The arrest and trial of O.J. Simpson, one of the most famous players of the US National Football League, for the murder of his wife Nicole Brown and her companion Ronald Goldman, made world headlines in 1994. After a highly controversial televised trial he was found not guilty of the double murder.
It was a trial that polarised America – largely on racial grounds – with many believing that Simpson was only acquitted because the jury was primarily made up of black Americans.
In a further twist to the story, some 16 months later he was declared responsible for both deaths in a civil lawsuit brought against him by the families of Brown and Goldman.
Then in 2007 he was again charged with a serious crime that arose from an armed confrontation, in which a group of men, including Simpson, robbed a sports memorabilia dealer at gunpoint. This strange event again generated massive publicity with Simpson admitting he was in the room but maintaining that the items he took had previously been stolen from him and that he was merely retrieving what was his.
However the seriousness of the situation was considerably escalated when it was revealed that one of Simpson’s companions had drawn a gun – a .45 calibre Ruger – with Simpson demanding at that stage “don’t let nobody out of this room – motherf…er, you think you can steal my shit and sell it?”
Simpson was eventually charged with 12 offences – including burglary and kidnapping with the use of a deadly weapon, and his court case commenced on 8 September 2008. On 3 October, after a turbulent trial, he was found guilty on all counts. By great coincidence this was 13 years to the day that he had been acquitted of the murder of Brown and Goldman.
Simpson was sentenced to a minimum of 9 years in prison, a period that he served before being released on 1 October 2017.
Image: O.J. Simpson – a photograph taken in 1990, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.