Johnnie Cochran. This phrase became legendary. Prosecutors asserted that the gloves had been soaked in blood and later frozen and unfrozen a few times to be preserved.
The “Trial of the Century” ended with acquittal of Simpson. In 2008 the jury found him guilty of 10 charges, including armed robbery and kidnapping. That case had nothing to do with the murder of his ex-wife and her friend. The former NFL star was condemned to 33 years in prison.
- Cotterill, Janet. Language and Power in Court: A Linguistic Analysis of the O. J. Simpson Trial. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave, 2002.
- Dear, William C. O.J. Is Guilty But Not of Murder. Dear Overseas Production, 2000.
- Dershowitz, Alan M. Reasonable Doubts: The Criminal Justice System and the O.J. Simpson Case. New York: Touchstone Books, 1997.
- Felman, Shoshana. The Juridical Unconscious: Trials and Traumas in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2002.
- Goldberg, Hank M. The Prosecution Responds: An O. J. Simpson Trial Prosecutor Reveals What Really Happened. Secaucus, New Jersey: Carol Publishing Group, 1996.
- Linedecker, Clifford L. O. J. A to Z: The Complete Handbook to the Trial of the Century. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995.
- Toobin, Jeffrey. The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson. Touchstone Books, 1997.