O.J. Simpson Murder Case: A Timeline of the ‘Trial of the Century’

On the evening of June 12, 1994, O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman were stabbed to death outside of Brown’s Brentwood, California home. Their murders and the subsequent arrest of the former NFL star ignited a series of events that America’s legal system and media had never seen before.

Here’s a timeline of the murders of Brown and Goldman as well as the pursuit, arrest, trial, and verdict of Simpson.

June 12, 1994: Nicole Simpson Brown and Ron Goldman are murdered

6:30 pm: After attending her daughter’s dance recital, Brown has dinner with friends and family at the Brentwood restaurant Mezzaluna, where Goldman works as a waiter. Brown’s mother accidentally leaves her eyeglasses at the restaurant and Goldman volunteers to stop by Brown’s house to drop them off.

10:41 pm-10:45 pm: Brian “Kato” Kaelin, who is Simpson’s houseguest at his Rockingham mansion just a couple of miles down the road from Brown’s home, hears a thumping noise on the opposite side of his wall and goes outside to investigate.

10:50 pm-10:55 pm: A neighbor spots Brown’s white Akita by itself — barking with bloody paws.

11:01 pm: Waiting since 10:25 pm, limousine driver Allan Park sees Simpson exit his house. A few minutes later, Park drives Simpson to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for his flight to Chicago.

11:45 pm: Simpson takes off to Chicago.

June 13, 1994: O.J. Simpson becomes a suspect

Nicole Brown Simpson Murder SceneNicole Simpson Brown and Rob Goldman murder scene; Photo: The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

12:10 am: Brown’s dog leads neighbors to the dead bodies of Goldman and Brown, which lie near the gate.

4:15 am: Simpson checks into a hotel in Chicago.

4:30 am: Police arrive at Simpson’s Rockingham mansion to inform him of Brown’s death but instead discover his blood-stained Bronco and a bloody glove that matches one found near Goldman’s body.

Crowds During the Nicole Brown Simpson Murder SceneThe crowd at the Nicole Simpson Brown and Ron Goldman murder scene; Photo: The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

10:45 am: With a search warrant in hand, the police search Simpson’s mansion and find even more blood traces on the property, including in his Bronco.

12 pm: Returning to Los Angeles after being informed of Brown’s death, Simpson arrives at his mansion where he is handcuffed and then taken to the police station where he’s questioned for hours.

June 15, 1994: Robert Shapiro becomes O.J. Simpson’s attorney

Replacing Howard Weitzman, defense attorney Robert Shapiro takes over as lead counsel for Simpson.

June 16, 1994: Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman’s funerals

O.J. Simpson and children at Nicole Brown Simpson's FuneralO.J. Simpson and his children at Nicole Brown Simpson’s funeral.; Photo: The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Simpson and his two children attend Brown’s funeral. A funeral is also held for Goldman.

June 17, 1994: The Bronco chase

O.J. Simpson Bronco chaseO.J. Simpson Bronco chase; Photo: Ted Soqui/Sygma via Getty Images

Simpson gets charged for the murders of Brown and Goldman

Fans on the side of the street cheering O.J. Simpson on during the Bronco chaseFans on the side of the freeway cheering O.J. Simpson on during the Bronco chase; Photo: Vinnie Zuffante/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Although he originally promised to surrender to authorities, Simpson flees and becomes a fugitive. He is later spotted off the freeway driving his white Bronco with his friend Al Cowlings in the driver’s seat. Fans began to line the freeways to cheer him on. As helicopters follow Simpson’s Bronco, an estimated 95 million people watch the 60-mile pursuit on TV (famously interrupting the broadcast of the NBA finals). Simpson ultimately surrenders at his house a little before 9 pm. He is arrested and thrown in jail without bail.

July 22, 1994: O.J. Simpson pleads not guilty

O.J. Simpson mug shotPhoto: Los Angeles Police via WireImage

Simpson pleads “absolutely, 100 percent not guilty” to the murder charges. Judge Lance Ito is assigned to the case.

September 9, 1994: Prosecution wants life without parole

Prosecution decides not to pursue the death penalty and instead, seeks life without parole for the defendant if he’s convicted.

November 3, 1994: The jury is selected

The initial jury is selected and is made up of four males and eight females. Eight of the jurors are Black, one Hispanic, one white person and two mixed race.

January 11, 1995: The jury reports for duty

The jury — 12 men and 12 women — are sequestered.

January 15-16, 1995: Simpson’s lawyers stop speaking to each other

Shapiro tells the media that he and another one of Simpson’s defense attornies F. Lee Bailey are no longer on speaking terms.

January 18, 1995: Johnnie Cochran takes the reigns of the defense

Johnnie Cochran becomes lead counsel for the defense.

Judge Ito rules that the jury is allowed to hear evidence of Simpson’s alleged domestic abuse towards Brown.

January 24, 1995: The prosecution begins its opening statement

Marcia ClarkMarcia Clark during the O.J. Simpson trial; Photo: POO/AFP/Getty Images

Prosecutors Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden make passionate opening statements. “He killed her out of jealousy,” Darden told the jury. “He killed her because he couldn’t have her.”

January 25, 1995: The defense gives its opening statement

Cochran begins his opening statement on behalf of the defense. “This case is about a rush to judgment, an obsession to win at any costs,” he told the jury.

January 27, 1995: O.J. Simpson’s book comes out

Simpson’s book, I Want to Tell You: My Response to Your Letters, Your Messages, Your Questions, is released.

February 3, 1995: Nicole Simpson Brown’s sister-in-law takes the stand

Brown’s sister-in-law, Denise Brown, testifies in tears over how Simpson abused Brown.

February 12, 1995: The jury visits key locations

The jurors take a field trip to Simpson’s Rockingham home and Brown’s house, now labeled a crime scene.

March 13, 1995: Mark Fuhrman says he’s not racist

Detective Mark Fuhrman is cross-examined and denies being racist. He also objects to the defense’s theory that he undermined the investigation by tampering with evidence.

March 21, 1995: Kato Kaelin takes the stand…again

Kato KaelinKato Kaelin; Photo: POO/AFP/Getty Images

For a second time, Kaelin takes the stand and describes how he spent his evening with Simpson just hours before the double homicide occurred.

April 4, 1995: Dennis Fung confesses crime scene wrongdoings

Dennis FungDennis Fung; Photo: Pat DOWNS/AFP/Getty Images

Criminologist Dennis Fung admits that proper protocols were not entirely enforced at the scene of the crime.

May 10, 1995: The DNA evidence is presented

The DNA testimony begins and jurors learn one day later that one in 170 million people, including Simpson, would have the genetic characteristics as a drop of blood that discovered at the crime scene.

June 15, 1995: O.J. Simpson tries on the leather gloves

O.J. Simpson trying on gloves during his murder trialO.J. Simpson trying on the “too tight” bloody gloves during his double murder trial.; Photo: VINCE BUCCI/AFP/Getty Images

Christopher Darden presenting evidence during the O.J. Simpson caseChristopher Darden presenting evidence that O.J. Simpson owned similar, if not the same, gloves found at the crime scene.; Photo: POO/AFP/Getty Images

Darden has Simpson try on the leather gloves in front of the jury. Simpson puts them on and declares them “too tight.”

August 29, 1995: Tapes are released of Mark Fuhrman saying racial slurs

The jury hears old taped recordings of Fuhrman making multiple racial slurs, (which he had denied ever having done during his cross-examination), and also bragging about his enforcement of police brutality.

September 28, 1995: The defense presents its closing argument

Following the prosecution’s closing arguments the day before, Cochran delivers his closing argument to the jury with his famous phrase: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

October 3, 1995: O.J. Simpson is acquitted

The cover of NY Post when O.J. Simpson was found not guiltyThe cover of the ‘New York Post’ when O.J. Simpson was found not guilty.; Photo: Evan Agostini/Liaison

Deliberating for less than four hours, the jury returns with a verdict of not guilty on two counts of murder. Simpson is a free man.

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