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Orenthal James Simpson and His Homicide Case


Orenthal James Simpson (OJ) was a world-famous football player and actor of his time. His career was mainly flamboyant but he was also at the center stage of arguably the most widely publicized criminal case in the United States. OJ was accused of killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in, the people of the state of California vs. O.J Simpson, which took place in 1994/1995 (Anastaplo 381). OJ was acquitted of all the charges after assembling a high-profile defense team headed by Robert Shapiro (Ayers 859). The defense team was able to convince the jury that there was reasonable doubt in the case, by puncturing holes into the prosecution’s case, especially regarding the DNA evidence produced by the Los Angeles County (which had also not been widely used as evidence in criminal proceedings before). This fact forms the basis for this paper because it aims to analyze the significance of the Simpson case and how it affected the American legal system. Evidence will be given of the mistakes made by the investigative team, after giving an account of the facts supporting the case. Later, a personal conviction of the case will be made and the significance of the study analyzed.


OJ’s ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were both found dead outside Nicole’s driveway in Bentwood California at 11:40 p.m. (Okeke-Ibezim 38). The murder was alleged to have taken place on 12 June 1994, after the two victims were found to have suffered fatal stab wounds. Nicole had been fatally stabbed through the neck to a point of near decapitation, while Goldman was found with “teaser” knife stabs on his body. Naturally, OJ was arrested as the prime suspect because they had initially divorced his wife, two years before the murder and he had a history of abusing his wife.

The OJ Murder trial starts from an account of a trip to McDonald’s. Kato Kaelin, who was a house guest of OJ Simpson, gives an account of returning home at 9:40 pm with OJ. Prosecutors allege that OJ later took his gloves and knight cap then went over to his wife’s house and killed her, together with Goldman, whom prosecutors allege was at the crime scene, at the wrong time (Ayers 859). Since the murder occurred in an up-market neighborhood, there were believed to be no witnesses, except for Nicole’s, dog, Akita, which was found with bloodstains. The first account of the case by the prosecution was that, the murder occurred within minutes (from 10:15 pm), but as the case progressed, this time limit was pushed by OJ’s defense team to 10:35 pm, so that it sounded ridiculous for OJ to have committed the murder and rushed home very quickly (Gilbert 204).

Robert Heidstra, Nicole’s neighbor, testified that at the time of the murder, she heard voices from Nicole’s house, but in other testimonies, she said that she heard voices sounding like OJ’s (Gilbert 204). The same witness gave accounts of having seen a vehicle resembling OJ’s white Ford speeding away from the murder scene, thereby strengthening the prosecutor’s claim that, even if the murder was committed as late as 10:35 pm, OJ could still have had enough time to drive to his residence (Carter 82). The prosecutors alleged that OJ could have driven home in a record five minutes, thereby backing Kaelin’s testimony that he heard bumps at 10:40 pm in OJ’s residence. At 10:55 pm, it was said that the limousine meant to drive OJ to the airport pulled up in OJ’s driveway and the driver gave an account of seeing a black man, six feet tall and weighing about 200 pounds coming through the back of the house (Vile 123). The limousine driver also gave an account of buzzing OJ’s intercom to no avail. The defense team could not give an account of a missing one hour and ten minutes when OJ’s whereabouts after 10:40 pm could not be established (Gilbert 204).

Mistakes Made in Crime Scene

Mistake How it could be corrected
Taking wet blood samples and storing them in a hot environment (at the back of a truck). This act led to the contamination of evidence The blood samples should not be stored in a hot environment because it tampered with DNA. It should instead be placed in a cool environment.
Failure to change gloves when handling evidence from the crime scene and the suspect’s blood samples The investigator should have changed gloves when handling OJ’s blood because it would be difficult to ascertain if O.J’s blood was at the scene of crime (or not) since he used the same gloves at the crime scene
Too many people were allowed at the crime scene to view the bodies before the investigators collected evidence Access to the crime scene should have been kept at a minimum to prevent any possible contamination (Kainz 7)
Covering Nicole’s body with a blanket from inside the house to prevent her from being photographed Nicole’s body should have been covered by a clean sheet (if it was really necessary) for minimum contamination
Failure to guard the crime scene (street) with tape, thereby losing evidence such as tire marks The crime scene should have been taped (round its perimeter), including its access road so that tire marks are examined too. Also, the taping should have been done some meters from the crime scene to keep the press at bay (Hunt 143)
No clear description of the police department in charge of the crime scene. Every police unit was all over the scene of murder One police department (with one police head) should have been assigned to safeguard the crime scene, to prevent disorientation of information and evidence
Lead detectives in the case left the crime scene to their juniors to inform OJ of the death of his ex-wife. The crime scene was therefore left to a fifth party. Again, Lange (a lead detective) left the crime scene to take part in the OJ interview at the police headquarters The crime scene should have been headed by a senior officer because senior officers are the most competent police officers to handle evidences and crime scenes. For instance, some blood stains were found weeks later, after the crime scene was open to the public (because of poor supervision)
The failure of the nurse (who took OJ’s blood) to ascertain the volume of blood taken from the suspect The nurse should have recorded the correct volume of blood taken from the suspect so that the findings of the DNA examination is credible
Blood samples from OJ had to be driven back to the crime scene to be handed to the lead evidence collector The blood samples taken from the suspect should have been taken straight to the lab because driving it back to the crime scene gave the defense team grounds to purport that it was planted on the scene
The videographer failed to note the correct time when Fung collected the blood-stained socks from under OJ’s bed The officers should have waited for the cameraman to start filming the OJ house search, so that all evidence collected is documented. This would have improved the quality of the evidence
Nicole’s blood-stained dress was dried in an unprofessional way which could have led to its contamination, thereby distorting the credibility of the evidence Nicole’s blood-stained dress should have been dried in the least contaminative way to reduce chances of contaminating the evidence
The detectives took an unusually long time (ten hours) before they examined the victims’ bodies (Gilbert 204) The bodies should have been examined in the least time to prevent the chances of contamination
Failing to secure OJ’s home (which was also a crime scene) because the hedges were later trimmed, thereby tampering with the limousine driver’s account of seeing a black man walking inside OJ’s compound O.J’s home should not have been left to the public, and more so, the defense team to modify its topography. This contravened the witness’ account of seeing a black person through the hedges (Klockars 11)
Mixing of bile and urine samples from OJ’s former wife, Nicole The bile and urine samples should have been correctly labeled to uphold the credibility of the prosecution’s claim
Discarding Mrs. Simpson’s stomach contents, thereby providing no further grounds to analyze the stab wounds Mrs. Simpson’s stomach contents should have been preserved for further examination

Did OJ do it?

I believe OJ committed the murder, based on several factors. First, the blood stains found in OJ’s car contained Nicole and Goldman’s blood. This was more than sheer coincidence. Secondly, Nicole’s blood was found on OJ’s pair of socks which were retrieved from his house (Schuetz 109). There was no way her blood could be at OJ’s house if he did not have anything to do with her murder. Thirdly, Goldman’s hair was found on OJ’s shirt. OJ must have lied to the court because he claimed he never knew him. Fourth, the glove found in OJ’s house contained Goldman and Nicole’s blood. It is more than sheer coincidence that Nicole and Goldman’s blood appeared on OJ’s car and his gloves. Fifth, OJ’s personal account of his troubles with his wife (hard copy documents) were shredded, soon after the police showed their intention to use it in court. Sixth, OJ was found to have Nicole’s stolen house keys (Greene 303). Seventh, it was confirmed that OJ had previously beaten Nicole, and he even served three years of community service because of this reason. Eighth, the bloody footprints from the scene of crime matched a pair of rare Bruno Magli shoes owned by OJ. Ninth, Nicole’s friends gave accounts of her declaration that OJ had been stalking her and his threats to kill her. Lastly, OJ was a very jealous man. These accounts point out to the fact that, OJ committed the murder.

Conclusion (Significance of Case)

The OJ case is significant to the history of American justice because it exposes the need for credible investigations and proper handling of evidence. Though the case was just like any other murder case, the public was treated to a gross misconduct on the part of the investigation team, especially regarding the handling of evidence. Also, the case set a precedent regarding the involvement of the press in high profile cases because public attention was observed to cause a lot of pressure to the legal team. Based on these facts, the Simpson murder case was significant to America’s justice system

Works Cited

Anastaplo, George. On trial: from Adam & Eve to O.J. Simpson. Los Angeles: Lexington Books, 2004. Print.

Ayers, Edward. American Passages: A History of the United States. New York: Cengage Learning, 2009. Print.

Carter, Cynthia. News, Gender, and Power. London: Routledge, 1998. Print.

Gilbert, Mike. How I Helped O.J. Get Away With Murder: The Shocking Inside Story of Violence, Loyalty, Regret, and Remorse. New York: Regnery Publishing, 2008. Print.

Greene, Edie. Wrightsman’s Psychology and the Legal System. London: Cengage Learning, 2006. Print.

Hunt, Darnell. O.J. Simpson Facts and Fictions: News Rituals in the Construction Of Reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Print.

Kainz, Howard. Politically Incorrect Dialogues: Topics Not Discussed In Polite Circles. Los Angeles: Rodopi, 1999. Print.

Klockars, Carl. Enhancing Police Integrity. New York: Springer, 2006. Print.

Okeke-Ibezim, Felicia. O. J. Simpson: The Trial of the Century. New York: Ekwike Books & Publishing, 1997. Print.

Schuetz, Janice. The O.J. Simpson Trials: Rhetoric, Media, and the Law. New York: SIU Press, 1999. Print.

Vile, John. Great American Lawyers: An Encyclopedia, Volume 1. Washington: ABC-CLIO, 2001. Print.

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