October 4, 1995
Web posted at: 12:30 a.m. EDT
From Correspondent Anne McDermott
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- In a scene oddly reminiscent of last year's notorious low-speed Bronco chase, O.J. Simpson headed for home Tuesday. But this time, no police were after him. Simpson is a free man. Twelve jurors said so.
It was the same verdict in the deaths of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. As Simpson smiled and hugged his attorneys, sobs could be heard in the background. Sobs from the family of victim Ron Goldman.
The family of Simpson's former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, sat silent, seemingly stunned. Simpson's family later expressed their elation.
"For so many months, you been asking me how I feel," said Simpson's sister, Shirley Baker. "I could get on the table and do a jig." (77K AIFF sound or 77K WAV sound)
Simpson's eldest son, Jason, read a statement from his father.
"When things have settled a bit, I will pursue as my primary goal in life, the killer or killers who slaughtered Nicole and Mr. Goldman," the statement said.
For prosecutors Christopher Darden, Marcia Clark and Bill Hodgman, it was a stunning, bitter defeat. They watched the jurors with tightly controlled emotions as each was asked if he or she agreed with the verdict. All agreed. And so did the crowd outside the courthouse. (714K QuickTime movie)
At a prosecution press conference following the verdict, district attorney Gil Garcetti said he thought the jurors were swayed by emotion. And emotion suddenly overcame prosecutor Christopher Darden when it was his turn to speak.
Ron Goldman's father then stood at the microphone. "Last June, 1994, was the worst nightmare of my life. This is the second," he said. (145K AIFF sound or 145K WAV sound)
It was a quick end to a trial that once seemed as if it would go on forever. A trial that stretched out over eight months, featured more than 800 exhibits, ended with nearly 50,000 pages of testimony and was decided by a jury in less than four hours.
What mattered most to jurors about the case was not yet known. All declined to speak with lawyers or the media, except for juror Brenda Moran, who offered just a few words. "I think we did the right thing," she said. "I know we did the right thing."
Asked why the jury came back so quickly, Moran said, "We had nine months. We didn't need to take another nine months."
Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran suggested it was the lies of a racist cop named Mark Fuhrman that helped the jurors make their decision. And Cochran denied playing the so-called race card. (298K AIFF sound or 298K WAV sound)
"They introduced Fuhrman, and we dealt with him. We choose to call it the credibility card; we pursued his credibility," Cochran said. "And there is only one thing about the trial of the century you can say for sure, Nicole and Ron are not here, and Justin and Sydney will not be raised by their mother."
The trial of the century. Hundreds who hoped to be there for the ending began mobbing the courthouse early Tuesday.
Police, meanwhile blocked off the sidewalk outside the building, while helicopters hovered overhead. Helicopters that followed O.J. Simpson home -- to freedom.
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