Inside the O.J. Simpson Murder Case: What Happened, If He Faced Jail Time and More

The O.J. Simpson murder case and trial gripped the attention of the press and public, as the football star stood accused of killing ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goodman. Referred to as one of the most infamous criminal trials in U.S. history, O.J. was notoriously found not guilty but was still found liable for the murders 

When Was the O.J. Simpson Trial?

The O.J. Simpson murder trial began on January 24, 1995, and lasted approximately eight months. The jury delivered their controversial decision on October 2, 1995, which was made public the following day. 

What Did O.J. Simpson Do?

On the night of June 12, 1994, O.J. became the prime suspect after his ex-wife, Nicole, and Ronald were stabbed to death outside of her L.A. condo. The football star hid from authorities in the back of friend A.C. Cowlings’ vehicle, leading police on a televised chase that brought in more than 95 million viewers. O.J. was eventually placed under arrest at his Brentwood, California, home and taken into custody. 

O.J. pleaded not guilty 10 days later to two counts of first-degree murder, and the highly-publicized trial began on January 24, 1995. While the Los Angeles district attorneys fighting the case – Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden – argued that O.J. was spurred on by domestic violence motivations, the athlete’s legal team had another approach in mind. 

O.J.’s lawyers – F. Lee Bailey, Robert Blasier, Shawn Chapman Holley, Robert Shapiro, Alan Dershowitz and Robert Kardashian – were referred to as the “Dream Team,” and argued in court that the charges could not stand due to the mishandling of evidence at the scene. In an infamous court moment, a bloodied glove found on the night in question was presented in court, and O.J. – who presumably had been wearing it – could not fit it on his hand. 

Lee Celano/WireImage

Was O.J.Simpson Found Guilty? 

After months of court hearings and countless witness statements, O.J. was found not guilty of the murders of Nicole and Ron. As the case had been televised from start to finish, the public quickly weighed in on the verdict – some believed the athlete was innocent, while others wholeheartedly trusted that he was behind the killings. 

OJ Trial Vince Bucci/AFP via Getty Images

While the criminal trial resulted in a not guilty verdict, the families of Nicole and Ron sued O.J. in civil court for wrongful death. The trial began in October 1996, and the football pro was found liable for the killings. The families were awarded $33.5 million in damages, but O.J. didn’t fess up the money due to his unstable financial means at the time. 

Did O.J. Simpson Go to Jail? 

O.J. did not go to jail for the murders of Nicole and Ron. He did, however, go to prison in 2008 after he was convicted of armed robbery in Las Vegas. Though he was handed down a 33-year sentence, O.J. was released in 2017 on parole. He was back in the headlines in February 2024 after responding to reports he was in hospice care battling cancer. 

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