How time flies when the world's gone mad.
Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were killed outside the front door of her Los Angeles condo while her children slept upstairs in June of 1994, a sickening crime that led to one of the defining cultural happenings of the late 20th century: People of the State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson.
The O.J. Simpson murder trial, that is.
Within days after the double murder of O.J.'s ex-wife and her friend Goldman, who was a waiter at the restaurant where Nicole had dined with her family earlier that night and had dropped by to bring her the glasses her mother had left behind, a whole new vernacular rocketed into the national consciousness: Brentwood. Rockingham. Bundy. Low-speed chase. Bruno Magli. DNA. Kardashian.
Simpson pleaded "absolutely, 100 percent not guilty" on July 22, 1994. The jury was sworn in on Nov. 9, 1994, and opening statements wouldn't commence until January of 1995. By the time the verdict was read on Oct. 3, 1995, the Simpson trial had cost the city of Los Angeles upward of $10 million and was every bit the circus that you may or may not remember.
The basic facts are well-known. Prosecutors thought they had a slam-dunk case thanks to DNA evidence from blood collected at the scene of the crime and at Simpson's home two miles away.
"That trail of blood from Bundy through his own Ford Bronco and into his house in Rockingham is devastating proof of his guilt," Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark said in her opening statement.
Complicating the People's supposedly open-and-shut case, the detective who first spotted a blood-spattered glove outside Simpson's estate at 360 Rockingham Avenue that looked like one found near the bodies, Mark Fuhrman, had a history of using racist language and had boasted about beating up suspects.
Much to Clark and co-prosecutor Christopher Darden's disbelief, Simpson's defense team, led by Johnnie Cochran, dismantled the jurors' trust in the seemingly irrefutable DNA, and in the police who investigated Simpson—a trust already on shaky ground in the wake of the acquittal in 1992 of four white police officers charged with excessive force after they were caught on video beating Rodney King, a Black man, on the side of an L.A. freeway.
And so, in the end, Simpson was found not guilty of murder. But a lot of screwy stuff happened before the world got to that point, 25 years ago today. Here's a sampling:
After he was acquitted, Simpson said finding the real killer would be his "primary goal in life."
In what many of Simpson's supporters—and plenty of his detractors, too—figure was a message-sending move, a Nevada judge threw the book at O.J. in 2008 when he was convicted of armed robbery, kidnapping, assault and other charges over a plot to get items he insisted were his back from a memorabilia dealer at a Las Vegas hotel.
Simpson was sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison; he was paroled after nine in 2017 and remains in Nevada, golfing and tweeting to his 920,000-plus followers, having joined the site in June 2019.
F. Lee Bailey, now 87, told HuffPost's Highline last year he was "frequently" in touch with Simpson. "I'm out in Las Vegas a lot," he said. "He lives a very quiet life there."
(Originally published June 10, 2019, at 3 a.m. PT)