Throwback Thursday Special Edition: OJ Simpson and the ‘trial of the century’

O.J. Simpson, the decorated football superstar and Hollywood actor who was acquitted of charges he killed his former wife and her friend but was found liable in a separate civil trial, died Thursday at the age of 76.

Simpson earned fame, fortune and adulation through football and show business, but his legacy was forever changed by the June 1994 knife slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles.

Live TV coverage of his arrest after a famous slow-speed chase marked a stunning fall from grace, The Associated Press reported.

The public was mesmerized by his “trial of the century” on live TV. His case sparked debates on race, gender, domestic abuse, celebrity justice and police misconduct.

Like many news outlets at the time, the Daily Journal featured coverage of the trial and Simpson’s subsequent acquittal.

On Oct. 3, 1995, the main story on the front page was about his acquittal: “Simpson not guilty” was the headline. The day’s edition featured a profile of Simpson and the stories about the trial and the way it captivated America.

The next’s day edition featured more coverage of this, along with local angles. “A verdict’s aftermath” was the headline at the top of Oct. 4, 1995 edition.

One Daily Journal reader said they thought Simpson was “guilty from the start.” On the other side, a reader said the prosecution did not “get the job done” and there was still reasonable doubt in the case.

Franklin defense attorney Jeffery Eggers, a former judge, was not surprised by the acquittal. He said he felt the prosecution went into too much detail and that the judge was too lenient with the attorneys and allowed the case to drag on.

Johnson County Prosecutor Lance Hamner strongly disagreed with the verdict, calling it a “miscarriage of justice.” Based on the reactions of one of the jurors after the verdict, he said it was entirely possible some jurors used their service as a way to send a message to Los Angeles Police.

He did not fault the prosecution for the verdict, but rather the high-priced defense team Simpson had, he said.