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Family Says O.J. Was ‘Distraught’

Tue., July 11, 1995

Lawyers for O.J. Simpson began his defense on Monday, seeking to establish that he was grief-stricken and distraught rather than detached and concerned primarily for himself when the family was told Nicole Brown Simpson was murdered.

The first witness was Simpson’s eldest daughter, 26-year-old Arnelle, who testified her father was “emotional,” “distraught” and “out of control” when he learned about his former wife’s death. She was followed to the stand by one of Simpson’s sisters, Carmelita Simpson-Durio. “What I would say is he was out of it,” Simpson-Durio said of Simpson the night of June 13, 1994. “He was shocked, dazed.”

Next to testify was Simpson’s 73-year-old mother, Eunice. Assisted by a defense lawyer and a sheriff’s deputy, and using a cane, Eunice Simpson hobbled to the stand and took the oath sitting down. She said that she needed the cane because she had rheumatoid arthritis, which she said ran in her family, with Simpson having it “most of all.”

“Oh, he seemed very upset,” she said of her son’s demeanor after the killings. “Shocked.”

Simpson smiled intently at his mother when she referred to him as “Orenthal James, my No. 2 son.”

Tags: trial

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