Night of the Murders: OJ Simpson’s Case Timeline

O.J Simpson tries the black leather gloves in court, which are found in the crime scene.

On June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman were found brutally stabbed to death outside of her Los Angeles home. O.J. Simpson quickly became the prime suspect. On June 17, upon learning of the impending charges, he led police on a low-speed chase while hiding in the back of a Ford Bronco driven by his friend A.C. Cowlings. The attempted escape was televised and watched by 95 million viewers nationwide and concluded at the Simpson’s home where he was arrested and charged with two murders.

O.J. Simpson’s trial garnered immense media attention, earning it the moniker “Trial of the Century.” 

Following the news of his death on April 10, 2024, there has been renewed interest in revisiting his case timeline. Let’s take a detailed look back at the events using TrialLine, a legal timeline software.

Who is OJ Simpson?

O.J. Simpson was an American collegiate and professional football player renowned for his speed and elusiveness as a premier running back. His career rushing yardage ranked second all-time. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

O.J. Simpson was an American collegiate and professional football player renowned for his speed and elusiveness as a premier running back. His success on the field paved the way for a career in film and television.

Simpson, often nicknamed “Juice” for his energetic playing style and as a nod to his initials “O.J.,” was the first overall draft pick for the Buffalo Bills in 1969. The following year, the AFL merged with the NFL, and the Bills became part of the American Football Conference (AFC). In 1973, Simpson set a single-season record by rushing for 2,003 yards.

Although the Bills were not championship contenders during Simpson’s tenure, he was a major draw for fans. Knee injuries led the Bills to trade him to the San Francisco 49ers in 1979, but he retired after that season. Simpson led the AFC in rushing yardage four times (1972-1973, 1975-1976). At the time of his retirement, his career rushing yardage ranked second all-time. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

Simpson’s popularity extended beyond the NFL. He found success as a spokesperson and actor, appearing in films such as The Towering Inferno (1974) and the Naked Gun series (1988, 1991, and 1994). He also had guest roles on TV shows like In the Heat of the Night and worked as a sports commentator after retiring from football.

Timeline of the Murders

From a football superstar, movie star, sports commentator, and TV pitchman, O.J. Simpson’s career took an unprecedented fall following the 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole  Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. 

Here’s the established and highly detailed timeline of the case. 

The killings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman

June 12th, 1994: Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman are killed

6:30 PM: After attending her daughter’s dance recital with her ex-husband, Nicole has dinner with friends and family at Mezzaluna, a Brentwood restaurant where Ronald works as a waiter. Nicole’s mother accidentally leaves her eyeglasses at the restaurant and Ronald offers to drop them off at Nicole’s house. 

10:41 PM – 10:45 PM: Brian “Kato” Kaelin, a houseguest at Simpson’s Rockingham mansion located just a few miles from Nicole’s home, hears three loud noises from the opposite side of the wall and goes out to investigate.

10:50 PM – 10:55 PM: A neighbor notices Nicole’s white Akita by itself—barking with bloody paws.

11:01 PM: After waiting since 10:25 P.M., limousine driver Allan Park sees Simpson exit his house. A few minutes later, Park drives Simpson to Los Angeles International Airport for his flight to Chicago.

11:45 PM: Simpson departs for Chicago.

June 13, 1994: O.J Simpson becomes a suspect

12:01 AM: Nicole’s dog leads neighbors to the bodies of Ronald and Nicole, which are lying near the gate. 

4:15 AM: Simpson checks into a hotel in Chicago.

4:30 AM: Police arrive at Simpson’s Rockingham mansion to inform him of Nicole Brown Simpson’s death but instead discover his blood-stained Bronco and a bloody glove matching one found near Ronald Goldman’s body.

10:45 AM: Armed with a search warrant, the police search Simpon’s mansion and find additional blood traces on the property, including inside his Bronco.

12 PM:  After being informed of his ex-wife’s death, Simpson returns to Los Angeles and arrives at his mansion, where he is handcuffed and taken to the police station for hours of questioning.

June 15, 1994: Robert Shapiro becomes O.J. Simpson’s attorney

Defense attorney Robert Shapiro replaces Howard Weitzman as lead counsel Simpson.

June 16, 1994: Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman’s funerals are held

O.J. Simpson, along with two of his children, attends the funeral of Nicole Brown Simpson. A separate funeral is held for Ronald Goldman.

The Car Chase and Charges Against O.J Simpson

On the evening of Friday, June 17, 1994, a white Ford Bronco with California license plate 3DHY503 was driven down the freeways of Southern California by former football player Al Cowlings. In the backseat was O.J. Simpson holding a gun to his own head.

June 17, 1994: The Bronco freeway chase

Simpson is officially accused of murdering his ex-wife and her friend. Despite initially promising to surrender to authorities, he flees and becomes a fugitive. He is later spotted off the freeway in a white Ford Bronco with his friend Al “A.C.” Cowlings driving.

Fans begin to line the freeways to show support. As helicopters track Simpon’s Bronco, an estimated 95 million people watch the 60-mile chase on TV (famously interrupting the broadcast of the NBA finals). Simpson eventually surrendered at his house shortly before 9 P.M. He was arrested and jailed without bail.

July 22, 1994: O.J. Simpson pleads not guilty

Simpson asserts he is “completely, unequivocally, and entirely not guilty” of the murder charges. Judge Lance Ito is assigned to preside over the case.

Pre-Trial Preparations

The OJ Simpson trial jury— consisting of 12 men and 12 women— is sequestered

September 9, 1994: Prosecutors seek life without parole

The prosecution opts not to pursue the death penalty and instead seeks a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the defendant if he is found guilty.

November 3, 1994: The jury is selected

The first jury is chosen and consists of four men and eight women. Among them, eight jurors are Black, one is Hispanic, one is White, and two are of mixed race. 

January 11, 1995: The jury reports for duty

The jury— consisting of 12 men and 12 women— is sequestered.

January 15-16, 1995: Simpson’s attorney cease communication with each other

Attorney Robert Shapiro informs the media that he and another one of Simpon’s defense attorneys, F. Lee Bailey, are no longer communicating. 

January 18, 1995: Johnnie Cochran assumes control of the defense

Johnnie Cochran assumes the role of lead counsel for the defense.

Judge Ito decided that the jury would be permitted to hear evidence of Simpson’s purported domestic abuse towards Brown.

The Trial

O.J Simpson during his 1994 trial for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

January 24, 1995: The prosecution begins its opening statement

Prosecutors Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden deliver impassioned opening statements. Darden informs the jury, “He killed her out of jealousy. He killed her because he couldn’t have her.”

January 27, 1995: O.J. Simpson’s book is released.

February 3, 1995: Simpson’s sister-in-law takes the stand

Denise Brown, Simpson’s sister-in-law, tearfully testifies about Simpson’s abuse towards his ex-wife.

February 12, 1995: The jury visits key locations.

The jurors visit Simpson’s Rockingham home and Nicole Brown Simpson’s house on South Bundy Drive, now labeled a crime scene.

March 13, 1995: A detective in the case says he’s not racist

Detective Mark Fuhrman is cross-examined and denies being racist. He also rejects the defense’s theory that he sabotaged the investigation by tampering with evidence.

March 21, 1995: Kato Kaelin takes the stand again

For a second time, Simpson’s houseguest testifies, describing how he spent the evening with Simpson just hours before the double homicide occurred.

April 4, 1995: An investigator admits to mishandling procedures at the crime scene

Criminologist Dennis Fung admits that proper protocols were not fully enforced at the crime scene. 

May 10, 1995: The DNA evidence is presented

The DNA testimony starts, and jurors discover that only one in 170 million people, including Simpson, would match the generic characteristics of a drop of blood found at the crime scene.

June 15, 1995: O.J. Simpson tries the leather gloves

Darden has Simpson try on the leather gloves in front of the jury. Simpson puts them on and states they are “too tight.”

August 29, 1995: Tape recordings are released of Detective Mark Fuhrman using racial slurs

The jury listens to previous taped recordings of Fuhrman using various racial slurs and boasting about his use of police brutality. This contradicts the detective’s earlier testimony during cross-examination.

September 28, 1995: The defense delivers its closing statement

After the prosecution’s closing arguments the day before, Cochran presented his closing statement to the jury, famously stating: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

The Verdict and Aftermath

October 3, 1995: OJ Simpson is acquitted

After deliberating for less than four hours, the jury reaches a verdict of NOT GUILTY on two counts of murder. Simpson is acquitted and released.

October 23, 1996: A civil trial commences against O.J. Simpson for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman

The families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, including Fred Goldman, his father, filed a lawsuit against O.J. Simpson for damages in civil court regarding the wrongful death of their loved ones. The trial started just over a year after Simpson’s criminal acquittal.

February 4, 1997: The jury holds O.J Simpson accountable for the 1994 murders

Following a five-month extension of the civil trial, the 12-member jury unanimously concluded that the former football star was responsible for the deaths of his ex-wife and her friend. They granted $8.5 million in compensatory damages to the parents of Goldman.

A week later, they determined that Simspon should compensate both victim’s families with $25 million in punitive damages. Fred Goldman, expressing his satisfaction, stated, “ The jury decision last Tuesday was the only decision important to us, to find the killer of my son and Nicole. The money was not an issue. It never has been. It’s holding the man who killed my son and Nicole responsible.”

Additional Offenses

Simpson orchestrated the entry of a team of men into a Las Vegas hotel and casino allegedly to steal his own sports memorabilia at gunpoint.

September 2007: Simpson and a group of men rob a Las Vegas hotel and casino

Simpson orchestrated the entry of a team of men into a Las Vegas hotel and casino allegedly to steal his own sports memorabilia at gunpoint.

Simpson faced multiple felony charges, including kidnapping and armed robbery.

October 2008: Simpson was found guilty of kidnapping, armed robbery and assault

Convicted alongside co-defendant Clarence “C.J.” Stewart, Simpson was found guilty of kidnapping, armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, and conspiracy. Four additional accomplices accepted plea deals and were sentenced to probation.

December 2008: Sentenced to 33 years

Simpson was sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison and sent to Lovelock Correctional Center in northern Nevada.

A Freeman

In July 2017, O.J. Simpson was granted parole with the earliest possible release date of October 1, 2017.

He was allowed to give an account of his botched robbery to the parole board, stating how he learned that “some guys” were trying to “fence” what were said to be his mementos in Las Vegas.

“ I said, ‘Of course, I would like to get the property. He told me the names of what he thought were the people in the room and I realized these were friends of mine. You know? Actually, guys who helped me move, helped me move and store some stuff.”

“When I came into the room I noticed spread out everywhere was my personal property. The only thing I saw that was on display that wasn’t mine was some baseballs, and I made clear to everybody that those were not mine. All I want is my property. …I wasn’t there to steal from anybody.”

Simpson added, “ I haven’t made any excuses in the nine years I’m not trying to make excuses now.”

When asked if he believed the property was his, Simpson replied, “The state of California has legally ruled that it was my property and they’ve given it to me. “

Simpson also reassured the board that we would successfully meet the conditions of his parole, saying, I’m not someone who lived a criminal life.”

“ I had some problems with fidelity in my life, but I’ve always been someone who got along with everybody, he said.

On October 1, 2017, the first day he was eligible for release, 70-year-old Simpson walked out of the Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada.


Simpson’s family announced his death on April 11, 2024, one day after he passed away from cancer.

“ On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer,” they wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren. During this time of the transition, his family asks that you please respect their wishes for privacy and grace.”

O.J. Simpson’s Case Timeline In TrialLine

O.J. Simpson’s murder case, his involvement in a low-speed police chase, a hotel robbery, and even his final moments have captured significant media attention. His life is filled with details that both support and contradict his involvement in the “Night of the Murders.” Although he was found liable during the civil trial for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, some evidence suggests he may not have been the culprit, such as allegations of racism affecting his trials. To explore the case further, we will map out the details of his timeline in chronological order, demonstrating how TrialLine can be used for future case chronologies.

O.J. Simpson’s murder case, his involvement in a low-speed police chase, a hotel robbery, and even his final moments have captured significant media attention, bringing you to this case. Using TrialLine, we will map out the details of his timeline in chronological order to demonstrate how one can use TrialLine for future case chronologies.

TrialLine is designed for lawyers and law firms to enhance trial presentations and legal timelines, providing maximum insight into their cases. TrialLine allows you to create customized legal timelines that clearly and convincingly communicate important details, displaying them in an easy-to-understand, event-by-event format. You can attach supporting documents directly to each event on the timeline. With TrialLine, collaboration is simple. Easily organize and share your case events and related documents with staff, experts, juries, opposing counsel, and other attorneys.

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