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April 18, 2024

O. J. Simpson’s Case that Rocked America

While O. J. Simpson has passed, the impact of the murder case, as well as his sports and acting careers, remains. By Ching Wai.

US - Orenthal James Simpson recently passed at the age of 76 on 10 April 2024 from prostate cancer. Simpson’s long-time attorney Malcom LaVergne is currently working out Simpson’s will.

The former American football player and actor had been charged with the murders of his former wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ron Goldman, in 1994. Simpson was arrested and charged with armed robbery and kidnapping in 2007, and convicted and sentenced to 33 years imprisonment with a minimum of nine years without parole the following year. Simpson was paroled and released in 2017, and then released from parole in 2021, after which he lived in freedom until death.

In total, prosecutors for Simpson’s murder trial found 62 incidents of abusive behaviour by Simpsons towards Brown.

Simpson had begun a relationship with Christie Prody after his acquittal for murder in 1995, at which time Prody was only 19 years old. Prody stated after the relationship ended that she often feared for her life during the 13 year relationship. These and countless other instances do not help Simpson’s case for innocence, at least in the public eye.

It was also reported that the police investigation had been flawed. Evidence from the crime scene was tainted or not properly handled. Photo evidence was lost or mishandled, and DNA evidence was collected and stored improperly. Additionally, racism was rampant throughout the case, including a police officer repeatedly using a racial slur and entering Simpson’s house without a search warrant. The trial had ultimately created public discourse on race relations, with White people in America more likely to believe in Simpson’s guilt and Black people in America more likely to believe in Simpson’s innocence. This case had unearthed further societal issues on top of racial discourse, as advocates for victims of domestic violence had also made their voices heard after Brown’s death.

Littlefield asserted in July 1994 that the network would never air the pilot of Frogmen, an A-team-like adventure series, if Simpson were convicted. This decision resulted in the loss of an estimated 14 million USD in potential profits for the network, and juicy scandalous content for a Super Bowl-like television audience. Co-star Evan Handler said that the studio’s decision was “just about the only proof you have that there is some dignity in the advertising and television business.”

Simpson had published the books I Want to Tell You: My Response to Your Letters, Your Messages, Your Questions (1995) and If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer (2007). The publishing deal for the latter book allegedly began when Simpson said he was ready to confess, and detailed Simpson’s account of how he would hypothetically carry out the murders. Original release in 2006 was cancelled due to public outcry, and the Goldman family later published the book in 2007 after many restraining orders were issued to Simpson.

LaVergne now works to settle Simpson’s will and debts, including the US$114 million to Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown’s families. O. J. Simpson’s case has remained under public scrutiny, with the deeply-rooted social issues still problems even after almost three decades.

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