Real Name: Orenthal James Simpson
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: June 12, 1994
Details: Former football star and actor O.J. Simpson was accused of murdering his wife, Nicole Simpson, and a friend, Ron Goldman on June 12, 1994. During his trial, prosecutors Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden built much of their case on an incriminating trail of Simpson's blood. His blood was at the Bundy Ave. crime scene on the back gate of Nicole's condominium. It was in Simpson's Ford Bronco, the alleged getaway car. The trail of blood continued at Simpson's Rockingham estate. A glove allegedly belonging to Simpson's was found behind his house; it had traces of his blood, along with the blood of both victims. A pair of socks in Simpson's bedroom, which he allegedly wore during the murders, was stained with Nicole's blood and his own. Prosecutors claim that the blood dripped from a wound on Simpson's hand; the wound apparently occurred when Simpson's knife slipped while stabbing the victims. However, the defense team claimed that much of the blood evidence was planted. They claimed that it was stolen from a reference vial of Simpson's blood that was provided for DNA tests. The defense claimed that detectives Phil Vannatter, Tom Lange, Ron Phillips, and Mark Fuhrman either lied or planted the evidence found at the crime scenes.
On October 3, 1995, he was found not guilty of the murder charges in possibly one of the highest profile murder cases revealed to the public. The investigation into the case suggests that the LAPD may have tampered with evidence and possibly framed Simpson. Both aspects of his guilt and innocent are probed by authorities and investigators from Simpson's legal team.
Former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi investigated the Simpson case; he is certain that Simpson is guilty and that the LAPD was not involved in any kind of framing. Bulgiosi wrote the book "Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away With Murder". Bugliosi notes that two of the detectives allegedly involved in the framing of Simpson did not know the other two, making it unlikely that all four would team up to frame Simpson. He feels that it would be extremely unlikely for these four detectives to come up with an elaborate scheme on the night of the murders to forget about the real killer in the case and instead frame Simpson for the crimes.
Professor Alan Dershowitz was a part of Simpson's defense team; he believes that Simpson was framed by the LAPD because they believed, in the own minds, that Simpson was "guilty". According to Dershowitz, the LAPD believed that he would get away with murder because he was a celebrity, so they planted evidence to ensure that he would be convicted. According to Simpson's defense, the frame-up began with lead detective Mark Fuhrman; he was dispatched to the crime scene when the bodies were discovered. However, forty-five minutes later, the investigation was re-assigned to Lange and Vannatter, members of a special LAPD unit that handled high-profile cases. According to the defense, Fuhrman wandered away from the murder scene for a few minutes and found the glove. He allegedly then took the glove and planted it at Simpson's home.
Bugliosi maintains that the defense claim of Fuhrman taking the glove and planting it was ridiculous. He notes that fourteen LAPD officers had arrived at the Bundy crime scene before Fuhrman; all of them only saw one glove there. Therefore, there was no way that Fuhrman could have picked up a second glove and transported it to Rockingham.
The defense further claimed that Fuhrman had been motivated to frame Simpson because he was racist. Bugliosi states, however, that police frame-ups of African-Americans is almost unheard of.
According to the defense team, the authorities literally painted the crime scenes with Simpson's blood to frame him for the crime. The day after the murders, attorney Howard Weitzman and Detective Vannatter escorted Simpson to a police laboratory where a nurse drew a sample of Simpson's blood. The nurse gave the sample to Vannatter, who transported the sample to Rockingham, where he gave the sample to LAPD criminalist Dennis Fung. Dershowitz believes that at this point, the blood was placed on the glove at the scene. Once again, Bugliosi maintains that this idea is ridiculous because there were hundreds of reporters at Rockingham, watching the detectives' every move. Dershowitz then counters by claiming that Vannatter only took a small amount of blood and kept it in his possession; he then used this small amount and placed it on the back gate at Bundy. The blood was not apparently noticed during the initial search at Bundy. However, Bugliosi notes that there was so much blood at the Bundy crime scene, Fung was unable to collect it all immediately. He also claims that several detective had, indeed noticed the blood on the back gate.
The defense further claimed that Vannatter used the stolen Simpson blood to taint the glove found at Rockingham and the socks found inside Simpson's home. Bugliosi notes that Vannatter would be a very unlikely candidate to commit a frame-up. He had never previously received an infractions or complaints about his job. He was also planning to retire soon. Bulgiosi also notes that there was so much blood already found at the crime scene on the night of the murders, that there was no way that the police could have accessed Simpson's blood and planted it.
The defense also claimed that there was some blood missing from Simpson's reference sample. During the preliminary hearing, LAPD nurse Thano Peratis said he took approximately 8 cc's of Simpson's blood. By the time of the trial, prosecutors could only account for 6.5 cc's. If the estimation by Peratis is correct, it means that 1.5 centiliters was missing. It was scarcely more than a quarter teaspoon full, but to the defense, it was plenty. According to Dershowitz, this missing amount could account for the blood on the glove, the socks, and the back gate. Bugliosi notes, however, that Peratis was very uncertain about the exact amount that he took from Simpson because it was the first time that anyone had actually asked how much blood he had taken from someone. Therefore, there is no way of knowing how much blood was taken from Simpson. It is worth noting that the type of instrument used to draw and store Simpson's blood had no measurement calibrations; it was impossible for anyone to know exactly how much blood was taken from Simpson.
Dershowitz is convinced that, based on the evidence, the jury made the right decision on finding O.J. Simpson "not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt". He notes that this does not mean that Simpson was innocent, but instead that there was not enough evidence to conclusively say he was guilty. Bugliosi believes that the "not guilty" verdict occurred because the case was examined too much. He believes that with any case, there is always minor discrepancies, inconsistencies, and unanswered questions that cannot be fully resolved, but that does not mean that the person is innocent. Bugliosi maintains that overall, there is such a large amount of evidence against Simpson that there is no possible way that he could be innocent.
Dershowitz believes that there will be no way to tell if Simpson was guilty or not because of the mishandling by the LAPD. Bugliosi believes, meanwhile, that Simpson is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the November 22, 1996 episode.
Several books and movies have been made about this case. The television series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and the documentary O.J. Made In America recently profiled the case.
Results: Unresolved. Most of those involved are certain now that O.J. Simpson is guilty of the murders, although he can never be re-tried, since he was acquitted. In February 1997, a jury found that were was sufficient evidence to hold Simpson liable in the wrongful death of Goldman and battery of Brown. In February 2008, a LA court upheld a renewal of the civil judgement against him.
In September 2007, Simpson was arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada, and charged with numerous felonies, including armed robbery and kidnapping. In 2008, he was convicted of all charges and sentenced to thirty-three years in prison. He continues to maintain that he is innocent for Nicole and Ron's murders and the crimes that he was recently convicted of.
Vincent Bugliosi passed away in 2015.
- Trial of O. J. Simpson on Wikipedia
- O.J. Simpson at Famously Arrested
- Nicole Simpson at Find a Grave
- Ron Goldman at Find a Grave