25 Years Later: Remembering Nicole Brown Simpson And Ron Goldman
On June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman were attacked and brutally stabbed to death outside Brown Simpson’s condominium in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Brentwood. Brown's estranged husband, superstar athlete and Hollywood actor O.J. Simpson, was arrested and charged with the murders. In 1995, following a case that was dubbed the "Trial of the Century" that played in wall-to-wall Court TV coverage, a jury acquitted the former Heisman trophy winner of all charges.
While the horrific final moments of their lives have been played out for over two decades, we do not know well enough who Ron and Nicole were before they perished.
Nicole was beautiful, wealthy and had a superstar husband who she met at the Daisy Club in Beverly Hills when she was 18, and he was 30. Despite the age difference - and the fact that Simpson was still married to his first wife - the couple began dating. They married in 1985 and had two children, Justin and Sydney. On the outside, Nicole appeared to have the perfect family, but for years the relationship was rocky, and she was hiding a dark secret.
After her murder, the case would force the public to confront the painful issue of domestic violence, and to reexamine their perceptions of victims. According to an interview friend Kris Jenner had with Dateline NBC in 2014, weeks before her death Brown Simpson confided in Jennner “Things are really bad between OJ and I, and he’s going to kill me, and he’s going to get away with it." Simpson was investigated multiple times by police for domestic violence, pleading no contest to spousal abuse in 1989. In 1992, Nicole filed for divorce - but the couple later reconciled, and the alleged abuse continued. Audio released during the murder trial of O. J. Simpson revealed that Brown called 911 on October 25, 1993, crying and saying that "He [Simpson] is going to beat the shit out of me." The couple ended their relationship for good after this incident. At trial jurors saw photos of bruises, heard her calls to police and heard her sister Denise Brown testify that she saw Simpson get angry and that the former football star “grabbed Nicole… threw her against a wall.”
“For a lot of people, domestic violence was still very much something that happened behind closed doors,” Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, told People. Domestic violence organizations saw an uptick in awareness and reporting during and after the trial, according to Time.
Members of Nicole's family believe that the country still has a long way to go. To mark the anniversary of Nicole's death Tanya Brown, her younger sister, appeared in a music video called "I Remember Nicole". A new exhibit at Alcatraz East Crime Museum in Pigeon Forge, TN called "Passion for Life: Nicole Brown Simpson" opened on what would have been Nicole's 60th birthday, as reported by WBIR. The exhibit features family photos and personal items and, according to the exhibitors focuses on her life - not the night that it ended.
Ron Goldman was just 25 when he was murdered. He was working as a waiter at Mezzaluna restaurant, and also modeling part-time. Ron was born in Chicago, and raised largely by his father Fred Goldman. He moved to Southern California with his family at age 18. His friends remember him as someone who was energetic, kind, and who loved life. Ron had worked as a tennis instructor and employment headhunter before the Mezzaluna job and told his friends that he had dreams of opening his own bar or restaurant in Brentwood. According to media reports, Goldman most likely met Brown-Simpson weeks before her death. She let him drive her Ferrari, and according to police, they were friends.
Twenty-five years later, his sister Kim Goldman calls him a "hero." "He put himself in harm's way to protect somebody else," Kim Goldman told ABC News. "His last act of his life really showed you exactly who he was -- his dedication and his commitment to his friends and the people that he loved and cared about. Even Nicole, for all we know who was an acquaintance. He didn't run."
To mark the anniversary, Kim Goldman is launching a 10-episode podcast called "Confronting: O.J. Simpson." She will interview key players in the case including prosecutor Marcia Clark and infamous Simpson house guest Kato Kaelin. Today, she works as a victims' advocate and speaks on issues including gun control, statute of limitations on sexual assault and teen mental health. She also serves as a Vice Chair for the National Center for Victims of Crime.