“The Juice” Shouldn’t Be Loose: Surrender & Arrest

TRIGGER WARNING! – THIS ARTICLE MENTIONS DOMESTIC ABUSE AND DETAILS OF MURDER!

The white Bronco & 20 police cars
O. J’s mugshot
The white Ford Bronco

Hello & welcome back to the shit show that is O. J Simpson! So, we heard about his history, his marriage, and the murder. No let’s dive into his arrest, trial, and the aftermath. Like I said we all know what the verdict ends up being. I think it is fun to talk about it anyway. Also, I lied…this is going to end up being a 3 part story, too much is just going on in this story. I don’t want you guys to have to read a super, super, super, super, long blog post. I thought breaking it up into multiple parts would be best. So, without further adieu I give you, the murder charges & arrest of Orenthal James Simpson…..

Soon after discovering that the female victim was Nicole Brown LAPD commander Keith Bushey ordered detectives Tom Lange, Phillip Vannatter, Ronald Philips and Mark Fuhrman to notify Simpson of her death and to give him a ride to pick up his children, who had been in Nicole’s condo at the time of the murders and were at the police station. How horrible for those children, I can’t even imagine what that was like for them. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around being there when something like that happened to my own Mom. Gives me chills just thinking about it. When they arrived at O. J’s residence the detectives said they rang the buzzer for over 30 minutes with no response. This was of course because Simpson was not home and was in Chicago. They noted the Bronco was parked on Rockingham at an awkward angle, with its back end sticking out more than the front, and had blood on the door, which they feared meant someone inside might be hurt. At that point Detective Mark Fuhrman climbed a wall & unlocked the gate to allow the other 3 detectives to get in. The men would later argue that they entered Simpson’s property without a search warrant due to pressing circumstances, mainly out of fear that someone inside the home might be seriously injured (based off the blood they saw on the door of the Bronco). 

Fuhrman interviewed Kato Kaelin (the dude staying at the guest house), who told him that the Bronco belonged to Simpson and that earlier that night he had heard thumps on his wall. In a walk around the premises to inspect what may have caused the thumps, Fuhrman discovered a bloody glove; it was later determined to be the matching right-hand glove of the one found at the murder scene. Detective Ron Phillips testified that when he called Simpson in Chicago to tell him of his ex-wife’s murder, he sounded “very upset” but did not seem to act like someone who had just lost a spouse or someone they had once shared their life with. People react to information like that differently; maybe he was in shock or maybe he just didn’t care, who knows? Philips stated that he found it odd when Simpson only asked if the children had seen the murder or Brown’s body but did not ask if assailant had harmed either of them. The police contacted O. J at his home on June 13 and took him to LAPD headquarters for questioning. Detective Lange saw that Simpson had a cut on a finger on his left hand that was consistent with where the killer was bleeding from (based off the bloody left-handed glove) and asked Simpson how he got it. First, Simpson claimed he cut his finger accidentally while in Chicago after learning of Nicole’s death. Lange then informed Simpson that blood was found inside his Bronco at which point Simpson admitted that he did cut his finger the same day as the murders but did not remember how. He voluntarily gave some of his own DNA to be compared with evidence collected at the crime scene and was free to go. 

On Tuesday, June 14th O. J Simpson hired Robert Shaprio as his defense attorney and began to assemble what became known as “the dream team”. The next on Wednesday, June 15, preliminary results from DNA testing came back with matches to Simpson but the District Attorney delayed filing charges until all the results had come back. June 16, Simpson spent the night at the San Fernando Valley home of friend Robert Kardashian (and would be attorney). I read somewhere that before Kardashain passed away from his brain tumor (or was it brain cancer?) he refused to let O. J see him because in his heart he felt that he had committed the murders, and that although he was doing a job as a defense attorney, he was wrong before for personally thinking that O. J was innocent. On Friday, June 17 detectives recommended that Simpson be charged with two counts of first-degree murder with special circumstance of multiple killings after the final DNA results came back.

So, I guess that means the DNA was a matchy match. That same day at 8:35am LAPD informed Robert Shapiro would have to surrender that day. At 9:30am Robert Shapiro went to Robert Kardashian’s home to tell Simpson that he would have to surrender by 11 am; an hour after the murder charges were filed. O. J Simpson informed Shapiro that he wanted to surrender himself, which the police agreed, believing someone as famous as Simpson would not attempt to flee. The police even agreed to delay his surrender until 12pm that day so Simpson could be seen by a mental health specialist after showing signs of suicidal depression; he updated his will, called his Mom and children, & wrote 3 sealed letters: one to his children, another to his Mom, and one to the public.

More than 1,000 reporters waited for Simpson’s “perp walk “at the police station where he was expected to be, but he did not arrive as stipulated. The LAPD then notified Shapiro that Simpson would be arrested at Kardashian’s home. Both Robert Kardashian & Robert Shapiro informed Simpson of the upcoming arrest, but when the police arrived an hour later, Simpson was gone along with his longtime friend Al Cowlings. The 3 sealed letters he had written were left behind. At 1:50 pm, Commander Dave Gascon, , publicly declared that Orenthal James Simpson was a fugitive; the police issued an all-points bulletin for him & an arrest warrant for friend Al Cowlings. 

At 5 pm that same day, Robert Kardashian and read Simpson’s public letter on national television. The letter had a lot going on; “First everyone understand I had nothing to do with Nicole’s murder.” He described the fights with Brown & their decision not to reconcile as normal in a long relationship, & asked the media “as a last wish” not to bother his children. He wrote to then girlfriend Paula Barbieri “I’m sorry … we’re not going to have, our chance … As I leave, you’ll be in my thoughts.” It also included “I can’t go on” and an apology to the Goldman family (so, he just left the Brown family hanging?). The letter concluded, “Don’t feel sorry for me. I have had a great life, great friends. Please think of the real O.J. and not this lost person.” Many took  this to be a suicide note; O. J’s Mom Eunice even collapsed after hearing it, & reporters soon joined the search for Simpson. At Kardashian’s press conference, Shapiro said that he and Simpson’s psychiatrists agreed with the suicide note interpretation. Through television, Shapiro pleaded with Simpson to surrender. 

Somehow knowing that Cowlings was listening to KNX-AM on the radio, sports announcer Peter Arbogast called Simpson’s former USC football coach John McKay & connected him to Simpson. As both men wept Simpson told McKay “OK, Coach, I won’t do anything stupid. I promise” off the air. “There is no doubt in my mind that McKay stopped O.J. from killing himself in the back of that Bronco”, Arbogast later said. McKay reiterated on radio his pleas to Simpson to turn himself in instead of committing suicide saying; “My God, we love you, Juice. Just pull over and I’ll come out and stand by you all the rest of my life”. Walter Payton, Vince Evans (both former NFL players themselves), & others from around the country also pleaded with Simpson over radio to surrender. Yes, please turn yourself in our little Juicy Juice! At LAPD headquarters officials discussed how to persuade Simpson to surrender peacefully. Detective Tom Lange, who had interviewed Simpson about the murders on June 13, remembered that he had Simpson’s cell phone number & started calling him repeatedly.

 A colleague of Lange’s hooked a tape recorder up to the phone & captured a conversation between Lange and Simpson in which Lange repeatedly asked O. J to “throw the gun out of the window”.  Simpson apologized for not turning himself in earlier that day & told Tom Lange that he was “the only one who deserved to get hurt” & was “just gonna go with Nicole”. He asked Lange to “just let me get to the house” and said “I need the gun for me”. Al Cowlings’ voice is heard in the recording (after the Bronco had pulled up to Simpson’s home surrounded by police) pleading with Simpson to surrender & end the chase on a peaceful note. 

On a completely unrelated side note, when I was in middle school, I asked my mom why she named me Nicole and not something cooler. She told me that it used to be a unique name and not a lot of people had it……I’m starting to think she made that up. Maybe my parents should have just made my legal name Nikki because that is what I go by 95% of the time…but I digress. The coverage of the low speed chase was heavily televised, NBC continued to show game 5 of the NBA finals but had put it in a small box on the corner of the screen. A majority of the screen was taken up by Tom Brokaw reporting on the chase. Thousands of spectators and onlookers packed overpasses along the route of the chase, waiting for the white Bronco.  Many had signs urging Simpson to flee.  Spectators were shouting “Go, O.J., go!”, the famous slogan from Simpson’s Hertz car rental commercials.

Simpson reportedly demanded that he be allowed to speak to his Mommy before surrendering to police. After sitting in the parked Bronco for roughly 45 minutes O. J emerged at 8:50pm clutching a framed family photograph. He went inside his home for about an hour where he reportedly called his Mom, & drank a glass off well……..oj. Simpson surrendered to police a few minutes after Robert Shapiro arrived on the scene. Inside the now vacant Ford Bronco police discovered; $8,000 in cash, a change of clothing, a loaded .357 Magnum, a United States passport, family pictures, & a disguise kit with a fake goatee & mustache. Woah, calm down there James Bond.  Orenthal James Simpson was booked at LAPD headquarters and taken to Men’s Central Jail; Al Cowlings was booked on suspicion of harboring a fugitive (I guess for the Bronco chase) and held on $250,000 bail. As Simpson was driven away, he saw the crowds, many of whom were African Americans, cheering him; Simpson said, “What are all these n****** doing in Brentwood?” HIS WORDS NOT MINE! PLEASE NOTE THE QUOTATIONS!

On June 20, 1994 Orenthal James Simpson was arranged and charged with 2 counts of first-degree murder. He pled not guilty to both charges & was held without bail. The next day, a grand jury was called to determine whether to indict him for the 2 murders but was dismissed on June 23, as a result of excessive media coverage that could have influenced its neutrality. Instead, authorities held a probable cause hearing to determine whether to bring Simpson to trial. California Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy-Powell ruled on July 7, 1994 that there was sufficient evidence to bring Simpson to trial for the murders. Bail was set at $10 million. At his second arraignment on July 22, when asked how he pleaded to the murders, Simpson firmly stated: “Absolutely, one hundred percent, not guilty.”

District Attorney Gil Garcetti elected to file charges in downtown Los Angeles, as opposed to Santa Monica, in which jurisdiction the crimes took place. The LA Superior Court then decided to hold the trial in Downtown Los Angeles instead of Santa Monica due to safety issues at the Santa Monica Court house. I guess maybe due to the high amount of media coverage. In October 1994 Judge Lance Ito started interviewing 304 prospective jurors (that many people wanted to be on the jury?), each of whom had to fill out a 75-page questionnaire. This questionnaire asked if they knew anything about the murders, been following its media coverage, & if they were biased in any way towards Simpson or domestic violence. I feel like those questions were a bit silly because you had to have been living under a rock to know nothing about any of the subjects in question. On November 3, twelve jurors were seated with twelve alternates. Over the course of the months long trial, ten were dismissed for a wide variety of reasons. Only four of the original jurors remained on the final panel. I bet you they found out most of them lied on the stupid questionnaire thingy. The jury would end up being sequestered for 265 days, the most in American history. I can’t imagine, I would probably kill myself. 265 days, my Lord! Tensions got high and jurors probably started to regret ever starting this trial in the first place.

O. J was a shit friend because have ya’ll ever noticed how Khloe Kardashian looks a lot like him? Well at least her original face did, but that is a story for another day.  Please tune in next time for the RIVETING conclusion to this whole fiasco. Like I said many times before we all know how this whole thing played out. But for shits and giggle let’s just pretend we don’t. Well……thank you for reading and keep your eyes peeled for part 3! Ok, peace out!

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