Tonight on NBC they will air a two-hour primetime special upon the 20th anniversary of the O.J. Simpson case called, “The People Vs. O.J. Simpson: What the Jury Never Heard.” Dateline will explore the famous O.J. Simpson case in which he was charged for the murder of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman; the special will go more in depth and we’ll find out more details that the jury never heard.
For those of you who don’t know about the case, on June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown and her friend Ronald Goldman were found dead outside Brown’s condominium. Simpson was charged with their murders. On June 17, after failing to turn himself in, O.J. became the object of a low-speed pursuit in a white Ford Bronco SUV that interrupted coverage of the 1994 NBA Finals.
On tonight’s episode get ready for a special of a lifetime; Kris Jenner who was good friends with Nicole Brown speaks out about how Nicole dropped a bombshell on her before she died, Carl Douglas who was O.J.’s defence attorney admits to redecorating O.J.’s house before the jury arrived and much, much more.
Tonight’s special is going to be very exciting, this is an interview that you don’t want to miss so be sure to stay tuned for our coverage of NBC’s The People Vs. O.J. Simpson: What the Jury Never Heard. While you’re waiting for the recap, let us know about your opinion of the case; is O.J. guilty or not?
It’s the 20th anniversary of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Lester Holt will reveal evidence we haven’t heard and seen. He says Nicole may have predicted her death and OJ may have dumped stuff at the airport. We will hear from OJ in deposition videos, opinion from jurors and unseen information.
June 12, 1994 in Brentwood saw two horrific murders that launched the OJ case. Both victims had their throats slashed then OJ went on the infamous low speed chase. He was found not guilty in the criminal case, but the story never went away. We see the polarizing debate over the trial from back in the day and that people still can’t agree on.
This was TV’s first reality show and America consumed it then it divided us. There are still lingering questions about why OJ was acquitted despite a pile of evidence. Tonight we’ll see inside information. It was a cool evening the night of the murders. It was around midnight when two people walking a dog saw a body in a river of blood. Police were called and found a second victim.
Tom Lang worked the case and says it was a rage killing. He says Nicole was nearly decapitated. She was 30 at the time of her death and OJ’s ex. There was a bloody leather glove, a blue knit cap and an envelope with glasses in it. The second victim was Ronald Goldman who the cops say put up a huge fight. The couple’s young children were woken and taken to a police station.
Lang and other cops went to OJ’s estate to look for him. They were worried that they might also find OJ dead. Mark Fuhrman was in this group. Fuhrman jumped the wall to let the other cops in because they were worried. They found OJ’s other daughter Arnell who said her dad was out of town. They also found Kato Kaelin.
Kato says that OJ came to see him that evening to get change for a hundred dollar bill and to grab food. They went to McDonalds to grab food at about nine pm. Kato says he invited himself along and they got back around 9:40 pm and he didn’t see OJ again until much later. At 10:45 he heard a banging noise he went to investigate and saw Alan Park, his limo driver waiting to take OJ to the airport.
OJ was in Chicago when he was told that she was dead and he told Lang that he would be on the next plane back. Then Lang called Nicole’s family. Her sister Denise said she rushed in when she heard her mother scream and she told her that Nicole had been killed. Denise says she immediately thought OJ did it. Lang was stunned when she told him.
Lang says this was his first inkling that he could have been involved. Nicole’s family called her best friend Kris Jenner who was in shock. Kris says she almost passed out. They were friends since 1978 and met through her Robert Kardashian. She says OJ was very charming and fun – the type of person who enjoyed life. The two couples were very close.
Kris says after Nicole’s death, nothing would ever be the same for anyone involved. Back in LA, a trail of evidence would lead right to OJ’s front door. This was the first trial where DNA played a big role that quickly became controversial and led to a media frenzy. In 1994, LA was about to learn about the Kardashians for the first time and DNA evidence.
OJ’s Hertz commercials were classics and he was seen as a trusted and liked person known for NFL broadcasts and Naked Gun movies. Bob Costas says OJ always knew everyone’s name, even the flunkies, and was outwardly very likeable. This was about to change
There were bloody footprints leading away from the crime scene and a bloody glove. Mark Fuhrman found a moist bloody glove behind Kato’s guest house that looks like a match for the one at the crime scene. There were blood drops from his Bronco into the driveway. Lang says it was sensitive because it was a celebrity case and they had to be careful.
The news media knew about the story by the next day. Kris Jenner says that she was worried about where the kids were and where OJ was. OJ returned 13 hours after the murders came to light. Kris says she was stunned that he was a suspect. She says she never thought of him as a killer. She says he had a great personality and was bigger than life. Kris’ ex husband Robert Kardashian was going to serve as his attorney and was seen carrying a garment bag away from OJ’s estate.
Kris says there is no way that Robert would have taken any evidence away from the crime scene no matter how much he liked OJ. She says he had integrity and Christian values and believed in the truth. OJ was wanted for questioning. He came into police headquarters and then his attorneys met with him then left for lunch while he talked to Phil Van Adder and Lang.
Lang was shocked that he was so brazen. They sat in a small room for an interview that could make or break the case. This was the first and last time he would tell his story to police.
At the police HQ, OJ was chatting with detectives. He didn’t have to be there and wasn’t under arrest plus his attorneys weren’t there. We see the videotape of the discussion. He was calm for someone with a murdered ex-wife, never asked how she did or who they thought killed her. They noticed a cut on his left middle finger and this led to increasingly vague answers.
He says he thought he cut it in Chicago and broke a glass when they called him about the death. There was a blood trail from the Bronco to the house and OJ says he was bleeding but it was no big deal because he’s always nicking himself playing sports. OJ then said he knows he’s the target and says any blood on his driveway is his. He’s taken to a lab next for fingerprints, blood draw and photos of the cut finger.
Lang says there was blood everywhere and they hoped it would be the evidence they needed. OJ walked out upset with press everywhere. He was allowed to leave for now. Was this because he was famous or they didn’t have the evidence they needed? They found bloody socks in his room and more blood suggesting the killer was cut and bled as he left.
Fred Goldman was following the news but didn’t know yet that it was his son. But then they got a call from the coroner’s office who told them that Nicole Brown was killed and their son was the other victim. He says he and his wife cried their eyes out. He said he next told his daughter Kim that her brother had been killed. Kim says she doesn’t remember too much after that other than screaming and being upset.
Ron Goldman was 25, handsome and popular. We see footage from the year before his murder where he was dancing at a family event while his family chanted. He had been a waiter at Meza Luna and brought Nicole’s mom’s glasses to her house when she left them. His dad says he thinks his son walked up onto a crime in progress and died defending Nicole. He says that’s painful.
Kato says OJ came to chat with him about their McDonalds time frame. He says OJ was trying to convince him to create an alibi for him. Kate says he wasn’t with him at the time and thought to himself that OJ was trying to get him to say something that wasn’t true and was seeing another side of OJ than he ever had.
Nicole feared for her life in the weeks before the murder because of OJ’s dark and violent side. The funeral was just a mile from the crime scene and OJ was there even though he was a suspect. Kris says this was a tough day and says OJ cried and kissed the coffin and said “I’m sorry Nic. I’m sorry.” Nicole was 18 when they met and he was 29. Kris says they were crazy about each other.
They got married in 1985 the year he was inducted into the Hall of Fame – and he mentioned her in his speech. OJ saw other women and he and Nicole would fight over his cheating but Nicole kept this a secret and just wrote about it in her diary. Denise says her sister wrote about being beaten black and blue and going to the ER and telling them she fell of her bike. Then on one New Year’s Day she called the cops and her sister after a really bad beating.
Denise came over to take photos of her and there were bruises and scratches. Nicole told her that OJ went crazy. They got a divorce but then attempted a reconciliation. Kris says Nicole always felt like OJ was cheating and would give him many chances. Denise says it got worse and OJ was stalking her. She says OJ followed her no matter where she was.
Nicole called 911 just a few months before her murder complaining that OJ broke into her house and is ranting. She hung up then called back after 10 minutes where she sounded scared. She says he’s back and says he’s OJ Simpson and you know his record. Nicole cries and says he’s going to beat the shit out of me. No charges were ever filed against him and his image stayed intact.
The last months of her life there was another reconciliation – a vacation with the Jenners and their kids. She says Nicole told her that she really wanted to make it work but OJ started flirting as soon as Nicole went to the bathroom. Afterward, she told Kris she was really done but OJ wasn’t ready to let go. Kris says OJ retaliated by threatening Nicole. Kris says Nicole told her that OJ was going to kill her and get away with it. Then soon Kris was at her best friend’s funeral.
At the LAPD crime lab, blood results were in and there was a match for OJ’s blood. Lang says this meant they need to get him and book him. But Robert Shapiro worked a deal for OJ to quietly turn himself in at 11 am sharp. He didn’t show and we all found out why. He just up and disappeared.
Friday, June 17th 1994 would become a day everyone would remember.
OJ left behind what many said was a suicide note that Rob Kardashian read on live TV after Shapiro asked him to come in. It said that he had nothing to do with the murders and had a great life. The police were searching for him. Then they get a call around 6:30 pm that OJ was in the backseat of a white Bronco and Al Cowlings was driving.
Within a minutes, the police where there and it was a low speed chase with tons of cops behind them. AC talks to the police and said that OJ has a gun to his head but was still alive. The news media covered it in a frenzy and the NBA finals were virtually ignored. Bob Costas was hosting the show and says the Greek tragedy of OJ was going on at the same tiem as the playoffs. He calls it a drama without a script.
Lang called OJ on his cell phone and talked to him. OJ says he just wants to get to his house and says he will turn himself in there. Lang says he was trying to get him not to use the gun. OJ says to tell them that he’s sorry that he did this to the police. Lang tells him that his kids need him and OJ says he already said goodbye to them. Costas says these are the actions of a guilty man.
Ron’s dad says if he wasn’t guilty he wouldn’t have done this. Kris says she wondered how it could get worse. Crowds were cheering OJ on and running in front of the SUV after it exited the freeway. Costas calls it a macabre carnival that could have been ghastly. After 90 minutes, OJ and AC pull into his house. The cops creep behind their cars because they don’t know if he will fire at police.
Costas says he wouldn’t have been surprised if he shot the police or himself. He sat in the car for another hour then got out and surrendered. There was a fake goatee, his passport, bag and a loaded gun. He was taken away and charged with first degree murder for Nicole and Ron’s murders.
OJ once wore number 32 but he gets a new number – a prisoner number and a room at the LA county jail where he’s held without bail. Costas went to visit him and says OJ tried to convince him of his innocence. He told him that he was too smart to leave a glove behind. Costas says he told him he would have his day in court but there was a pile of evidence building up.
Gil Garcetti told the news that there was so much DNA evidence that if had been anyone but OJ Simpson, it would have been a slam dunk. There was evidence at both homes plus a key witness that placed OJ near the crime scene right after the murders. We see the witness – Jill Shiveley – and she saw that OJ was the driver and he was in a white car with the lights off and she even saw part of the license plate which matched OJ’s.
Lang says no one had any doubt that OJ would be convicted until the trial was moved out of Santa Monica and to LA County where the jury pool was much more likely to be drawn from minorities. Lang says he thinks they may have been hoping that a conviction from a mostly black jury would head off riots that happened over the Rodney King verdict.
This was the first of many decisions that impacted the outcome. Lang says they thought that a minority jury and a minority defendant convicted would be cool. Then Judge Eto decided to allow the trial to be televised which changes a lot. Marcia Clark says they had enough evidence to convict. Chris Darden and Marcia Clark declined to participate in this special.
The timeline showed that OJ had about an hour alone where he had time to commit the murders before heading to the airport. The witness, Jill Shiveley, sold her story to Hard Copy. Prosecutors were upset that she didn’t tell them about this. Shiveley says Marcia Clark was angry and blamed her for blowing the case. Jill never got to testify because Marcia didn’t put her on the stand. Lang says this was a bad move because people sell their stories all the time. He says the prosecutors relied too heavily on the science.
At the arraignment, OJ added Johnny Cochran to his legal team. Cochran had been a pain for the LAPD for a long time. Cochran says he knew to attack the credibility of the police. In 1995, the relationship between the black community and the LAPD was volatile. Connie Rice is a civil rights lawyer who lives and works in LA and says this was a perfect defense for this time period.
They discuss that LA spent his time playing golf and dating white women. Rice says the black community only needed to know that he was being targeted by the LAPD. Alan Dershowitz says the Dream Team was a misnomer and says there was a lot of discord behind the scenes. One of the attorneys said that black women were the ideal jury.
They got eight black women on the jury and he says this was a jury that Cochran could speak to because they knew that they understood how the LAPD treated black men. OJ looked at the jury and says if they convict him, maybe he did do it. This was a joke but what was coming left no one laughing. They discuss the eye opening journey this trial represented.
Day one of the trial of the century opened and it felt like the world was watching. It was six months after the killings and OJ faced life in prison if convicted. The lawyers were ready to square off. They prosecutors thought their case was air tight with all the DNA evidence. Judge Eto was overseeing all this and had been on the bench for six years.
The prosecution showed all the blood evidence that pointed at OJ. But first they covered the history of violence between Nicole and OJ. Denise took the stand and testified about OJ throwing Nicole against the wall in front of her and then threw her physically out of the house. Denise says this was painful to go through. They also showed the timeline that gave OJ an hour to kill the two.
Kato was asked if living with OJ would get him acting roles and he joked that they weren’t up for the same parts. He gave his testimony about the fast food trip and the noises he heard. He demonstrated the noise for the jury. He came to LA looking for fame and found something else. Kato says this was a very scary process for him. He says he never thought this would be his life.
Skip Junis was another witness who was at the airport picking up his wife who worked for American Airlines. He was there at 11:30 pm. He says he saw OJ get out of the limousine and had a clear view of him but OJ never saw him. He says OJ had a cheap gym bag and was pulling things out and stuffing them in a trashcan before he went into the airport.
By the time police were told it was too late to find what was thrown out. Junis was called to testify but then didn’t. Lang said he’s sure OJ was throwing out evidence. Maybe the murder weapon?? Here’s an odd note – Dateline captioned Skip’s name as “Skip Jew Judas” – is that some sort of Freudian slip. Hmm…
We see the Village Etos on Leno. The trial is being mocked and there are products being sold and pundits weighing in. Geraldo Rivera covered the trial nightly. The audience loved it but the jury was not enjoying it because they were sequestered in a hotel near the courthouse. Lon Cryer was one of the jurors that lasted 265 days in the hotel. He says there was no TV, phones or radios. They were bored, isolated and lonely.
Eto told them they would have occasional outings for entertainment and then a field trip to the crime scene and OJ’s estate. But defense attorney Karl Douglas had redecorated before the visit so the jurors would have thought OJ wouldn’t have done it. They took away photos of OJ with white women away, added a Norman Rockwell painting from Cochran’s office and added a photo of OJ and his mom there.
Douglas says this is big league law and you play hardball and this wasn’t evidence tampering. He says the prosecutors never objected. Douglas says their strategy to deal with the DNA evidence “garbage in, garbage out.” This was the infamous blood sample taken three weeks after the fact. Then Dennis Fong was accused of errors by Barry Scheck.
Juror Cryer says it was boring to listen to all of the DNA stuff. There was more interesting evidence that the jury wasn’t allowed to see like OJ’s farewell notes and video interview. Lang says he was frustrated by the prosecutors refusal to put up what he thought was great evidence including Skip’s eyewitness testimony of him dumping stuff.
Marcia Clark refused to put him on the stand. Skip says he was surprised he wasn’t called and Kris says she was also supposed to testify but then they didn’t call her either. Kris says she thinks the prosecutors decided that the domestic violence angle wasn’t going to be enough. There was one piece of evidence that killed the prosecution’s case.
Alan Dershowitz says he thought the prosecution would have had OJ try on the gloves before that moment. Douglas says this was stunning as a stupid prosecution move. He says you never try a demonstration if you don’t know the outcome. We see Cochran with his famous “the gloves don’t fit you must acquit.” Back then Darden admits their glove expert told him they would fit because they were his gloves and says it was a mis-step.
After fourth of July, 1995 fireworks were just beginning. Cochran’s office was getting phone in tips and then Pat McKenna, a defense prosecutor, got a solid lead. It was about Mark Fuhrman, tapes and the “N” word. They found a screenwriter who had worked with Fuhrman on a script and she had tapes of his meetings with her. Douglas says Cochran kept these tapes in his safe under lock and key.
Douglas says that the tapes were manna from heaven because Fuhrman used the N word so many times. Fuhrman says that this was ridiculous that he was put on trial for working on a screenplay and using it to acquit a murdered. This turned into accusations that Fuhrman himself planted the bloody glove. Then Judge Eto decided to let two excerpts from the tapes be played for the jury. The problem was, Fuhrman had denied using the N word on the stand. McKenna told the detective that he had him.
Fuhrman took the fifth three times against self-incrimination. Then the last question was whether he planted or manufactured any evidence and he took the fifth. Lang says he was pissed and says he should have said a clear “no.” Lang says that he tanked the case when he did this. This was heard away from the jury but Cryer says he had heard enough from Fuhrman to form an opinion.
He thought that Fuhrman planted the glove and hat. He says he can’t convict someone of murder with that doubt. Then there was closing arguments. Marcia Clarke spent five hours on blood evidence. She says they were in the context of a violent, bloody relationship. Then Cochran did his glove don’t fit thing and challenged the jurors to not let this police abuse go on.
Then the jury went to deliberate, but most had already made up their minds. The TV cameras were gone out of the courtroom and the jury was deciding. Cryer says he just wanted to go home – he says he had felt like it was not guilt and wondered if he was the other one. It was 10-2 for acquittal on the first straw vote. He says he was excited not for OJ but because he thought they were close to going home.
Cryer says the other two jurors didn’t try to talk anyone over. He says the DNA blood evidence was never discussed and it only took four hours to get a unanimous vote. Goldman’s dad says he was sure OJ would be found guilt. The victims’ families and jury were all there and Cochran says he told OJ he thought he was going to get to go home.
President Clinton was briefed on possible security issues if a riot broke out over the verdict. The jury forewoman read out the not guilty on Nicole’s verdict then the same on Ron Goldman’s. Ron’s sister says she was pissed and couldn’t believe this was their justice system. Kris says she thought it was definitely going to go guilty.
Cryer says he didn’t think OJ was necessarily innocent but there wasn’t enough evidence for him to vote guilty. Connie Rice says this was the jury’s chance to strike back at injustice against the black community by the LAPD. Goldman spoke on behalf of the victims’ families. He calls the night of the murder the worst nightmare of his life and says this verdict is the second. He’s crying.
Now, Goldman says he was angry and in shock and then they left with nothing resolved after nine months. They say that the spectacle ended without OJ getting the just desserts many thought he had coming. But then OJ would be back in court for another trial on this issue. But first, he was back on the golf course and then on the interview circuit.
He told BET he loved Nicole and couldn’t have killed her. Goldman calls him an arrogant murdered flaunting his celebrity while talking about finding the real murderers. Goldman says every time OJ looked in the mirror, he saw the real killer. The families were outraged and still wanted justice. Goldman says he wanted to hear that he was guilty so they filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
This wasn’t about the money says Ron’s sister – it was about her brother’s life. They hired Dan Petrocelli – a lawyer who had never handled a murder case before. This trial was in Santa Monica and wouldn’t require a unanimous vote and OJ would have to give testimony since he couldn’t incriminate himself for criminal purposes.
In the original criminal trial, they had ID’d Bruno Magli shoes but then a National Enquirer photo showed OJ wearing the same shoes. Petrocelli says OJ had been an idol of his and even though he knew he was a stone cold killer, he shook his hand and says he has always regretted doing that. We see video depositions that OJ sat for over 13 days. They talked about the cut on his finger, the evidence and the shoes. OJ denied every buying Magli shoes and called them “ugly ass.”
They ask about whether he hit Nicole and he denied the abuse. He said if her face was black and blue he was responsible, but then added all these odd qualifiers. The civil trial begins with no TV cameras and OJ having to take the stand. Petricelli says OJ was hyperventilating and couldn’t explain why the victims’ blood was in house and car. Then we see photos – 30 pics – of OJ wearing Bruno Magli shoes.
The jury deliberated five says then came back with a unanimous guilty verdict. Petricelli says he hugged Ron’s dad who was crying. Fred says they finally had a court say they did it which was just confirmation of what they knew. They were awarded $33.5 million in damages but have been paid very little but OJ lost what was left of his reputation that day. We see OJ walking out of the court and being booed by a crowd.
In 2007, OJ had moved to Florida and then took a trip to Vegas that changed his life. He was arrested and charged with robbery, assault and kidnapping for breaking in and robbing a man with armed men. He stole memorabilia that he said was his but was recorded saying he wanted to keep it out of the hands of the Goldmans. He was sentenced to up to 33 years in jail and can’t be paroled until 2017 at the earliest.
Cochran and Kardashian from his Dream Team have passed away. Denise Brown advocates on domestic violence. Kim Goldman wrote a book about her experience and named her son after her slain brother. Fred is planning to retire this year, but has sworn to dog OJ forever. Kato has a clothing line and is still in LA. The famous white Bronco is available for rental. Fuhrman pled no contest to perjury about the “N” word controversy and is an occasional Fox commentator. Clarke and Darden never tried another case for the LA courts.
Douglas still practices law and has a shrine to his mentor Cochran in his office. Eto is still a judge but his term ends in 2015 and didn’t run for re-election. The LAPD now better represents the race mix of the area and Connie Rice says the community relationships are drastically better now. Petrocelli still lives in LA and practices. OJ’s house was bought and bulldozed and a new house built there. Nicole’s condo hs had the number changed. The evidence is still in the LAPD archives but the cops and prosecutors consider the case closed even though there was never a criminal prosecution.