October 24, 1996 in Nation/World

‘Last Fight For Justice’ Simpson Portrayed As Enraged Killer As Civil Trial Opens

Associated Press
 

His fortune - not his freedom - at stake this time, the twice-told tale of O.J. Simpson opened Wednesday with an attorney saying the lawsuit represents the “last fight for justice” for the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

In an opening statement at Simpson’s civil trial, attorney Daniel Petrocelli branded him the man who confronted Nicole Simpson and Goldman on June 12, 1994, and stabbed them to death.

“They were defenseless against a man - large, powerful, strong, armed with a 6-inch knife, and in a total state of rage,” Petrocelli said.

Goldman “died with his eyes open,” Petrocelli said. “In the last few, furious moments of his life, he saw the person who killed his friend Nicole. The last person (he) saw through his open eyes was the man who ended his young life, the man who now sits in the courtroom, the defendant.”

Simpson seemed to pay close attention, conferring with his lawyers and occasionally shaking his head in disagreement with Petrocelli, who represents Goldman’s father, Fred.

The Brown and Goldman families are suing the former football star for unspecified monetary damages for wrongful death in the slayings. The civil trial opened a little over a year after a jury in criminal court acquitted him of murder.

Petrocelli, who called the case “Fred Goldman’s last fight for justice,” portrayed Ronald Goldman as a hero who refused to back away from the murderer. Fred Goldman began to cry when Petrocelli described his son’s last moments, returning a pair of eyeglasses to Nicole Simpson’s home.

Petrocelli generally relied on the timeline drawn by prosecutors at the murder trial but estimated the killings happened later in the evening.

He drew frequent objections from defense attorney Robert Baker for “arguing” his case to the jurors rather than merely stating the facts.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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