Fred and Kim Goldman made no effort to hide their satisfaction at watching O.J. Simpson -- the man they believe killed Ron Goldman, their son and brother, respectively, as well as his own wife, Nicole Brown Simpson -- led away to jail after receiving a nine-to-33-year prison sentence for an armed robbery and kidnapping in Las Vegas.
“It was a good day for us. It’s been a long time coming,” Kim Goldman told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira Monday in New York. She said that Simpson “obviously will never pay for what he did to Ron and Nicole, but he is finally going to be held accountable for something. Nine years is better than nothing; 33 sounds great. We’ll take what we can.”
“We wanted to see him, frankly, walk into that room in shackles, walk out in shackles; walk out knowing he was going back to jail, where he belongs,” added Fred Goldman.
Third Time’s the Charm
Twice before, Kim Goldman told Vieira, she and her father had watched Simpson walk out the front door of a courtroom a free man. The first time was on Oct. 3, 1995, when he was acquitted of the gruesome 1994 murders of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson outside her Southern California home. The second time was in 1997, after they won a $33.5-million judgment against Simpson in a wrongful death civil suit.
“For two trials, he’s walked out behind us, out the front door to freedom, and this time he’s going back to his 7-by-14 jail cell alone,” Kim Goldman said.
Fred Goldman said that Simpson, who moved to protect his money from the civil judgment, has never directly paid a nickel of it. “We have managed to take some things away from him,” he added. “We have taken the royalties from his movies away from him.”
When Simpson wrote a book titled “If I Did It,” the Goldmans also managed to block publication and win the rights to the book. They then published it themselves under the title “If I Did It: The Confessions of the Killer” and kept the royalties. They have also reportedly received money from the sale of the Heisman Trophy Simpson won in 1968, and other memorabilia.
The Goldmans told Vieira they feel that their relentless pursuit of Simpson was a factor in his decision last September to lead a group of men in an effort to recover collectibles he says were stolen from him. The group entered the Las Vegas hotel room of the men holding the memorabilia and held them at gunpoint.
It was that robbery that led to last Friday’s sentencing of Simpson to a minimum of nine years and a maximum of 33 years in a Nevada state prison. Simpson’s lawyers are appealing the verdict in the trial, which ended in a guilty finding on Oct. 3 — 13 years to the day he was acquitted of the Goldman-Brown murders.
“We feel very strongly that our pursuit of him for the better part of a decade, having to force him to live his life in the shadows, to live a very deceitful, deceptive existence, I think, pushed him to this,” Kim Goldman said.
Fred Goldman said that recordings made during the Las Vegas robbery confirmed his daughter’s belief. At one point on the tapes, he said, Simpson says, “We gotta get this stuff so the Goldmans don’t get it.”
From Gridiron to Courtroom
Simpson, 61, emerged on the national scene as a great running back for USC. In 1968, He won the Heisman Trophy, emblematic of college football’s best player. The following year, he began his pro football career with the Buffalo Bills. In 1973, he became the first player in NFL history to rush for more than 2,000 yards. Although his career was cut short by knee injuries, he was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985, his first year of eligibility.
Possessed of an infectious smile and ample personal charm, Simpson became a TV pitchman and actor, and hobnobbed with superstars and celebrities. But his personal life was less successful. He divorced his first wife, the former Marguerite L. Whitley, in 1979, after 12 years of marriage. He has two adult children from that marriage. A third child died in an accidental drowning at the age of 2.
Six years later, Simpson married Nicole Brown, by whom he had two children, Sydney, now 23, and Justin, now 20. He and Brown were divorced in 1992.
The bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, were found outside her home on June 12, 1994. Named a suspect, Simpson initially refused to turn himself in and led police on a low-speed chase through the Los Angeles area before finally submitting to arrest. Charged with the murders, Simpson stood trial in the courtroom of Lance Ito.
The trial became a national obsession, broadcast live and endlessly commented on. Simpson’s high-powered team of attorneys, led by Johnny Cochran, planted enough doubt in the minds of the jurors to win him an acquittal on Oct. 3, 1995.
A Long Time Coming
The Goldmans subsequently filed a wrongful death civil suit against Simpson. A jury decided in their favor, awarding them $33.5 million in damages, most of which remains unpaid.
The Goldmans said they will continue to pursue Simpson and his remaining possessions.
“Frankly, if it means taking something else away from him, absolutely,” Fred Goldman told Vieira.
“We will continue to pursue him [at] every opportunity we have according to the law,” Kim Goldman added. “The civil suit was the only opportunity we had to punish him for what he did to Ron and Nicole.”
Both Goldmans said they never thought they’d see Simpson sent to prison.
“It is remarkable that ultimately now we have seen him go to jail,” Fred Goldman said. “I don’t think either one of us ever would have imagined we would have seen that day. It’s a good feeling.”
But, he added, “It’s not justice for Ron.”