Published On: Thu, Apr 11th, 2024

How OJ Simpson was acquitted in murder ‘Trial of the Century’ | US | News

OJ Simpson, the former NFL legend turned film star who in 1995 was acquitted of the brutal murder of his ex-wife and her friend, has died of cancer aged 76.

A statement released on April 11 by his family family read: “On April 10, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer.

“He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren. During this time of transition, his family asks that you please respect their wishes for privacy and grace.”

After being accused in 1994 of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and waiter Ron Goldman, Simpson undertook a trial – dubbed “trial of the century” because of the international attention it attracted.

A total of 11 months passed from the moment the jurors were sworn-in in November 1994 to the day in which the verdict was announced in October 1995.

At the outset of the case, Simpson declared himself “absolutely 100 percent not guilty”, and maintained his innocence throughout his life.

While the trial lasted for several months, the jurors reached their decision in under four hours, with the majority of them finding Simpson not guilty.

One of the most theatrical and defining moments of the trial saw Simpson trying on a pair of blood-stained black gloves – one of which had been recovered from the scene of the murder.

While prosecutors were confident the gloves would fit and show he was the killer, the former NFL player seemingly struggled to put on the gloves, showing to the jury they didn’t fit.

Johnnie Cochran, the lawyer who played a leading role in the defence and criminal acquittal of Simpson, famously said of the episode in closing arguments: “If the glove does not fit, you must acquit.”

In the years that followed, many of the jurors spoke about their reasons for acquitting the former actor and football player.

In a press conference the day after the trial, juror Brenda Moran said: “In plain English, the glove didn’t fit.”

Another juror, David A. Aldana, told The New York Times he considered Simpson not guilty because “things just didn’t add up” in relation to the evidence presented in court. Speaking about his decision, he also maintained that he can “sleep at night, no problem”.

Appearing on the TV programme The Jury Speaks, juror Yolanda Crawford defended the panel’s swift decision, saying: “We had reasonable doubt. Did we need to go on for days talking about how much doubt we had?”

Speaking about the showstopping moment of the glove, she added she could not believe co-prosecutor Christopher Darden had allowed the moment to happen. She said: “I looked at Darden, and I was like, ‘I can’t believe you fell for it’.”

Peter Arenella, a UCLA law professor, told The New York Times after the verdict: “A predominantly African-American jury was more susceptible to claims of police incompetence and corruption and more willing to impose a higher burden of proof than normally required for proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The verdict showed a split within the US, with many Black Americans celebrating Simpson’s acquittal as they saw Simpson as a victim of police while many white Americans were left appalled by his exoneration.

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