This time there was no breathless coverage, no nation hanging on every word uttered in the courtroom. And this time, 13 years to the day since O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in L.A., there was one other thing that was different: This time the jury slammed the former football great and laid him out cold.
After a 13-day trial, the jury in Las Vegas on Oct. 3 convicted Simpson, 61, on 12 counts, including armed robbery and kidnapping, stemming from a 2007 incident in which, prosecutors said, Simpson and five other men burst into a hotel room and at gunpoint snatched scores of items from two memorabilia dealers. Though Simpson showed little emotion at the verdict, his lawyer Yale Galanter described his client as “extremely emotional.”
Ronald Goldman’s sister Kim called the outcome of the latest case “bittersweet.” In a statement, Nicole Brown Simpson’s family alluded to the likely impact on the two children that Nicole had with Simpson, daughter Sydney, 23, and son Justin, 20, saying they had “mixed emotions” over the verdict. (In 1997 the two families were awarded a total of $33.5 million in a civil judgment against Simpson, which he’s largely avoided paying.)
Attorney Galanter insisted that the jury had been swayed by Simpson’s earlier acquittal. “There are very strong feelings about Mr. Simpson,” he said. The jurors denied there was any attempt at payback, and indeed there was plenty of evidence, including a tape recording of Simpson, who claimed he was only trying to retrieve personal items that had been stolen from him, ordering that no one leave the hotel room. What’s next for Simpson? Galanter vowed to appeal, but legal experts didn’t give Simpson much hope of avoiding prison. “An appeal is extremely difficult to win,” says Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Patrick McDonald. Due to be sentenced on Dec. 5, Simpson could be facing six years to life—which should give him plenty of time to contemplate the vagaries of American justice.