Tuesday, April 3, 2018

OJ Simpson: The Trial of the Century

There isn't a whole lot of introduction necessary for this one.  If you're reading this blog, you're probably old enough to remember the OJ Simpson murder trial of the late 1990s, not to be confused with the OJ Simpson robbery and assault trial of the early 2000s.  But back in June 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend/sunglass procurer Ron Goldman were found brutally murdered in Brentwood, California.  Brown's husband/batterer OJ Simpson was the prime suspect, dragging America through a yearlong trial and setting back race relations more than 100 years.

Brown and Goldman were laid to rest in the Los Angeles area.  As the years passed, other key figures from the case would pass on as well, though most from natural causes (we think).  Here are four of the most prominent.

Victim #1.
Nicole Brown Simpson died on June 12, 1994.  Just 35 years old at the time, German-born Brown had been married to the former professional football player since 1985, six years after their first date (while Simpson was still married).

Her body was discovered the following morning at her home at 875 South Bundy Drive in Brentwood, lying in the fetal position in a pool of blood.  I'd post the photos here, but hey, that's what Google is for.

Trivia: In the 2016 mini-series American Crime Story, a bereaved OJ Simpson (played by Cuba Gooding, Jr.) pulls up to Nicole's grave to take a look.  This incident could not have happened in reality, as Nicole's grave is at the bottom of a hill, completely inaccessible by vehicles.

Location:  Ascension Cemetery, Lake Forest, California
Plot: Section A, Tier 17, Grave 97

Victim #2
Ronald Lyle Goldman also died on June 12, 1994.  A friend of Nicole's, he had arrived at her home to return a pair of sunglasses, an act of kindness that would prove fatal.  Police summed it up to his having been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Although O.J. would inevitably be found not guilty in the criminal trial, he was held liable in a subsequent civil trial filed by the Goldman's family, and was ordered to pay $8.5 million.

Trivia: Goldman is buried in the same row as Marvel Comics legend Jack Kirby, the co-creator of such classic characters as Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four.

Location: Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park
Plot: Beth Olam Garden, Plot 63, Grave D
GPS: 34.15208, -118.79898

The inscription on Goldman's marker reads:
"Sometimes when we're alone and lost in thought and all the world seems far away, you come to us as if in a dream, gently taking our hands and filling our hearts with the warmth of your presence.  And we smile, knowing that although we cannot be together for now, you're always close in our thoughts.  Missing you now, loving you always."

Jackie Chiles.
Johnnie Cochran, who served as quarterback of the legal dream team that successfully defended O.J., died of a brain tumor on March 29, 2005.  He lives on however, in the world of daytime television.  If you've got a phone, you've got a lawyer.

In addition to O.J., Cochran represented a number of pop culture icons throughout his career, including Todd Bridges, P Diddy, and the King of Weird, Michael Jackson.

Trivia:  O.J. went to the funeral!

Location: Inglewood Park Cemetery
Plot: Machester Garden Mausoleum, Chapel of Honor, Crypt 1202
View Map

The inscription on Cochran's marker reads:
"Our Hero, Husband, Father, Son, Brother And Beloved By All.  Warrior For Justice."

Not David Schwimmer.
Robert Kardashian was a long-time friend of OJ, who received national attention as one of the first to publicly proclaim his belief in OJ's innocence, a point he would later reconsider.  He formed the legal dream team that ultimately saw Cochran as it's head, but was always found next to Simpson during the trial.

Trivia:  Kardashian has three daughters, who have, with some success, entered the entertainment industry.

Location: Inglewood Park Cemetery
Plot: Park Terrace Section, Lot 628

The inscription on Kardashian's marker reads:
"A Man of Tender Heart and Generous Spirit."

Full disclosure, I have not actually been to Kardashian's grave.  So thanks to the nameless Internet person from whom I borrowed this photo.

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