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04 October 2008

13 years later, OJ found guilty Do you remember where you were when you heard the verdict 13 years ago? I do...[More:] I was at school, and all the teachers weren't supposed to show us the verdict, but some class, maybe even just one class, got to watch during last period, and the news was on fire in the hallway after class. I didn't even hear it from one person, I just heard it in the air- people talking, yelling, there was even a group of girls doing a step routine to a made-up chant- "OJ! Has been! Set Free!" What about you?
I was on the UCF campus. My sister and I were in between classes. We stepped into the student lounge where there was a TV. They announced the verdict. A lot of people were cheering in the lounge. My sister and I, stunned, walked to our next class.
posted by LoriFLA 04 October | 15:22
I was chatting at a place called State of Insanity. Someone came in and announced it.

Given what he did this time, breaking a law, brandishing a handgun, etc., is not OK, I still think that, had he not been OJ, it would have gone differently.

While I am among those who believed he was guilty of murder, this makes me a bit uncomfortable, to put him away forever (as is very possible here) for this, because what he did then.
posted by danf 04 October | 15:29
I had just arrived at the gym, and the whole place came to a halt as we watched on the TVs around the building. They were normally tuned to sport or MTV but everyone wanted Sky News on to see the verdict. I stood at the reception desk and watched on the TV mounted over it.

Everyone was stunned that the murdering fucker had got away with it.
posted by essexjan 04 October | 15:31
I can't figure out who sets the sentence- the judge or the jury?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 04 October | 15:36
I probably read about it in the papers (since, when I was watching South Park years later, I actually knew what the Chewbacca defense joke was about), but I didn't really give a damn. In the grand scheme of things, he's still just a small worm.
posted by Daniel Charms 04 October | 15:38
Judge. .she could have released him, pending sentencing, but chose not to. From what I read, it looks like he'll spend the rest of his life in the Nevada prison system. Which does not have a celebrity-accomodating capability, as California's system does.
posted by danf 04 October | 15:39
Heh. Toooooo bad.

If Simpson spends the rest of his life in prison in Nevada, what happens to all the assets he's spent years hiding in Florida and elsewhere? Do they move to Nevada with him, and would they then be available to be repossessed for payment toward his civil judgments in other states?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 04 October | 15:41
I was homeschooling at the time-we stopped and watched it all play out. I remember my heart just pounding as we waited for the verdict-why, I dunno, guess it was just the suspense. I was sitting on the arm of my couch. Which I almost fell off of, when they announced not guilty.

I feel guilty for feeling this way but this seems like poetic justice. But we'll see if there are any appeals in the bag.
posted by bunnyfire 04 October | 15:45
I was in Chicago, at work in a high rise on Wacker Drive. (And yes, don't think that the "Wacker? I don't even know her!" jokes weren't flying that day.) Someone had brought a portable TV into their office, and so there were about a dozen of us clustered around it when the news came on.

I remember my mom calling me in a state of rage that night. She was furious: "And after all I did for the civil rights movement, too!" she fumed.

"Um... what did you do for the civil rights movement?" I asked, thinking that my mother had been, unbeknownst to me, a Freedom Rider or something (and yet still unclear as to what this would possibly have to do with O.J., even if she had been).

She seemed insulted by the question. "Well, I voted for LBJ in my first election," she said. "And I bought all those Supremes records, too, didn't I?"

I admitted that I could not argue with this.
posted by scody 04 October | 15:45
I was in Denver and watched him being followed home by the press. Bret Easton Ellis read that night from his new book at the Cherry Cheek Tattered Cover that night and was especially pissed. When it came time for questions I asked if there were any of his characters he liked or had empathy and he said no.

I had been in and out of LA in the previous months and someone responded to a question in the LA Times about Lance Ito that this would be taught in law schools as a prime example about how NOT to run a trial.
posted by brujita 04 October | 15:51
Scody, that's too funny.

I have distinct memories of being in two different places. I was either at work at my job in the photo lab, or I was in my parents' kitchen. Both are equally vivid.

Memory is a funny thing.
posted by mudpuppie 04 October | 15:54
If Simpson spends the rest of his life in prison in Nevada, what happens to all the assets he's spent years hiding in Florida and elsewhere? Do they move to Nevada with him, and would they then be available to be repossessed for payment toward his civil judgments in other states?

I'm pretty sure his assets would still be his. As you know, you can keep one house and two cars in Florida (Homestead exemption). Any time he makes money a certain percentage goes to the Goldman family. (Did the Browns win a civil suit as well? I can't remember.) Any time he sells an autograph or a book, or earns money, a percentage set by the judge at the civil suit goes to the Goldmans. Of course this is why he tried to steal his memorabilia from the hotel room instead of going to the police.

My guess is that his sentence will be five years.
posted by LoriFLA 04 October | 16:04
I was living in Ohio during most of the trial, taking some classes at Miami of Ohio; I remember I wrote five papers with, for some reason, OJ in the background the whole time (why didn't I change the channel?). I couldn't stand to listen to much of it this morning.

By the time the first verdict came out, I was back in CT, working at Borders with Jon. I remember when someone said the verdict was in, I knew it would be not guilty, because they'd come back so fast.

My brother, who's an attorney, is the only person I know who thinks OJ's not guilty (of the murders, that is). He's a very smart guy, and for a moment, makes me doubt what makes sense.

They got him pretty good this time, OJ. I think he'll only do about five years, though. The sentencing max, I think, is 15 to life, but he'll be out long before 15.

I feel bad for his kids. In quiet moments, they've got to wonder.

(On preview: you beat me to it, Lori! :)
posted by Pips 04 October | 16:06
I remember hearing about OJ possibly moving to Florida, after the first trial was over. And guess where Jon and I were living then? Yep, not only Florida, but Kendall, right where OJ ultimately moved. Naturally.
posted by Pips 04 October | 16:10
You guys lived in Florida? Gettouttatown!

posted by bunnyfire 04 October | 16:13
Miami, you've got style.
posted by LoriFLA 04 October | 16:16
I was in the CNN newsroom. (If you'll remember, we were the 24-hour all-OJ channel during that time.) When the verdict was read, that place got really loud, really fast.
posted by BoringPostcards 04 October | 16:40
The consensus in my Vegas circle is he will serve the kidnapping charges consecutively and everything else concurrently. That's 30 years (2 x 15) minimum with 10 years (2 x 5) before parole eligibility.

What I want to see is how much those "Pete Rose baseballs stolen by OJ" go for.
posted by Ardiril 04 October | 17:05
Seems like they're making up for missing their chance the first time around.

The first trial I worked in a basement at the Science and Engineering Library at the University of Texas, Arlington. I could only get AM Spanish radio and heard "no es cupable" over and over.

posted by haunted by Leonard Cohen 04 October | 17:17
My school pretty much figured there was no way to stop us from finding out the verdict (our classrooms had internet) or watching it somewhere (every room had TVs from the "Channel 1" morning news program thing; wouldn't be too hard to find an unattended classroom and watch), so they gave up any notion of class control and just let us watch the verdict.
posted by Eideteker 04 October | 17:18
I was one of those who avoided the verdict announcement. I can't remember now what I was doing instead, but I found out quickly enough. I suppose I was surprised, as I had thought the case a shoo-in originally, but as the trial progressed I had essentially realized they were "framing a guilty man", and Furman et al. had seriously compromised the state's case. So it was an immediate those fuckers reaction for me.

(I remember where I was when I heard about Challenger and Columbia, though.)
posted by stilicho 04 October | 17:31
Additionally, during the Slow White Bronco Chase, I had biked over to Autzen to see the Dead, for (what turned out to be) the last time. It was a rainy June day, and I came home drenched, and my wife was watching it on TV.

I got a very bad cold, and my mother came that Sunday (it was a friday) for a visit and I was in no shape to be a host.
posted by danf 04 October | 18:35
I was in school, i don't remember what class. We watched the verdict live on tv. I bet the teacher a coke that he would be found not guilty. He was really pissed when it happened. Fucker never gave me a coke either.

During the bronco chase I was messing around with the glow in the dark set of domino rally.
posted by puke & cry 04 October | 19:11
The Bronco Chase! We had arrived in Ocean City, NJ that day, we had eaten dinner, and we were about to go to the Boardwalk for the first time. AND THEN the chase started. And all the grownups wanted to sit around and watch it. And it was SO SLOW and SO BORING and I just wanted to go to the Boardwalk and ride rides!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 04 October | 19:20
I was in Amsterdam with an old friend from India, Mila, who, to my total astonishment, became globally famous for her invention of the Ice-o-lator.

She told me I could get a cheap surgery for an ovarian cyst in Amsterdam ($3000 vs $50,000 in the USA) and to stay with her, which I did, not knowing what her main focus was. All these old Asia travelers were around the TV on Afghani carpets, the whole place in a haze of hash smoke. They were universally for OJ, felt he was being victimized by The Bad Americans. I didn't share that opinion at all and was truly disgusted when he got away with that horrendous crime.

My black friends in NYC also felt he was innocent and had been scapegoated. This shocked me and I tried to be understanding that black Americans having been treated like dirt for so long, identified with OJ, his being a sports hero, having worked his way up the financial and celebrity ladder. But it seemed so transparent he was guilty.

Now this. It does look like he's being scapegoated. Damn. It doesn't feel right.

What is it with this guy? He's commits murder, a sociopath, violent, arrogant, a longtime wife batterer. Is not jailed. And now he's going to jail in what seems like a tricky way, not on the up and up.

It's like he's a justice quark, evaporating the justice out of the situation in either circumstance. He turns justice into just ice. Disturbing.

His poor kids: Arnelle L. Simpson (born December 4, 1968), Jason L. Simpson (born April 21, 1970) and Aaren Lashone Simpson (born September 24, 1977). In 1979, Aaren drowned in the family's swimming pool a month before her second birthday. Sydney Brooke Simpson (born October 17, 1985) and Justin Ryan Simpson (born August 6, 1988).
posted by nickyskye 04 October | 19:33
I don't see how he's being scapegoated when he committed a crime and was convicted for it.
posted by puke & cry 04 October | 19:52
I was in the hospital after being emergency hospitalized two days earlier. I spent the evening lying in bed having every person I know call me and tell me the verdict. They seemed shocked that I knew. Somehow it didn't occur to them that the only thing I COULD do in the hospital was watch TV. What struck me was the press conference when Christopher Darden started weeping. There was such naked emotion at that conference that it was hard not to feel it, even as I lay in a hospital bed barely conscious.

(The medications made me very groggy so I'm impressed that I even remember any details of the press conference.)
posted by miss-lapin 04 October | 20:22
I was working a part time job in medical records at a doctor's office. People seemed generally pleased he got off.
posted by rainbaby 04 October | 21:14
I do have a story about the Bronco chase. I was at a concert with my volunteer group at Ravinia, and I went to the restroom. On my way back there was a small crowd of people around a window of a back office area and general commotion nearby. I asked what was going on and somebody said enough that I got closer. The security staff had a TV on and people were pushing up to the window to see the chase, even with no sound. It probably wasn't any more information-starved than watching it with inane commentary! Everybody was sure he was going to make a break for Mexico somehow (I guess it is generally supposed now to have been a feint or an act). None of my friends was base enough to be interested when I got back, but I realized immediately this was somehow a big Pop Culture Moment.
posted by stilicho 05 October | 00:58
puke & cry, re his being scapegoated at this time. The stuff OJ went to get from this sports memorabilia guy was his own stuff.

I'm not saying what OJ did in Las Vegas was not illegal, it was. But to be jailed for up to 50 years for this seems, imo, to be scapegoating. But, in light of the murder he committed, it is appropriate that he does jail time, even if it is jail time for something non-related.
posted by nickyskye 05 October | 01:05
I don't even have any clear memories of anything that happened in that month, let alone the day of the verdict.

I can sketch out the generalities of that time period: I was in my mid-twenties; my dear sweetie and I had just moved into first-time home ownership that June; we were both working the same jobs we had had for years; neither of us traveled that month. Other than that, it's just a blur.

I remember other big cultural events, but I think I was burned out on the trial coverage that summer.
posted by D.C. 05 October | 06:11
ns: It was his stuff at one time. The problem was they took far more than OJ items, like Joe Montana lithographs and Pete Rose baseballs. They topped it off by carrying and pulling guns as well as preventing the traders from leaving the room.

That's armed robbery and kidnapping in Nevada.
posted by Ardiril 05 October | 06:18
i remember learning of the Bronco chase the same way i learned about the LA riots: wandering into someone's house with friends, on the way from somewhere to somewhere, where people were watching television with oddly riveted disbelief.
"What's going on?"
i kept asking, to the same bizarre responses, because people were high and i wasn't sure they knew what they were talking about. The riots had us looking for the next harbinger of the apocalypse, and i think i left to go find better coverage to figure out what was really going on.
With the Bronco, we watched for a bit but it was slow going and still didn't make sense: The Juice was loose why? What?
So we left onto wherever we were going with this big Huh to be explained ad nauseum later.
i forget details about the verdict except there was more television and checking locations, as fear of rioting was still fresh.

Martha Stewart's sentence was an exercise in "social justice." How his sentencing will go down is up in the air, even though he's got a history, obvious problems, and crazy guilty.
posted by ethylene 05 October | 08:23
I was a senior in high school. I was in chemistry class, and the teacher turned on the coverage of the verdict on the radio. I went to a predominantly white school, so people were not happy.
posted by reenum 05 October | 13:31
Nick and Nora. . .Spoilers! || You've lost your WHAT?