I have an autographed picture of O. J. Simpson. He signed it for me himself. I had worked for a Honey Baked Ham franchise of which O. J. had invested, and from time to time, at store openings, he would make appearances and sign pictures.
At one particular weekend store opening, O. J. had arrived in a Rolls Royce with his wife Nicole, still with head attached to her body. I recall that she was attractive but particularly aloof and almost agitated by the festivities. O. J. was a consummate showman greeting each guest with a brilliant grin and bear of a handshake. He was a big strong guy, but there was no evidence of the rage he could engender displayed at this event.
O. J. was hospitable to everyone, and after a couple of hours he and his wife drove away in his Rolls.
On June 12, 1994 Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson were brutally murdered and the news outlets inundated us with every gory detail. I remember the date particularly well since it was my birthday, and since I had met O. J. I was curious to find out if this big jovial guy could be responsible.
As time went on, as forensic evidence stacked upon forensic evidence, and as eyewitness accounts of O. J.’s strange behavior piled up, it became increasingly clear it would have been almost impossible for him to not have done the crime.
The character assassinations of decorated law-enforcement officers and of the forensic pathologists who handled evidence were brilliantly accomplished by O. J.’s defense. The postulate that law-enforcement had conspired to frame O. J. was not credible, but the revelation that Mark Fuhrman had once uttered the word nigger gave credence to ridiculous assertions.
Blood soaked gloves, blood in his car, blood at the crime scene, and blood inside his house on his bedroom rug in inordinate amounts, through DNA analysis confirmed unquestionably that O. J. was present at all locations. Nicole’s blood was in strange places it ought not to be if he was innocent. That all this evidence was evidence of a law enforcement frame-up would ask jurors to call into use their most imaginative conspiracy theory powers.
It wasn’t that Johnnie Cochran was the most brilliant tactician and legal counselor the law schools had ever produced, although he didn’t do a bad job either (compared to the prosecution), but his genius was in assembling one of the dumbest juries the court room had ever seen.
The comical Judge Ito, who would dress up sporting an aviator’s helmet on Pearl Harbor Day and run through the halls while at law school with a cape, and scream Bonzai , possessed management tactics which elevated the courtroom spectacle to entertainment rivaled only by the best episodes of Seinfeld.
In the end, O. J. got off. It may have been prudent to keep a low profile, make some effort to please the Browns and the Goldmans (instead of poking his finger in their eye every chance he got), but then again, it may have been prudent not to murder two people.
In this recent foray, O. J. got guys with guns to go with him and threaten harm to force return of merchandise that allegedly was his. That must be illegal, right?
I remember a 60 minutes interview with Michael Crichton, where author of the Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park commented on typical intellect among Hollywood starlets, lamenting, We are not talking dumb, we are talking two plus two equals three kind of dumb!
Having it all, wealth, popularity and fame, and throwing it all away in a murderous jealous rage only to get a second chance through the efforts of a retarded jury, you would think O. J. might mind his p’s and q’s well enough to avoid the slammer. But alas, O. J. must come from the same stock as Mr. Crichton’s imbecile starlets, and perhaps, be just a touch dumber.
The whole sad O. J. affair makes you think about all the stereotypical aphorisms which one might expect to apply:
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
You can take the boy out of the ghetto, but not the ghetto out of the boy.
My personal favorite:
Give a loser millions and he’ll still cut your head off.
O. J. must be a Democrat.
Copyright 2007 Jim Pontillo