What do we reckon about...... O.J. Simpson?

Most people ask just one question about O.J. Simpson - did he really do it? My quest for the truth follows, including photos of a meeting with O.J. trial judge Lance Ito, and pictures of a journey to Nicole Brown's condominium;

In 1996, my wife Debi and I enjoyed a wonderful summer tour of the Los Angeles area. Apart from the Sun, the movie industry and the theme parks, one motivation for visiting was our fascination with the criminal trial of O.J. Simpson, who was accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown, and her friend Ronald Goldman on June 12, 1994. We watched almost the entirety of the trial live from the UK, on the excellent Sky News channel.

One night, we dined at a Black Angus restaurant in Orange County, and struck gold. Sitting on the very next table was one of O.J. trial judge Lance Ito's court stenographers. The trial was still pretty fresh in everyone's minds, and she was talking about it with some friends. I introduced myself, and before too long, the stenographer had organised a personal appointment for Debi and myself - with Lance Ito.











That's me there, outside the Courts Building, and then in Lance Ito's office - Debi took both photos. For a couple of tourists, it was an amazing meeting - the oak door of his chamber, the red carpet, the tea and biscuits, with arguably the most famous judge in history. He couldn't talk about the trial, of course, but it was an incredible twenty minutes. He concluded by saying that the photo on the right might be worth a lot of money one day - well, I'm not sure about that, any bids please to stevestoneintrepid@live.co.uk...... I'm joking, of course.

What I am sure about is that one of the key defence arguments during the trial was timeline. On the evening of June 12, 1994, O.J. had to fly from Los Angeles, for an appointment the next day in Chicago. Taking into account his known movements, a time window of around 45 minutes was available for him to drive from his Rockingham mansion to Nicole's condominium on Bundy Drive, commit the crimes, and then return to meet his limousine taxi to the airport. 

One lunchtime during the trial, the jurors were taken on a bus trip, covering the key locations. It took the bus a long time to navigate the traffic between Rockingham and Bundy, raising the question of whether O.J. could have really got it all done in such a short time window.

We hired a red Dodge Stratus for our trip to LA, so I decided to put the timeline to the test;











I drove between Rockingham and Bundy, one busy Thursday lunchtime. I went a little over the speed limit, on what for an Englishman was the wrong side of the road, and completed the distance in exactly...... 4 1/2 minutes. That leaves 36 minutes of the time window unaccounted for, and if O.J. was at the house in the right-hand photo on the night in question, he would have driven the route on a quiet Sunday evening.

Debi is known to talk a lot, but when we arrived at Nicole's place, we got out of the car, and spent almost a full minute in silence, looking through the front gate. A feeling of sadness overwhelmed us. Then I decided to drive around to the alley at the back. It was secluded, with not much in the way of visible street lighting. Parking up, I noticed that vegitation in the nearby gardens meant that not many of the surrounding windows had a clear view of the rear of the place. 

There was a tall gate beside garages at the back of the property. Getting out of the car, my highest jump granted me only a fleeting glimpse of what laid beyond. So to Debi's amazement, I climbed onto the hire car, and got a clear view of the front gate, down the side of the place. She begged me to get down, but I stood on the car for almost a full minute.

Again, an overwhelming feeling of sadness engulfed me. But then the possible truth of what really happened that evening in 1994 hit me. Why did an old guy testify at the trial that he thought he saw O.J.'s white Ford Bronco outside the front of the place, but couldn't quite be sure? Why would someone up to no good park up at the front, when there's a quiet alley around the back? Even on a busy Thursday lunchtime, it was a full fifteen minutes before anyone came along that alley.

If O.J. was there on the night in question, maybe the old guy wasn't sure, because what he really saw was just a flash of the Bronco, on its way around the back. Maybe O.J. didn't go there to murder anyone, maybe he was really on a spying mission - it's no secret he was a jealous guy, and it wouldn't have been the first time. Maybe he pulled up at the back where I did - at night, it would have been an ideal location to sit, with the intention of observing. Maybe O.J. entered from the back, not the front, as has always been widely believed. Maybe he scaled the back gate, or quietly let himself in under the cover of semi-darkness - he owned a key to the gate, and it was also suggested in Chapter Six of his book 'If I Did It' (Beaufort Books, 2007) that the gate was broken at the time.

Maybe O.J. secretly carried a knife in the Bronco for his own protection. Maybe he kept a pair of tight-fitting driving gloves in the car. Maybe he saw the view of the front gate that I did. Maybe he saw something that enraged him. Maybe he thought the contents of the envelope Ron Goldman had for Nicole contained a romantic gift, rather than a simple pair of eyeglasses - it must have happened when Ron was handing the envelope to Nicole, because the envelope was found by police at the scene, still containing the glasses.

But the jury at the criminal trial didn't see it that way. The defence team did a marvellous job, it has to be said. DNA analysis was in its infancy at the time, and expert Barry Scheck did a great job of discrediting the almost undiscreditable. But the late Johnnie Cochran was the real star. I was transfixed to his twenty-minute summing up, right at the end of the trial. When he was talking about O.J.'s glove, who could forget the famous phrase, "....if it doesn't fit, you must acquit." I stared at the screen for a full hour and a half after he had finished speaking - that's how long it took me to re-convince myself that O.J. was indeed guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt. It would be over 13 years before an orator had me glued to the television in such a manner - it was Barack Obama, in his electrifying inauguration speech.

Perhaps it was poetic justice that O.J. Simpson was later found legally responsible for the deaths of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, in a civil trial. Maybe it was also poetic justice that many years later, O.J. was jailed on an un-related charge. Not full justice for the victims' families, perhaps, but although I'm in little doubt that O.J. did indeed do something terrible on that night in 1994, maybe we should remember that he has also achieved some good things in his life - he was 1968 Heisman Trophy winner, film actor and entertainer, sports commentator, and above all, he did a lot of work for charity.

So perhaps a small part of me wishes O.J. Simpson well, when he gets out of jail, for what will be the last few remaining years of his life. I can't say fairer than that.

3 comments:

  1. Hi this blog is really good. I share this blog to my friend. This is really great job man. Keep update to your blog and keep posting realistic and good. The travels is more competion to our world. All the best for your future process good keep it up bye...

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  2. I remember being home for lunch the day the verdict was read and being completely floored that he was found not guilty. Later I was once again left speechless when he wrote that tasteless book.

    Did you pay similar attention to the Scott Peterson trial? That one had me enthralled as well.

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  3. Yep, we were similarly aghast, watching the verdict live from the UK. Even here, everyone was talking about it for ages. Johnnie Cochran's 'not guilty' sale was made a bit easier, because the jury was mixed-race.

    Heard about the Scott Peterson trial somewhere, but don't know much about it.

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