This is the latest development in a bizarre case that began over 15 years ago. Some time after 10:00 pm on Sunday, June 12th, 1994 a double homicide occurred in the Brentwood community of Los Angeles. The victims were 35 year-old Nicole Brown Simpson and 25 year-old Ronald Lyle Goldman. O.J. Simpson is notified of the murders while on a business trip in Chicago. He returns to Los Angeles, is temporarily handcuffed, and taken in for questioning. Robert Shapiro is contacted on Simpson's behalf and asked to become defense counsel. Five days later, about to be arrested for murder, Simpson slips out of a friend's home. Who can forget the events as they then unfolded on national television, like some bad episode of "The Streets of San Francisco".
Simpson is chased by police while riding in his white Ford Bronco, driven by friend A.C. Cowlings. The low-speed chase seems to go on forever, with police helicopters and an army of media people in pursuit. The world watches from the comfort of their living rooms as the commentators explain what is happening. When he finally returns to his home, Simpson is taken into custody. Most of us were already leaning toward O.J. for the double murder. Seemed pretty clear cut...fading athlete, beautiful wife, handsome boyfriend...an age old story of jealousy, rage and death. Not so fast grasshopper, this is America. The accused are innocent until proven guilty. Let the madness begin.
The preliminary hearing ends with Judge Kathleen Kennedy-Powell ruling there is sufficient evidence for O.J. Simpson to stand trial on two counts of first-degree murder. O.J. pleads "absolutely 100 percent not guilty" to the charges. Judge Lance Ito is assigned to hear the case. Jury panel is selected: eight black, one white, one Hispanic, two mixed race; eight women, four men. January 25, 1995 - Trial opens. Prosecutors Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden deliver opening statements. Johnnie Cochran makes opening statement for the defense. We'll be seeing a lot more of Mr. Cochran as he uses every trick in his bag to take apart the prosecution's case against Simpson. Their ineptitude made Cochran's job a lot easier.
L.A.P.D. criminalist Dennis Fung concedes, under cross-examination by defense attorney Barry Scheck, that procedural errors were made in the prosecution's case. Who can forget that scene in the courtroom when Simpson tries on the bloody gloves. They seem not to fit. Detective Mark Fuhrman appears on stand. He refuses to answer questions, citing his Fifth Amendment privilege against self incrimination. Clark and Darden deliver prosecution's closing arguments. Cochran and Scheck deliver defense's closing arguments. Cochran makes controversial statements to the jury comparing Fuhrman to Hitler. The case goes to the jury. After less than four hours, jury announces that it has reached a verdict. Jury finds O.J. Simpson not guilty of two counts of murder.
Simpson's acquittal was one of the darkest days in the history of American justice. An open and shut case was blown sky high by overzealous prosecutors, an incompetent judge and a criminally moronic police department. Simpson was a pariah after the trial, but that didn't stop him from smirking at every opportunity like a man who had got away with murder. He even wrote a "what if I did it" book to further rub our noses in it. His recent conviction on robbery and kidnapping charges finally put his smart ass in jail. This past December there was a story that O.J. had been beaten in prison by white inmates motivated by racial hatred. Call it jailhouse justice if you like, but this monster took two innocent lives and got off scot free. The low-life bum deserves everything he gets.
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