The jury began deliberating on October 2, 1995, and it took them less than four hours to reach a verdict. On October 3, 1995, the jury found O.J. not guilty of the murders of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. The unthinkable had happened, and he was acquitted.
The victims’ families were in disbelief. The public’s opinion continued to center around racial lines hours after the verdict. Many African-Americans saw the verdict as a victory against a racist legal system. For other Americans, it seemed the courts had allowed a violent criminal to walk free.
Miscalculations by the Defense
The “Dream Team” put up an incredible defense, but not without some lapses in judgment. Part of the strategy was to convince jurors O.J. was physically incapable of committing a crime due to arthritis.
The prosecution produced a video shortly after which showed O.J. doing some pretty intense workouts. The video proved doubly embarrassing as he exercised while punching his arms, suggesting he might try the workout “with the wife.”
A Field Trip
The O.J. trial eventually traveled outside the courtroom quite literally. The jury, attorneys for both sides, the judge, the defendant, and reporters went on a field trip to the Bundy crime scene. Why the field trip? It was meant to provide the jury with a better understanding of the location of the bodies, evidence found, and people’s movements that night.
The group also went to O.J.’s home – a visit that defense attorneys allegedly leveraged to shine a good light on their client.
Civil Proceedings Against O.J. Begin
O.J. had emerged relatively unscathed from the criminal case. Although he was found not guilty of murder charges, the victim’s families sued him for wrongful death. Civil trial proceedings began in October 1996, and just four months after, a jury found him guilty of the deaths of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman.
The court ordered O.J. to pay the victim’s families $33.5 million in damages. While not the kind of justice they had envisioned, the verdict gave the Browns and Goldmans a semblance of closure.
The Kids Are Not Alright
Arnelle Simpson was born in December 1968 to O.J. Simpson and his first wife, Marguerite L. Whitley. The couple had two other children (Jason and Aaren) but lost their second daughter to a tragic drowning incident when she was just a baby.
Arnelle and her brother were very young when their father went on trial. She became one of the most recognizable Simpson siblings – partly due to being O.J.’s oldest daughter and her unwavering support for him throughout the trial.