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25 Years Ago The OJ Simpson Murder Case Began

ABC News


This year marks 25 years since the start of one of the most infamous criminal cases in modern American history.


On June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were stabbed to death, and days later, Brown Simpson's ex-husband, former NFL star O.J. Simpson, was arrested in the gruesome double murder.


Simpson, already a father to three children with ex-wife Marguerite Whitley, married Nicole Brown in 1985. They had two children, Sydney and Justin. In 1992, Simpson and Nicole Brown Simpson divorced.


On the night of June 12, 1994, Brown Simpson and her family dined at a Los Angeles restaurant and she later returned to her Los Angeles home. Ron Goldman, a waiter at that restaurant, went to Brown Simpson's home to return glasses her mother had left at the restaurant. Around midnight, Brown Simpson and Goldman were found stabbed to death at Brown Simpson's home.


Simpson was in Los Angeles the evening of June 12 but took a late flight that night to Chicago. When he returned to Los Angeles the next day, he was interviewed by police, but not immediately arrested.


On June 17 prosecutors ordered Simpson to surrender, but instead he fled in a white Ford Bronco with his friend Al Cowlings, leading police on a 90-minute slow-speed car chase that brought Southern California freeways to a standstill and drew in a network television audience of 95 million Americans.


In 1995, Simpson's trial transfixed the country. Defense attorneys claimed Simpson was wrongly accused but prosecutors argued that Simpson was a controlling husband who abused Brown Simpson. Prosecutors also pointed to blood from the crime scene found in Simpson's car and home, and the fact that he was unaccounted for for more than an hour on the night of the killings.


During the trial, the prosecution asked Simpson to put on gloves believed to have been worn by the killer, but they didn't appear to fit properly. Defense attorney Johnnie Cochran famously told the jury in his closing argument, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit."


On Oct. 3, 1995, Simpson was acquitted of all criminal charges. In 1997, a civil jury found Simpson liable for wrongful death in the double murder. Simpson was ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages to the Brown and Goldman families.