Where were you during O.J.’s slow speed chase?
LOS ANGELES – When former football star and actor O.J. Simpson was charged with the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman, the chase, trial and verdict captivated the nation.
The prosecution, defense, and even Simpson’s house guest became household names.
Nearly 20 years later, here’s a look at what happened to some of the major players.
O.J. Simpson was considered one of the greatest running backs in football history, earning All-American honors at the University of Southern California and winning the Heisman Trophy in 1968. He set several National Football League records before retiring in 1979 and was later elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He went on to work as a sports commentator and actor.
On June 17, 1994, police brought murder charges against Simpson. On October 3, 1995, he was acquitted after a lengthy, high-profile trial. But Simpson’s life hardly returned to normal. He lost a civil trial brought against him in the case and in 1997 was ordered to pay more than $33 million in damages to the Brown and Goldman families.
In September 2007, Simpson and several others went into a Las Vegas hotel room to get sports memorabilia Simpson said belonged to him. The men confronted the dealers and brandished weapons but did not fire them.
Simpson, now 66, said he was going after what was rightfully his, saying he regretted only bringing along men “who I didn’t know and one I didn’t trust.”
Exactly 13 years after he was acquitted in the murder trial, a jury found Simpson guilty on 12 charges, including kidnapping and armed robbery. He is serving a 33-year sentence, and will be eligible for parole in 2017.
Judge Lance Ito
Judge Lance Ito, who made the decision to allow cameras in the courtroom for Simpson’s trial and changed the course of televised trials, is still on the Los Angeles Superior Court bench.
Ito plans to retire on January 5, 2015.
Marcia Clark spent years as a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles. She became a household name as the lead prosecutor in the Simpson murder trial, one of the only cases she ever lost.
Clark was paid $4 million for her 1997 book about the case and wrote a series of mystery novels. Clark has also published short stories. Her latest book, “The Competition,” is due out July 2014.
Clark closed the door on her career as a prosecutor, but continued to stay active with the law by working on appellate court cases. She was also a frequent legal commentator and analyst for several TV networks, including CNN.
The Los Angeles district attorney during the Simpson trial served one more term after the trial despite criticism of how he handled it. He eventually made a career change.
“My focus is on photography and other things not related to the criminal justice system or even to the law. I made that career decision when I left, after the voters told me to leave,” he told CNN.
Garcetti has created seven books of photographic essays, with an eighth coming out next year in Japan.
Like many of his photography collections dealing with social causes, the new book is about water-limited wells in West Africa.
Since leaving the district attorney’s office, Garcetti has become an outspoken opponent of the death penalty. He has also consulted on TV crime shows like “The Closer.”
His son, Eric, is mayor of Los Angeles.
During Simpson’s 1995 trial, Cochran famously quipped, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” in reminding jurors during his summation that the former star football running back couldn’t fit his hand inside a bloody glove found at the scene of the killings.
The simple rhyme hammered home for jurors the defense’s argument that the evidence against Simpson not only failed to fit the crime, but also the defendant himself.
Cochran convinced the jury that race defined the Simpson case and the police investigation.
In his 2002 book, “A Lawyer’s Life,” Cochran wrote that the Simpson case “gave me the platform to try to change some of those things that need to be changed in this country.”
“It was the Simpson case that put me squarely in a position to make a difference. And that was precisely the reason I became an attorney,” he wrote. The Cochran Firm, which he founded, has offices around the country.
Cochran died on March 29, 2005, at age 67, in his home in Los Angeles. He had been suffering from an inoperable brain tumor.
By the time he took the helm of Simpson’s “dream team” legal defense, his other clients had included Johnny Carson, Rod Stewart and baseball players Darryl Strawberry, Jose Canseco and Vince Coleman.
As the trial wore on, Shapiro was pushed aside to make room for Johnnie Cochran.
He went on to write legal books and offer legal analysis for news programs.
In 2001, Shapiro co-founded the website LegalZoom to help regular consumers and businesses prepare legal documents on their own.
Shapiro’s son Brent died of an apparent drug overdose in 2005. With his wife, Linell, and son, Grant, he founded the Brent Shapiro Foundation to honor Brent and his life and to increase awareness of alcohol and drug addiction.
In 2010, Lindsay Lohan hired Shapiro as her attorney, according to her father.
F. Lee Bailey
Another “dream team” attorney known for his celebrity clients such as Dr. Sam Sheppard and Patty Hearst, Bailey joined the team and drew attention to detective Mark Fuhrman’s racist comments.
He has written at length on why he believes in Simpson’s innocence.
“I am still convinced and have been since the day I took the case that O.J. Simpson had nothing to do with the murder of Nicole or Ronald Goldman,” he said.
Bailey later was disbarred in Massachusetts and Florida for misconduct, and as of 2014 has given up seeking readmission to the bar. He spends his days flying airplanes and helicopters.
Robert Kardashian, a close friend of Simpson and an attorney, participated in the trial as part of Simpson’s defense team.
When Simpson took off down the freeway during the infamous white Bronco chase, Kardashian stepped to the microphones to read a note from his close friend.
“To whom it may concern, first, everyone understand I had nothing to do with Nicole’s murder. … Don’t feel sorry for me. I’ve had a great life, great friends. Please think of the real O.J. and not this lost person. Thanks for making my life special. I hope I helped yours,” he read.
Kardashian died at age 59 in 2003 from esophageal cancer.
His ex-wife, Kris, and his children, Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and Rob, became television stars with their reality show, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
Alan Dershowitz played a major role in Simpson’s defense team. He is retiring this year after 50 years of teaching at Harvard University.
After all of these years, Dershowitz says people still hate him.
“People send me e-mails, to this day, damning me to hell. Telling me I won’t be able to face my maker,” he said. “And it’s as if the verdict had come down yesterday.”
Dershowitz has continued his prolific career as an attorney in high profile cases, a law school educator and writer of books and articles and a major voice as an Israel advocate.
His legal autobiography, “Taking The Stand: My Life in the Law,” came out in October 2013.
Mark Fuhrman, a former Los Angeles Police Department detective, gave testimony about the police investigation of the Nicole Brown Simpson and O.J. Simpson residences. He also found the infamous bloody glove. The defense tried to paint Fuhrman as a racist who planted the glove to frame Simpson. That played a major role in framing the trial about race.
Fuhrman testified he had not used the N-word in the last 10 years and branded anyone who said he had a liar, but he later pleaded no contest to perjury charges.
He is now a forensic and crime scene expert for FOX News.
According to his Fox bio, he received 55 official commendations during his 20 years with the LAPD and is a New York Times best-selling author. Fuhrman also hosts the Spokane, Washington, radio show, “The Mark Fuhrman Show.”
Kato Kaelin lived in Simpson’s guest house at the time of the murders, and he was called to the stand as a witness.
He said he had a “gut feeling” that Simpson was guilty.
Kaelin now says he tries not to even think about the trial.
“I’m about life. And I always think of the trial as being — a dark period,” said Kaelin.
Kaelin said he believes his part in the trial made it difficult to get acting roles at first, because he was just “a caricature of Kato,” but now he feels it is just another part of his life.
Since the trial, Kaelin has done some acting — mostly in reality TV shows — and hosts his own show in Beverly Hills.
In addition, he is part of a clothing line called, “Kato’s Kouch Potatoes,” named for what he called his portrayal in the media during the trial as a big-haired slacker and freeloader: a couch potato. “You know, embrace your inner slacker,” he said.
Ron Goldman’s mourning father was outspoken in demanding justice for his son.
He filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Simpson in 1997 after Simpson was cleared of criminal charges in the murders. That civil suit found Simpson liable for the deaths, and ordered him to pay $33.5 million in damages.
“I find it remarkable that people are still as passionate as ever. I had a man just literally, days ago came up to me and in a matter of seconds he was crying. Because he felt so strongly about … what a wrong … the verdict had been,” he said.
In 2007, a federal bankruptcy judge awarded Goldman 90% of the proceeds from the sales of a book by Simpson, which speaks in hypothetical terms about the 1994 murders.
Ronald Goldman’s sister, Kim, testified that she found a white shirt and black slacks similar to the kind her brother wore for work draped over a door in his apartment. Prosecutors said the discovery indicated Goldman hurriedly changed his clothes before going to Nicole Brown Simpson’s house.
In May 2014, Goldman wrote a book about her brother’s death and her experiences with the trial, saying it had taken the last decade-plus years for her to find her voice.
“I feel like after my brother died, I was lost and I was very much Fred’s daughter and Ron’s sister and now Sam’s mom. But I didn’t know who Kim was. And when my brother died I was just very much coming into my own and just lost my way,” she said.
The book is titled “Can’t Forgive: My 20-Year Battle with O.J. Simpson.” When asked why she cannot forgive, Goldman said, “I don’t know how and I don’t know that I need to. … In my impression of what it means to forgive … it means to make it OK.”
Nicole Brown Simpson’s sister, Denise, testified in the murder trial that her sister was an abused wife.
“I miss Nicole terribly. I feel horrible about Ron Goldman but I just can’t even go back there anymore. I just remember for myself feeling so angry. And it took me 13 years to get over that anger. And it’s just something I don’t want to feel anymore,” she recently said, “I just want to be able to remember Nicole as we were. The fun times that we had.”
In 1994, Denise started the Nicole Brown Charitable Foundation, working to raise awareness about domestic violence issues, but it has since shut down.
In 2010, Brown started a group for public speakers on domestic violence, sexual assault, mental health and more, called The Elite Speaker’s Bureau Inc.
Limousine driver Allan Park drove Simpson to the Los Angeles airport the night of the murders.
He testified that he drove by Simpson’s entrance twice and did not see the Simpson Bronco parked there either time. He said he rang the entrance buzzer several times and saw a shadowy figure dressed in black enter the house at 10:55 p.m. A man he believed to be Simpson answered the intercom and said he overslept.
The defense had said Simpson was outside playing golf at 10:15 p.m.
“I told myself at a very early part of this trial that I never, ever was going to let this change my life. Not who I was and who I was going be. And I stuck to that,” he said, “And I was true to myself and I was true to my testimony.”
To avoid pressure he felt from the media and fears he developed about retaliation for his testimony, he discreetly moved in with family on Catalina Island for seven years.
He did a few celebrity golf tournaments and now works as a train conductor in California.
Faye Resnick said she was a friend of Nicole Brown Simpson and had a 30-minute conversation with her a short time before the murder.
In October 1994, Resnick wrote “Nicole Brown Simpson: The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted” which touched off a firestorm, threatening jury selection and causing Judge Lance Ito to ask television shows to cancel their planned interviews with her.
Louis Brown said his daughter and Resnick were not close friends.
Today, Resnick is a television personality and interior designer, best known for her appearances on the reality show “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”