It started with a double murder and before it would be over the accused would spend nine of 33 years behind bars — but not for the killing. Instead, OJ Simpson would serve time at Lovelock Correctional Center in Pershing County, Nevada for kidnapping, robbery and other assorted charges.
O.J. Simpson may be the most famous defendant in U.S. history. He is recognized so much that refer to him as merely O.J. and people know of whom you speak.
The “trial of the century” lasted nine months, employed eleven defense lawyers and twenty-five attorneys in the prosecutor’s office were kept on the clock 24/7.
Halfway through the trial, Judge Lance Ito decided the jury needed a little recreation and took them sightseeing onboard a Goodyear blimp. Later, Ito would treat them to a night at the theater and sailing to Catalina Island.
Larry King, the CNN host, said, “If we had God and O.J. booked, we’d bump God.” And with good reason.
A survey at the time revealed that 75% knew who Kato Kaelin was and just 25% could identify the American Vice President.
Over 90% of the tv audience watched as 140 million persons listened on the radio. One study showed American industry lost over $25 billion as workers ignored their jobs to follow the trial.
When the trial started, the ‘star’ wasn’t that important. O.J. had been famous as a pro football player, and many consider him to be one of the greatest in the history of the game. Simpson won’t the Heisman in 1968 and numerous records set during his tenure with the Buffalo Bill still stand.
Retiring in 1979 Simpson floated to a modestly successful career in broadcasting and minor roles in the movies. Maybe best known as Hertz Rental Cars’ spokesman, when his wife Nichole met him, she had no idea who she was. She wasn’t the only one.
When the prosecutor was approached by a LAPD investigator for assistance in getting a search warrant on Simpson’s property, he asked: “Who is O. J. Simpson?”
Despite the limited anonymity, all three major television networks covered the story of his trial in minute detail. The murder victims were only known to their friends and family. The spectacle became an example of media overkill of epic proportions.
While Simpson commanded center stage, the victims were somewhere on stage left. Simpson’s ‘dream team’ successfully pushed Simpson into the background and brought racism and bigotry to the fore as his defense.
Led by Johnny Cochran, Simpson’s legal desk managed to transform their client from an accused double murderer into a victim of racism and a political prisoner.
In September 2007, Simpson and some friends knocked on a door in the Palace Station hotel in Las Vegas. The cops were called, and Simpson was arrested.
Supposedly, according to Simpson, the men who rented the hotel room had some of O.J.’s sports memorabilia, and he wanted it back.
Simpson held the men at bay with a weapon and demanded his belongings be returned to him immediately.
Another trial happened. This one without the fanfare and hoopla of the first. After a trial which lasted nearly a month, Simpson was again sent to prison. This time his residence was Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nevada.
Released on October 1, 2017, Simpson was driven to a secluded home in a gated community while the parole board prepared the documents and post-release information. Simpson is thought to have plans to settle in Florida where his children live.
“Some people think O.J. was sentenced to 33 years in prison for the double murder,” says Nicholas Wooldridge, a prominent Las Vegas defense lawyer. “The truth is, if Simpson is a double murderer and confessed today in the middle of The Bellagio, he couldn’t be tried again. America has laws against double jeopardy.