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Reflecting on O.J. Simpson’s Life After Death at 76

O.J. Simpson Sitting in Courtroom during Murder Trial in 1995
O.J. Simpson Sitting in Courtroom during Murder Trial in 1995

Former NFL player, movie star, and murder suspect O.J. Simpson has died from cancer at the age of 76. O.J. Simpsons story has gone down notoriously as one of the biggest unsolved crimes in history with the acquitted trial in 1995 for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994.

Simpson publicly stated that he had been battling with prostate cancer nearly two months ago since May of 2023. He had been put through chemotherapy. On April 11th, 2024, one day after Simpson’s death, his family put out a public statement on ‘X’ saying, “On April 10th, 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.-The Simpson Family”

For his family, mourning and grief is a natural reaction. For others, such as Nicole’s family attorney Gloria Allred and Ron Goldman’s family attorney David Cook, the death of O.J. represents how the system failed to bring justice to Nicole and Ron. Allred on New York City’s ABC7 stated, “I don’t mourn for O.J. Simpson. I do mourn for Nicole Brown Simpson and her family. They should be remembered.” To which Cook stated, “He died without penance.”

Simpson’s Earlier Life:

O.J. Simpson on NFL Buffalo Bills Team

Beyond this trial though, Simpson had a long life of athleticism and fame prior to the murders. Simpson was first brought into the spotlight in the 1960s, when he played running back in football for the University of Southern California. He went on to win college footballs top award in 1968, the Heisman Trophy. His football career didn’t stop here though, Simpson then went on to become the first pick in the NFL draft in 1969, making his name as a Buffalo Bills player. Simpson retired in 1979 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985 for being the first player to reach a rushing mark many thought could not be attained in a 14-game season when he topped 2,000 yards.

O.J. Simpson in “The Naked Gun”

Simpson decided to leave football for the big screens, being in popular commercials throughout the 70s and movies such as “Capricorn One” and “The Naked Gun” series throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s.

The Murders:

For those who don’t know about O.J.’s role within the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, on the night of June 12th, 1994, Nicole had a family dinner in Los Angeles. Ron Goldman, a waiter at the dinner restaurant, went to Nicole’s house that night to return glasses her mother had left in the restaurant. Around midnight, Nicole and Ron were found stabbed to death in Nicole’s home. O.J. was in Los Angeles that evening of June 12th, but had taken a late night flight to Chicago. When he returned to Los Angeles the next day he was interviewed by police but not arrested.

Five days after the murder, June 17th, 1994, prosecutors ordered Simpson to surrender, but Simpson then fled in a white Ford Bronco with his friend Al Cowlings down Southern California Freeways. This attracted an audience of around 95 million Americans on network televisions. Simpson eventually surrendered and was arrested.

In early 1995, Simpson was put up to trial for the double homicide in 1994. Defense attorneys claimed Simpson was wrongly accused but prosecutors consistently argued that Simpson was a controlling husband who frequently abused Nicole. Prosecutors also pointed out the blood found from the crime scene in Simpson’s car and home, along with the fact he was unaccounted for more than an hour the night of Nicole and Rons death.

O.J. Simpson Trying on Suspected Murderers Gloves during 1995 Trial

Simpson was asked to put on the glove’s prosecutors believed the murderer wore during the killing, but they did not fit Simpson’s hands. Defense attorney Johnnie Cochran famously told the jury, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” Late 1995, Simpson was acquitted of all criminal charges and has remained his innocence today. Though, in 1997, a civil jury found Simpson liable for the wrongful deaths of Nicole and Ron, Simpson was ordered to pay $33.5 million dollars in damages to Nicole and Ron’s families.

Simpson’s Later Life:

This was nowhere near the end of Simpson’s criminal history though, in 2007, Simpson was caught trying to steal his “own sports memorabilia” at gunpoint from a Las Vegas Casino. He was charged with multiple felony counts. In 2008, he was found guilty of the robbery and sentenced up to 33 years in prison. In 2013 he was granted parole on some of the charges based off good behavior. It wasn’t until 2017 that Simpson was released from the Lovelock Correctional Institute in Nevada, he was 70 years old when he was released.

The story of O.J. Simpson’s life will go down in history for many years to come no matter how those may feel about the trial’s outcome or his rise to fame prior to. With mixed reactions to his passing from celebrities alike, how do you feel about Simpson’s death?

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About the Contributor
Brookelle Barnes
Brookelle Barnes, Editor/Reporter
She/Her, Class of 2024 aspiring school/guidance counselor, 2-year journalist wanting to share deeper meaning(s) on topics throughout my writings and reports.

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