Who was OJ Simpson, the soccer player who starred in the trial of the century and the most high-profile police chase in the United States – La Opinion

Who was OJ Simpson, the soccer player who starred in the trial of the century and the most high-profile police chase in the United States – La Opinion

OJ Simpson was one of the most recognized American athletes of his time until he ended up involved in a murder case that the American press dubbed “the trial of the century.”

The former professional American football player and actor, who was acquitted in that controversial trial for double homicide, died at the age of 76, according to his family this Thursday.

“On April 10, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren,” the family published on the X social network.

Simpson rose to prominence as a college football player before playing in the NFL and later came to be regarded as one of the best American football players in the United States.

He retired in 1979 to pursue a career in film and television. Her credits include roles in The Towering Inferno (“Hell in the Tower” or “The Burning Colossus”), Capricorn One (“Capricorn One”) and the saga The Naked Gun (“And where is the police?”).

His life took a turn when he was accused of the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

At the trial, held in 1995 and followed with great attention by American and world public opinion, Simpson was found not guilty, but could not escape the controversy generated by the case, which was covered by more than 2,000 journalists from around the world.

In 2008, he was sentenced to 33 years in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, which occurred during a confrontation at a Las Vegas hotel the previous year. He was released on parole in 2017.

“The trial of the century”

Before 1994, Simpson was regarded fondly by the American public, who knew him as a prominent professional athlete and actor. He also had million-dollar contracts to work as the public image and spokesperson for important American companies.

But that year, he was arrested as a suspect in the murders of Brown and Goldman.

The trial was one of the most notorious in the United States of the 20th century, shocking the nation and being broadcast on television in many parts of the world.

Prosecutors argued that Simpson killed Brown in a fit of jealousy.

Evidence presented at trial included blood, hair and fiber evidence linking Simpson to the murders.

In one of the trial’s most memorable moments, prosecutors asked Simpson to wear a pair of blood-stained gloves found at the murder scene, but Simpson had difficulty putting them on.

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Getty Images: The image of OJ Simpson showing his hands with gloves on during the double homicide trial went around the world in 1995.

The blunder led one of Simpson’s attorneys, Johnnie Cochrane, to tell the jury in his closing arguments: “If they don’t fit him, they should acquit him”.

The defense argued that Simpson had been framed by police motivated by racism.

The jury agreed with Simpson, who declared that he was “absolutely innocent.” The acquittal was hugely controversial.

On the run

It was on the afternoon of June 17, 1994 when more than 90 million people in the United States were able to see live on television how The police were chasing a white Ford Bronco along an interstate highway in Los Angeles, California.

OJ Simpson was traveling in it with his friend Al Cowlings.

It had been a few hours since Simpson had been declared a fugitive for not having surrendered to the authorities, who had filed charges against him for the deaths of Brown and Goldman.

This persecution was the prologue to the high-profile murder trial to which Simpson was subjected for nine months.

It all started on the night of Sunday, June 12, 1994, when police found the bodies of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman in the residence in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles where OJ Simpson’s ex-wife lived.

The victims had been stabbed and slit their throats while the two children, ages 9 and 6, of Brown and Simpson, who had divorced in 1992, were sleeping inside the house.

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Getty Images: OJ Simpson and Nicole Brown were married from 1985 to 1992, and had two children. Simpson also had three other children from a previous marriage.

As the hours passed and based on the evidence found at the crime scene and in Simpson’s home – including the famous bloody gloves – the authorities concluded that he had been involved in the crime.

Four days after the murders and after having questioned the suspect exhaustively, the Los Angeles police informed Simpson’s lawyers that they were going to file charges against their client, agreeing that he would turn himself in on the morning of June 17.

When the authorities showed up at the house where Simpson had taken refuge from media pressure, the former athlete – who, if found guilty, could face the death penalty – could not be found.

Simpson’s attorney, Robert Shapiro, told agents that his client had disappeared around noon and had last been seen in the company of his friend and former teammate Al Cowlings.

It was then that authorities held a dramatic press conference in which they announced that Simpson had become a fugitive and requested the public’s help so he could be captured.

Robert Shapiro also appeared before the media to ask his client to turn himself in “for the good of his family and his children.”.

Robert Kardashian – father of reality television star Kim Kardashian and personal friend of Simpson – read to the press one of the three letters that the former athlete had left before disappearing in which he denied being involved in the murder and seemed to indicate that he had intended of taking his life.

“Don’t feel sorry for me. I’ve had a great life, great friends. Please think about the real OJ and not this lost person“Simpson said in the letter.

An incredible televised chase

Around 6:45 p.m. on June 17, after receiving a complaint from a citizen, the police detected the former athlete in a white Ford Bronco truck while he was traveling on Interstate 405 accompanied by his best friend, Al Cowlings.

When police approached the vehicle, Cowlings, who was driving, told them that Simpson was in the back of the vehicle and had a gun pointed at his head.

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Getty Images: Almost 95 million people watched the OJ Simpson chase live.

The officers drove away and at that moment a low-speed chase began that would last for about 90 minutes and in which around twenty police patrol cars followed the Ford Bronco, while thousands of curious onlookers gathered on the side of the highway. They watched everything that was happening.

The main television networks interrupted their programming to retransmit the images of the escape that was being recorded from several helicopters, reaching an audience of close to 95 million viewers.

Even the NBC channel partially interrupted the broadcast of the fifth game of the NBA final that was being played that day to report Simpson’s escape.

It all ended around 8 p.m. in the mansion of the former athlete, who after remaining inside the vehicle for a few minutes while negotiating with the police, ended up surrendering.

That televised chase would be the preamble to a long trial that would keep Americans in suspense.

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