The reality matriarch spoke to her former best friend from his jail cell

By Aili Nahas
Updated January 29, 2016 02:50 PM
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Credit: Tommaso Boddi/Getty; Inset: RICK MEYER/AFP/Getty

More than two decades later, Kris Jenner can still vividly recall the moment she learned of her best friend Nicole Brown Simpson‘s murder.

Speaking exclusively with PEOPLE for this week’s issue, Jenner says, “We had plans for lunch.” She adds, “I dropped my kids off at school and on the way home, I called her house to confirm lunch. And when I got home, I got a call from Nicole’s mom, Judy, and she told me.”

“I went into shock,” Jenner recalls. “And I turned on the TV and there it was. They were showing the crime scene. It was horrific.”

Adding to Jenner’s personal pain was the fact that her longtime friend O.J., whom she considered family, was charged with Nicole’s murder.

“I went to bed one night and the next morning, my entire universe had changed,” says Jenner, 60. “[OJ and Nicole] were two of the best friends I ever had in my entire life. It was devastating because not only did I mourn the loss of Nicole, but I mourned the loss of OJ and that relationship.”

For more on the O.J. Simpson murder case, including the voices of those closest to Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands today.

After the murder, Jenner had a conversation with the man she once loved like a brother.

“I talked to him while he was in jail,” she says. “He was trying to tell me he didn’t do it, and what he thought had happened. I just listened to him, to what he was saying to me.”

But the reality television matriarch wasn’t swayed by O.J.’s words and still strongly believed he was the culprit. (Simpson was later acquitted of the murder by a jury.)

“I’m a very logical person,” says Jenner. “I want to give everybody the benefit of the doubt, but the evidence was so strong. [What he said] didn’t have any effect on what I thought.”

When it comes to Simpson now, who is currently serving a 33-year prison sentence for robbery and kidnapping (he is up for parole next year), Jenner says, “It’s not my job to judge anybody else. I’m going to let God do that.”