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O.J. Simpson Trial NOTE: Slides marked with a red dot (bottom right) indicate a gruesome slide may follow!

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Presentation on theme: "O.J. Simpson Trial NOTE: Slides marked with a red dot (bottom right) indicate a gruesome slide may follow!"— Presentation transcript:

1 O.J. Simpson Trial NOTE: Slides marked with a red dot (bottom right) indicate a gruesome slide may follow!

2 January 23rd, 1995 the trial began. Orenthal James Simpson, was born on July 9th, 1947, at Stanford University Hospital near San Francisco, the son of Jimmie and Eunice Durden Simpson. He was two years old when he contracted rickets and had to wear braces on his legs until he reached five. At thirteen he was a street gang member of the Persian Warriors and, in 1962 when he was fifteen, he spent time in custody at the San Francisco Youth Guidance Center. His father left his mother for another man and died of AIDS in 1986. Simpson married at the age of eighteen his Galileo High School sweetheart, Marguerite White, and their first child, Aaron, was born on December Their second child, Arnelle, was born on April 21, 1970. He became an All-American during both of his varsity seasons at USC and set a number of NCAA running records, closing out his undergraduate days by collecting the Heisman Trophy. He became a top class professional football player, spending most of his career with the Buffalo Bills, although he finished his professional career with the San Francisco 49ers. He retired from professional football in 1979 and made a cameo appearance at the 1984 Olympic Games. In 1985 he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, crediting his mother with his success. She apparently responded, “ I didn’t really think he’d turn out the way he did, but he always said you’d read about him in the papers someday and my oldest daughter would always say, ‘In the police reports.’” Ten years later, he was doing both, with a vengeance. January 23rd, 1995 the trial began. It was exactly ten years to the day since O.J. Simpson had become the first Heisman Trophy winner to be elected to the pro footballers Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

3 To many, particularly in minority communities,  the trial of Orenthal James Simpson became not so much a determination of his guilt or innocence of murder in the first degree, beyond a reasonable doubt, but whether or not a black man could find justice in a legal system designed by and largely administered by whites. To others, many of whom were white, the key question was whether a mostly minority jury would convict a black celebrity regardless of the weight of evidence against him. To others, the tragic deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman always seemed stage left, as the man on trial for their murders commanded center stage in his fight to prove bigotry and racism were the real issues on trial, using a pack of slick lawyers willing to circumnavigate the parameters of legal etiquette and acceptable courtroom manners to achieve their objectives, transforming their client, an accused double murderer, into some kind of political prisoner.


5 12:13 a.m. – First Police Arrive!
10:15 p.m. - While watching television, Pablo Fenjves, a neighbor of Nicole Brown Simpson, hears the cries and constant barking of a dog. Elsie Tistaert, who lived just across the street, also heard it, and when she looked out of her window, she saw the dog, a white Akita, pacing up and down outside the front of 875 South Bundy Drive. 11:00-11:30 p.m. – blood-stained Akita follows dog-walking neighbor home 12:10 a.m. - The bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman are discovered outside her townhouse. 12:13 a.m. – First Police Arrive! 12:45 a.m. – paramedics confirm death 2:10 a.m. – Phillips and Fuhrman arrive; Partner, Roberts logs in at 2:30 (18th officer on scene) 3:25 a.m. – photographer arrives – general photos, not close up 4:04 and 4:25 a.m. – Lange and Vannatter, Leads arrive


7 The single set of bloody footprints leading away from the bodies argued in favor of there being one killer.





12 Ex-wife of OJ Simpson Married at 18 Mother of two youngest of Simpson’s children Frequented Mezzaluna Restaurant











23 RON

24 6’1” 170lbs Handsome, young actor Waiter at Mezzaluna Restaurant Trained in martial arts Friend of Nicole



27 5:00 a.m. – Four detectives leave Bundy to go to Rockingham
About 5 a.m. - Detectives Mark Fuhrman and Philip Vannatter arrive at Simpson's house. 5:15-5:30 a.m. - The detectives examine reddish stain on Simpson's Ford Bronco. 5:40 a.m. to 5:50 a.m. - Detective Fuhrman decided to jump the wall in order for police to get inside the estate. Once on the grounds, the detectives awaken Simpson's daughter, Arnelle, who is staying in a guest house. She takes the police to the house and telephones Cathy Randa, her father's longtime assistant. 6:21 a.m. – Lange informs Brown family of Nicole’s death Shortly after, Fuhrman finds a glove in plain view 7 am-7:30 a.m. - Detective Vannatter declared the area a crime scene and goes to get a warrant to search the house.




31 8:00 - 9:00 a.m. – Lange checks out Rockingham property and documents/reviews evidence
Around the same time, investigators “shield” Nicole’s body from the press using a blanket from inside the home 9:10 a.m. – coroner investigators note that Nicole’s bare feet are clean, and an odd pattern of blood spots on her back 10:15 a.m. – Dennis Fung and assistant finish Rockingham and arrive at Bundy scene, photographing all angles, measuring, and documenting, removing the bodies from the scene










41 The knife used to kill both victims had to have a blade that was at least six inches long. Later it was learned that Simpson had recently purchased a knife fitting that description. two vials of blood that had been taken from the victims and stored at the autopsy the previous day. The SID serology unit would carry out all the tests on blood samples except the RFLP tests. These were too complex for the unit to perform and would be farmed out to a specialized civilian testing agency.

42 Rockingham EVIDENCE







49 6:30 p.m. - Nicole Brown Simpson, her children and several others go to dinner at the Mezzaluna restaurant. 7:00 p.m. – Dine at Mezzaluna 8 p.m. - Nicole Brown Simpson and her children leave Mezzaluna, and stop for ice cream on the way home. 9:15 p.m. - One of Nicole Brown Simpson's sisters calls Mezzaluna to say that Nicole's mother had left her glasses at the restaurant. Ronald Goldman volunteers to return the glasses. 9 p.m.-9:30 p.m. - Brian Kaelin, a friend staying in a guest house at O.J. Simpson's home, and Simpson go to McDonald's for dinner. 9:45 p.m. - Kaelin and Simpson return home. 9:48 p.m. - 9:50 p.m. - Goldman leaves the restaurant with a white envelope containing the glasses.


51 10:25 p.m. - Limousine driver Allan Park arrives at Simpson's home.
10:40 p.m. - Kaelin hears three loud thumps on an outside wall of his room. 10:40-10:50 p.m. - Park buzzes intercom several times but does not get any response. 10:55 p.m. - Park calls his boss and tells him Simpson is not home. He is told to wait until 11:15 since Simpson is always late. Shortly before 11 p.m. - Park sees a black person, six-feet, 200 pounds, walking across the driveway towards the house. About 11 p.m. - Kaelin goes to the front of the house to check on the noise. He sees the limousine driver at the gate. Several seconds later, Park again buzzes the intercom and Simpson answers. He says he had overslept and just gotten out of the shower.


53 11 p.m. - 11:15 p.m. - Simpson puts his bags in the limousine.
11:15 p.m. - Limousine leaves for Los Angeles Airport. 11:35 p.m. - Limousine arrives at airport. 11:45 p.m. - Simpson leaves on an American Airlines flight to Chicago. 12:10 a.m. - The bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman are discovered outside her townhouse.




57 Jill Shively She claimed that on the Sunday evening as she was driving to a nearby market, she saw two vehicles almost collide at the intersection of San Vicente Boulevard and South Bundy. A white Ford Bronco came barreling north across the junction, driving through a red light and almost hitting another car traveling west down the boulevard. She recognized the Bronco driver as O.J. Simpson, timing the near accident at about 11:00 p.m. Shively was a local and had seen both Nicole and Simpson in the neighborhood many times. Although she subsequently gave her evidence before a grand jury on June 21st, she impeached herself as a witness by lying as to whether or not she had discussed the incident with anyone. She claimed only her family, but in fact, that night she appeared on a tabloid television show to discuss it and was paid $5,000. As a result, the prosecution refused to call her as a witness.

58 Search and Seizure 11:00 a.m. – Vannatter has warrant drafted, checked, approved and signed by Judge Lefkowitz to search Simpson’s home When OJ arrives, he is handcuffed by officers outside his home, but Vannatter stops them – 48hours 1:35 p.m. – Lange and Vannatter interview OJ at LAPD HQ (37min). Afterwards, blood is drawn, finger photo taken 5:16 p.m. – Vannatter arrives at Rockingham with OJ’s blood to be checked and signed by Fung and assistant Mazzola returned it to the truck (all on media video) DONE BY THE BOOK!!


60 Blood Samples from 2 victims subject to PCR and RFLP
The DNA testing of the blood would focus on the two major areas known as PCR and RFLP. The PCR method is generally used to eliminate suspects, whereas the RFLP, a much more definitive analysis can single out one person in a million or even a billion to the exclusion of everyone else in the world.

61 On Thursday, June 16th, preliminary DNA test results on the glove found at the Rockingham estate confirmed that the blood was Simpson's and both of the victims. It needed confirmation by the complex RFLP tests that were a long way off at that time, but it was expected that these additional tests would confirm their first analysis.

62 By now, the LAPD had received confirmation through traced cellular phone messages that Cowling and Simpson were traveling somewhere in Orange County. At about 6: 45 p.m., an Orange County Sheriff’s deputy spotted the Ford Bronco driving north on Intersate-5. Although ordered to pull over and stop, Cowling kept rolling, but switched on his hazard lights and slowed down to a sedate 40 miles an hour. At about that point, Cowling dialed 911 on his cellular phone and told the police to back off as Simpson was suicidal and had a gun to his head. By this time, the media had been alerted and the sky above the Ford Bronco filled up with helicopters carrying television camera crews and reporters, as well as the law enforcement ones. The slow-speed chase became the most widely watched impromptu event in American television history. The only event that came close to matching it in the last 50 years was the moon landing. There were so many choppers buzzing around, it looked like a scene from a war movie. At one time, a Channel 7 helicopter had to break to refuel and the station had to link into a competitor’s coverage to maintain its spontaneity. As a result, people watching the Channel 7 news were confronted with the Channel 5 logo on their screens. Crowds of spectators, alerted by the television coverage and the radio airwaves that literally crackled with the news, gathered along the freeway and crowded out the overhead bridges, shouting and cheering as though they were watching some July 4th, parade. The slow speed chase developed all the trademarks of a carnival or circus performance, a harbinger of what lay ahead in the months to follow.


64 As the convoy proceeded north up the 405 Freeway, Cowling requested that he be allowed to go straight to Simpson’s home on Rockingham Avenue. Captain William O. Gartland, head of the Robbery/Homicide Division, agreed to the request and then ordered the LAPD Metro Division to dispatch its negotiation and SWAT teams to converge on the estate and secure the perimeter. By now, the cavalcade had crossed the borderline into the city of Los Angeles and, although LAPD helicopters assumed the air space, the Orange County patrol cars continued on with the chase, now under the control of the LAPD black-and-whites. The Bronco headed north, passing LAX, and left the freeway at the Sunset Boulevard exit ramp. Swinging left across the freeway, it headed west towards the Pacific Ocean until it reached Rockingham Avenue. At approximately 7:50 p.m., the long, slow, maniacal journey came to an end as Al Cowling pulled into the driveway of Simpson’s home and switched off the engine. Here gathered, as a welcoming committee, was a small army of police officers. Twenty-seven members of the LAPD SWAT unit, a vehicle assault team, a full element of Metro specialists, and a two-man negotiating team headed by Officer Peter Weireter. Above, fluttering about like demented mechanical moths, were the helicopters of the media assault teams trying to get the definitive landscape montage on record for their rapacious audiences, who were glued to their television screens across the nation and the world. Almost an hour later at 8:45 p.m., after non-stop pleading and cajoling by Cowling and the negotiating team, Simpson finally emerged from the Bronco and surrendered. The chase was over, but the hunt for justice was just beginning.

65 Marcia Clark - Prosecution
To the prosecution, the case was relatively simple and supported by “a mountain of evidence”: Simpson had an abusive relationship with Nicole; was jealous of her since their marriage break-up; had purchased a knife similar in size and shape to the murder weapon. Simpson dropped the bloody gloves, one at the crime scene and one at his home. He wore shoes the same size as the footprints leading away from the crime scene. His blood was everywhere, some of it mixed in with that of the victims. He had a motive; he had the opportunity; he had no alibi for the timeframe of the murders.

66 OJ’s Dream Team To the defense the case was even simpler. Their client was innocent, framed by unscrupulous, devious, lying police officers, aided and abetted by incompetent law enforcement officials and county technicians. The defense lawyers painted Simpson as yet another black victim of the white judicial system. He was on trial because he was a black man, being framed and set up by a white man’s legal system. But O.J. Simpson was an unlikely symbol of the racial divide between black and white America. He married a white woman and made his high-priced living in the white man’s world, doing business with them, playing golf with them and socializing with them. Rather than appearing as a true representative of the black people, he more typified the division between the rich and the poor, showing just how easily money could buy justice.

67 Gil Garcetti Garcetti wanted the case filed downtown rather than in LA (which is standard procedure) because special trials were located there and Santa Monica didn’t have the physical facilities for the type of case envisaged. He also wanted it downtown to get the indictment of Simpson through a grand jury instead of the more commonly used preliminary hearing method, by which 99.9% of criminal cases in Los Angeles go to superior court. Grand Jury proceedings are secret and the defense does not participate thus they are not made aware of the basis of the prosecution’s case prior to trial. However, the defense succeeded in getting the grand jury dismissed on the grounds that it had been tainted by the adverse publicity surrounding the case. In Santa Monica, the jury would have consisted of primarily white people. It was feared that a conviction might cause a riot similar to the Rodney King case where a similar ethnic mix had acquitted white policemen.

68 Jeffrey Toobin Wrote an article suggesting that Fuhrman, a lead detective, planted the glove at the crime scene although he was the 17th person to arrive at the scene! On July 25th, an article by Jeffrey R. Toobin appeared in The New Yorker magazine suggesting that the LAPD detective who had testified in the preliminary hearing about discovering the glove at Simpson’s estate had, in fact, planted it there. The article also referred to a disturbing pattern of behavior displayed by the detective in the past and his strong racist views. The author of the article had apparently based a lot of it on conversations he had with Robert Shapiro. To the lead detectives on the case, the thought that Fuhrman could have planted the glove was laughable. He had, in fact, been the 17th police officer to login at the crime scene, almost two hours after the arrival of patrolmen Riske and Terrazas. Many other officers had viewed the crime scene and not one had seen or reported more than the one glove found near the bodies.

69 4th Amendment: unreasonable search and seizure
The lead detectives, under questioning by Shapiro at the preliminary hearing, were accused of violating Simpson’s Fourth Amendment rights by entering his premises illegally. The detectives stressed that at the time, they entered the estate because they were concerned for his safety, not because he had become an actual suspect, because he was not Ito declared the detectives’ actions “negligent and reckless” but allowed the evidence collected therein to be admissible in court The lead detectives, under questioning by Shapiro at the preliminary hearing, were accused of violating Simpson’s Fourth Amendment rights by entering his premises illegally. The detectives stressed that at the time, they entered the estate because they were concerned for his safety, not because he had become an actual suspect, because he was not.

70 Warrants: wordage is CRUCIAL!
The other mistake Vannatter had made was his premature identification of red spots on the driveway and the red substance on the right-hand glove as blood. Even though Dennis Fung later confirmed this as blood evidence, Vannatter had made these claims in his search warrant without that confirmation, relying instead on his observations from years of experience dealing with blood at crime scenes.

71 The Jury The jury in the Simpson trial would hear a mass of detailed evidence pointing to his guilt. The core of any prosecution case is likely to be evidence collected, analyzed and developed by many specialists and experts in their fields -- detectives, criminalists, scientific technicians, pathologists etc. -- who process the basic ingredients of the case. It is hardly remarkable that the testimony of the experts fits in with the prosecutor’s hypothesis. For O.J. Simpson to be innocent in the face of such a “mountain of evidence” as the District Attorney’s office presented during the trial, it simply meant that everyone was lying, corrupted and involved in a grand scheme of deceit and treachery.

72 Prosecution’s “Mountain of Evidence”
OJ couldn’t reconcile a life without Nicole though she had moved on after the divorce Feb 1992 17 years of abuse culminate in murder No alibi for OJ’s whereabouts Ron Goldman in wrong place at wrong time Trail of blood from Nicole’s home to OJ’s Match to OJ’s hair on knit cap Socks in OJ’s room with traces of Nicole’s blood Cut on OJ’s hand Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark then described the evidence against Simpson, saying there was a path of "blood where there should be no blood," leading from Nicole Brown's condominium to Simpson's home. "That trail of blood from Bundy through his own Ford Bronco and into his house in Rockingham is devastating proof of his guilt," she told the jury. There was the hair found on the knit cap that matched Simpson’s hair, the socks in his bedroom that contained traces of the victims’ blood, the cut on Simpson’s hand. The “mountain of evidence” grew and grew as the case proceeded.

73 Defense Evidence was "contaminated, compromised and ultimately corrupted.” Practicing golf swing and preparing for Chicago trip before murders took place Cochran: police carried a vial of Simpson's blood around with them for several hours rather than immediately bringing it to a police lab. Remember CHAIN OF CUSTODY!! Had to get signed by Dennis Fung, LAPD criminalist, serology As a result, Cochran said, some of the blood sample was missing. He strongly suggested it had been used to contaminate a pair of socks found at the foot of Simpson's bed Timestamp on video (never calibrated after long period of non-use) Forgotten/missed blood stains – not collected until 20 days later Blanket from home used to shield Nicole for media lens Faye Resnick - Were drug dealers involved?

74 Mary Anne Gerchas and Rosa Lopez
Defense witnesses deemed UNRELIABLE - never called to testify but claim that: Four men in knit caps fled the house Simpson’s car was at his home the night the murders were committed

75 Witnesses Sharyn Gilbert – 911 dispatcher
John Edwards – detective that responded to call Chapter 11







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