When superstar athlete O.J. Simpson was arrested and tried for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman, the true crime landscape was changed forever.
Below, five things to know about the still unsolved murders — and the trial that played out on national television.
1. It started with a “slow speed chase” that made national news.
Simpson’s arrest began with a slow-speed car chase on June 17, 1994. He was supposed to surrender to the LAPD at an appointed time. Instead, he fled the scene.
As the world watched, the LAPD chased Simpson in his white Bronco, while his friend Al Cowlings talked to police on a cell phone, for hours, according to CBS News.
As police helicopters hovered overhead, Cowlings was on the phone to police, saying, “He’s still alive, but he’s got a gun to his head… He just wants to see his mother, let me get him to the house.”
Fans lined the streets, held up signs, and urged him to run by yelling his nickname, “Juice.”
After a 75-mile surreal chase that lasted two hours, Simpson finally pulled into the driveway of his Brentwood home and surrendered.
2. A dog was a key witness.
Nicole’s dog Kato, who was named after houseguest Kato Kaelin, was instrumental in bringing neighbors to Nicole and Ron’s remains.
During Simpson’s preliminary hearing, neighbors stated that it was the dog’s barking that led them to the bodies on the night of June 12, according to TIME.
Steven Schwab, a neighbor, stated that he was out walking his own dog when he saw Kato — and noticed that the animal’s paws were covered in blood.
Schwab flagged down a police car and stayed with the dog, who continued to bark continuously. Another neighbor arrived, and was walking the dog to calm him down when he saw the blood at Nicole’s condo.
3. Simpson released a “confession” book written in the third person.
In 2006, the book, an allegedly hypothetical account of what Simpson would have done if he were the killer, was originally due to be published by ReganBooks and entitled O. J. Simpson: If I Did It, Here’s How It Happened.
Shortly after the announcement, the book was canceled due to outrage and protests over Simpson profiting from the deaths. The television special meant to accompany the book was cancelled — and did not air until 2018. After finally viewing the delayed interview, many in the press and public felt it was basically a confession to the crimes.
In August 2007, a Florida bankruptcy court awarded the rights to the book to the Goldman family to partially satisfy the civil judgment they’d won against Simpson. The title of the book was then changed to If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer.
In the book, Simpson says that someone named “Charlie,” the real killer, murdered Ron and Nicole.
4. Many experts believed that the trial verdict was heavily affected by the infamous “glove” moment in court.
Over the years, many legal experts have commented that the case was lost when prosecuting attorney Christopher Darden asked O.J. Simpson to try on a pair of leather gloves in court — and they appeared to be too tight.
Those believing the case was wrongly decided have offered several possible reasons for the bad fit — including the fact that the gloves had been soaked in blood and then dried, which resulted in shrinkage, and because Simpson was wearing rubber gloves underneath the evidence gloves.
Simpson’s former sports agent, Mike Gilbert, would later claim in a documentary that Simpson had stopped taking his arthritis medicine shortly before the trial began. This would have resulted in his hands becoming swollen, according to Business Insider.
While news media focused on the glove moment, the fact that prosecutors had presented compelling DNA evidence was lost in the background. This included a bloody shoeprint that matched Simpson’s shoe size, hair follicles “similar to” Simpson’s, and a glove found near Simpson’s home containing blood that tested positive as belonging to Goldman.
Blood was also found in Simpson’s Ford Bronco near the driver’s outside door handle — and even more blood was found inside the vehicle on the console, on the door, steering wheel, and carpeting.
But defense countered, citing police misconduct, poorly collected evidence, and pointing to the inconclusive nature of the shoeprint and hair sample.
This part of the trial became known for the catch phrase Simpson’s attorney Johnnie Cochran came up with: “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”
5. Simpson was eventually arrested and jailed on an unrelated crime.
Simpson was controversially acquitted of Nicole and Ron’s murders in 1995. He was, however, found liable for their deaths following a civil trial and ordered to pay the Goldman family $33.5 million, most of which still remains uncollected.
In 2007, Simpson was arrested in a sting operation in Las Vegas after attempting to steal back his own sports memorabilia. He was convicted, and served nine years in prison before his release in 2017.
Today, Simpson resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. He recently told reporters that he wants to “focus on the positive” in his life and does not want to talk about the day of the murders.
Although, on June 14, 2019, only two days after the anniversary of the murders of Nicole and Ron, Simpson launched a Twitter account, saying, “I’ve got a little getting even to do.” Just a few days after his first post, the account has over half a million followers.