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The day America woke to learn that O.J. Simpson was a murder suspect

O.J. Simpson trying on one of the infamous leather gloves during his 1995 murder trial. (Sam Mircovich via AP, Pool, File)
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In June of 1994, the news that pro football legend O.J. Simpson was at the center of a lurid tragedy snuck up quietly on the public — but then exploded quickly. After Tuesday’s premiere of FX’s highly-anticipated “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” the events surrounding the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and the eventual arrest of her ex-husband may be fresh in the minds of many viewers. Here is a look at some of The Post’s original coverage of the events.

Review: FX’s ‘People v. O.J. Simpson’ is near-perfect and arrives at the perfect time

It was just a few minutes after midnight on Monday, June 13 when Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were found dead outside her Los Angeles condo. Washington area readers got their first inkling of the news in a story from the L.A. Times  on page 3 of the next day’s Washington Post sports section.

Simpson’s Ex-Wife, Man found Slain

Football Star Questioned by L.A. Police

Tuesday, June 14, 1994
pg. E03

LOS ANGELES, JUNE 13 — Football great O.J. Simpson’s former wife and a 25-year-old man were found apparently stabbed to death outside her fashionable Brentwood area townhome early this morning.

Los Angeles police said they were not ruling out anyone’s possible involvement in the Sunday night slayings of Nicole Brown Simpson, 35, and Ronald Lyle Goldman, 25, a waiter at a trendy restaurant. Sources close to the case said the football star was considered a suspect.

Simpson was taken from his home to police headquarters for questioning. He was released two hours later. . .

By the next day, the Simpson case landed on the front page — and it was clear that O.J. himself would be a figure of much interest. Below the image of that day’s front page, read the complete story from that day . . . and see links to the Washington Post stories chronicling the next key days in the case, culminating in his arrest.

O.J. Simpson in Seclusion After Ex-Wife’s Death

Police Decline to Comment on Two Stabbings in L.A.

Wednesday, June 15, 1994
pg A01
By Christine Spolar
Washington Post Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES, JUNE 14 — Football great O.J. Simpson remained secluded in his home today as police continued to investigate the gruesome slashing deaths of his former wife and an acquaintance whose bodies were found near her Westside townhouse Sunday night.

Police refused to discuss the high-profile case, but a coroner’s spokesman today confirmed the two people had been stabbed in a late-night attack, a few hours after Simpson, 46, and his former wife had attended a dance recital for their daughter.

Nicole Brown Simpson, 35, and Ronald Lyle Goldman, 25, died of “multiple sharp force injuries and stab wounds,” said coroner spokesman Scott Carrier, who, in an unusual disclosure, said he could not elaborate about how and when the slayings occurred based on an order from the police department.

The couple’s two young children, who lived with their mother, slept through the attack, which left the entranceway to the pink stucco house slick with blood. A passerby found the bodies near the sidewalk shortly after midnight.

“We don’t have any idea what the weapon was,” Carrier said to reporters late today before declining other questions.

It seemed that no one who knew the former running back, his ex-wife or the young man who died with her could make sense of the vicious deaths. Although news reports here named Simpson as the focus of the investigation, police officials today would only say that “no one has been eliminated” in the inquiry.

Simpson’s attorney, Howard Weitzman, said late today police “have not told me that he is the focus of any investigation.”

“If {the police} approach this properly, I don’t believe Mr. Simpson will be charged with anything,” Weitzman said. “And if I was in your business {referring to news media}, I’d be concerned with how bizarre these rumors are … and how they can feed any speculation.”

O.J. Simpson, who had left Los Angeles Sunday on an 11:45 p.m. flight to Chicago, returned Monday morning to face police questioning. He had planned to attend several days of meetings with executives from Hertz, a rental car company he has promoted, Weitzman said. The meeting had been planned for some time, Weitzman said.

Simpson, who had pleaded no contest to beating his wife four years ago, was handcuffed momentarily at his home Monday morning by police and then, once his attorney arrived, released from the handcuffs and taken to police headquarters. Search warrants were executed for Nicole Simpson’s townhouse and O.J. Simpson’s house, Weitzman said.

Police officials and Weitzman said Simpson was handcuffed “because somebody made a mistake.” A patrol officer at the scene wrongly decided to place the restraints on Simpson, they said.

Reports Simpson — a Heisman Trophy winner, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a television broadcaster and sometime movie star — could be implicated in the deadly attack crime stunned his colleagues.

“I hope he’s all right, and I pray that he’s not involved,” said Will McDonough, a columnist for the Boston Globe who has worked with Simpson on NFL telecasts. “This is the last guy I would expect to be involved in something like this.”

Lt. John Dunkin of the Los Angeles Police Department declined to call Simpson a prime suspect. “There’s been a lot of speculation but it’s mostly speculation,” Dunkin said. “The media is carrying a lot of stuff that is clearly not accurate.”

The Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Daily News quoted police sources yesterday as saying detectives had found a bloody glove in O.J. Simpson’s expensive house, about two miles from his former wife’s townhouse, that had been recovered as evidence. The Daily News said the glove matched another glove found at the scene of the slayings.

Today Weitzman disputed the reports and said one bloody glove had been taken from outside Nicole Simpson’s — not O.J. Simpson’s — home.

Police officials would not confirm what evidence had been taken from the house and Simpson, who had been questioned for three hours Monday, had “cooperated completely” with detectives during his interrogation at police headquarters. A white Ford Bronco that Simpson owned was impounded Monday by police as evidence.

“He was obviously distraught, as you’d expect,” Dunkin said. “But we’re pleased with the cooperation and hope it will lead to an early resolution of the case.”

Attorney Weitzman said Simpson would cooperate with police but make no public statement on the killings. He is “shocked, confused, grieving — and confused that in this type of tragedy people would point the finger at him,” Weitzman said.

Simpson and his wife had been divorced since 1992 but appeared to have an amiable relationship, friends said, spending Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays together and, the night of the slayings, attending a dance recital for their daughter, Sidney Brooke, 9. She and her brother Justin, 6, are being cared for by relatives, according to wire service reports.

Goldman, a waiter at a restaurant frequented by both Simpsons, knew Nicole Simpson from the neighborhood and a gym there that both used. Goldman’s friends and family disputed reports Nicole Simpson and Goldman had anything beyond a casual friendship.

The night of the killings Nicole Simpson ate dinner at the Mezzaluna restaurant, and Goldman was working but did not wait on Simpson’s table or appear to have a special interest in her, fellow workers said.

Brad Winnaman, a chef at the restaurant just blocks from Nicole Simpson’s house, said Goldman was “friends” with Nicole Simpson, who dines there about once every three weeks. The night of the slayings, Nicole Simpson feted her daughter and a group of 10 friends and children at five tables in the center of the restaurant. O.J. Simpson did not attend the dinner, Winnaman and several waiters said.

The group arrived at the restaurant about 6:45 p.m. and stayed for a couple of hours. Shortly after 10 p.m., Nicole Simpson called the restaurant and asked if she had left behind a pair of prescription sunglasses, Winnaman said.

When the glasses were found, Goldman, who had finished his shift, offered to take them to Simpson, Winnaman said.

Winnaman said he did not realize anything had happened to Goldman until the next morning when the young waiter did not show up for work, an unusual lapse for a “hard-working guy.”

“I was shocked,” about the slayings, said Winnaman. “Ron never said anything about Nicole Simpson. … He had been dating girls. I knew he had broken off with someone recently.”

Fred Goldman, who lives in nearby Ventura County, said his oldest son had never mentioned Nicole Simpson but he was not surprised he offered to take her glasses. “He’s just that kind of guy. He’d do things for people,” said Goldman, whose voice cracked with emotion. “I don’t have a clue why this would happen.”

A group of Goldman’s friends late today gathered in front of the house where hand-picked bouquets from neighborhood children marked the spot the bodies were found. They mourned the young man who sometimes modeled, sometimes acted, and hoped to open a restaurant one day.

Simpson was just another friend to him, they said.

“There was no relationship going on,” said Michael Hess, 24, a friend of Goldman.

Staff writer William Hamilton in Los Angeles and special correspondents Kathryn Wexler in Los Angeles and Megan Garvey in Chicago contributed to this report.

These were the main stories that appeared over the next three days:





Here are three fact-checks from the premiere episode of the highly-anticipated FX series that will portray the O.J. Simpson trial over the next 10 weeks. (Video: Bethonie Butler, Nicki DeMarco/The Washington Post)