Launching the new American Crime Story TV serial, the story of OJ Simpson’s murder trial has re-entered the public imagination with many of us gripped to our screens. I mean, did he do it, man? He was found not guilty of the double-murder but he still ended up in jail for kidnapping and armed robbery not long after. 2017 will see OJ up for parole for these crimes but for the murders of Nicole and Ronald, this jury’s still out.
But now there’s been a new twist the curious discovery of the buried knife.
All the evidence seems to show that he did but his denials seem so compelling. Or rather, Cuba Gooding Jr’s acting skills are compelling and remind us why he won that Oscar way back in 1997. But now there’s been a new twist in the mystery: the recent and curious discovery of the buried knife at the old Simpson estate. So it just gets weirder and weirder but we never really know, did he do it, we review the case and give you a snap shot of one of the most famous crimes in American history.
The Alleged Crimes
OJ Simpson was accused of the premeditated murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Lyle Goldman in June 1994. Both of the deceased were stabbed repeatedly and violently in one of the most gruesome crimes in modern history and a trail of evidence seemed to point to OJ Simpson which led to what was called the “trial of the century.”
The Buried Knife
You couldn’t make this story up if you tried and it has movie script written all over it. Some time ago, although no one is really clear on the date, a construction worker found a buried knife at the site of the Simpson residence when it was being demolished. He gave it to a cop that just happened to be on the street at the time and the cop just took it home and kept it there ever since until he retired in January 2016.
OJ was actually found not guilty in the original case and in American law, this means he can never be tried again. They can investigate til they’re blue in the face and even prove 100% that he killed his ex-wife and her friend but if they prove it, it doesn’t matter one smidge. OJ Simpson could be getting away with double-murder.
The Controversial Backdrop
It was a truly fascinating crime due to some serious and challenging issues of the time: LAPD racism, feminism and the ‘new’ science of DNA. You may laugh, but these conundrums were of massive importance in framing the Simpson case.
A culture of racism within the LAPD meant that everyone was suspicious of the police and ready to believe that they could have set OJ up for murder just for being a black man. It’s scary but no less possible. According to a recent CNN/ORC poll, America is still racially divided on the case of OJ which also suggests these divisions have a lot more healing to go before we can claim equality.
The feminist turn which placed lead prosecutor in a fiery and justice-seeking mood to bring domestic violence into the public eye, regardless of how famous the perp and OJ had been revealed on tape actually beating up his wife.
Instead of leading the case in one direction, racism and feminism competed against each other creating more confusion and hearsay, fuelling the frenzy that was attached to OJ.
The most interesting change in culture was DNA evidence which was pioneered through the OJ Simpson case by Barry Scheck and Peter Neifeld who founded the Innocent Project. Now this did have positive impacts on a racist system which saw the use of DNA evidence reverse the convinctions of wrongfully convicted prison inmates. Among those freed were 70% people of color. OJ may be guilty or not guilty. Race may have played a part in the trial, positively or negatively but ultimately, his high powered and crazy expensive defence led to the freedom of many who could have rotted in jail for the rest of their lives. That’s gotta be something, right?
Controversy, Falsehoods and Lies?
The case has always been filled with controversy, falsehoods and downright lies but a lot of stuff doesn’t add up if OJ really is innocent, especially in the immediate aftermath of the crimes.
The so-called suicide note, read live on air by Robert Kardashian in which OJ claimed he didn’t kill Nicole was really weird. Even though after it was said that it was just a cry for help and support and a reaction to the circus that the murder had turned into, something just ring true.
It was also rumored that when OJ finally surrendered the Bronco after that high speed chase that finally led to his capture, a fake goatee and mustache were found alongside his passport and gun. There was also a suggestion that he was meant to be arriving at a secret location to set off on a private yacht with no plans for return. Why would an innocent man have a disguise and set up a secret solo yacht trip?
However, on the flip side of the coin, there was a detailed confession of the double-murder by serial killer Glen Rogers (currently on death row). Apparently his account was convincing and he managed to produce what he said was the murder weopon. Little follow up was pursued so maybe, just maybe, it was a set up.
The Most Famous Case in History?
Was It the most famous case in history? Well, the high speed chase that millions of Americans were glued to took place on the same day as some of the most significant sporting moments: the opening of The World Cup, The NBA finals, The Stanley Cup, Arnold Palmer’s last round at the US Open and the day that Ken Griffy Jr. tied Babe Ruth for the most runs. No one remembers the day any of these things happened. But they do remember OJ racing down the freeway in his white Bronco. The subsequent trial pulled some of the highest audiences in TV history beaten only by the later events of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Most famous? We say hell yeah.