OJ Simpson to be released: Key moments of the 'trial of the century'

As 'the Juice' looks likely to leave prison, what's the story behind the murders of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman?

OJ Simpson tries on the disputed gloves during his trial

OJ Simpson may be about to become a free man once again - 22 years after from the "trial of the century".

Simpson faces a parole hearing in Nevada today for his 2008 conviction for kidnapping, armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and conspiracy.

The "disgraced gridiron hero", as The Guardian describes him, broke into a Las Vegas hotel room on 13 September 2007 and, with the help of several accomplices, held up two memorabilia dealers for collectables and personal items he claimed were rightfully his.

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He was found guilty by a jury on all 12 charges and given the maximum sentence of 15 years.

Today, "an aging Simpson will appear as inmate No. 1027820, dressed in blue jeans and a blue button-down shirt, in a stark hearing room in a remote Nevada prison", says ABC News.

The four commissioners who will decide Simpson's fate already granted him parole on the lesser charges of kidnapping, robbery and burglary at a hearing in 2013, leaving him with four years remaining before reaching the minimum sentence of nine years.

Lovelock Correctional Centre Warden Renee Baker told ABC on Wednesday she couldn't say how Simpson's parole hearing might turn out. "We'll see tomorrow," she said.

Retired Lovelock prison guard Jeffrey Felix told the Los Angeles Times that Simpson is the perfect candidate for parole. “That’s all he thinks about,” said Felix. “If he gets into a conflict [with another inmate], he backs out. He wants to be a free man again.”

It was in 1995 that Simpson, a retired American football player, broadcaster and actor nicknamed "the Juice", was tried for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. He was acquitted on both counts in October 1995.

In 1997, he was found liable in civil court for the deaths and ordered to pay $33.5 million to survivors, including his children and the Goldman family. A Goldman family spokesman said Ron Goldman's father and sister, Fred and Kim, won't be part of Simpson's parole hearing but feel apprehensive about "how this will change their lives again should Simpson be released".

The lengthy and internationally publicised legal proceedings became known as "the trial of the century" and it "has continued to capture the imagination of American society two decades on," says The Guardian.

Just last year, it inspired OJ: Made in America, a 467-minute film that won the Academy award for best documentary feature, and The People v OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, a 10-episode television series that won nine Primetime Emmy awards.

Here, we look back at the key moments of the real-life case:

The murders

On 12 June 1994, Brown was found with Goldman stabbed to death outside her house in Brentwood, Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 16:LAX04C-16JUNE94-FILES: This photo from the CaliforniaDepartment of Motor Vehicles shows the driver's license of Nicole Brown Simpson, the ex-wife of former professio

(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

The driver's licence of Nicole Brown

Her former husband, Orenthal James Simpson, was named as a person of interest in their deaths.

The arrest

On 17 June, after failing to turn himself in, Simpson became the subject of a low-speed police chase in a white Ford Bronco SUV. Reports of the chase interrupted coverage of the 1994 NBA finals and, along with Simpson's arrest and trial, became some of the most highly publicised events in US history.

The Trial

Simpson pleaded not guilty to both murders. The initial jury was dismissed over concerns the extreme media coverage might influence its neutrality. Of the final jurors selected, eight were black, two Hispanic, one was white and one identified himself as half white and half American Indian. Eight were women and four were men - the prosecution thought women would sympathise with Brown, a domestic violence victim, but the defence looked to evidence suggesting they were more likely to acquit.

LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES:Prosecutors Marcia Clark (L) and Christopher Darden (R) listen to defense lawyer Johnnie Cochran Jr. 27 September while he addresses the jury during closing argumen

(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Prosecutors Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden

The trial began on 24 January 1995, with the prosecution opening its case with a recording of a 911 call Brown had made in 1989, in which she said she was afraid Simpson, then her husband, would physically harm her. The former sports star was heard yelling at her in the background.

Televised justice

On the first day of the trial, a television camera captured the face of a juror, despite assurances from the trial judge, Lance Ito, that jurors would not be photographed or shown to the public.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29:Judge Lance Ito points to and yells at defense attorney Barry Scheck to sit down during a hearing following an objection by the defense on prosecutor Marcia Cla

(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Judge Lance Ito

However, after a hearing, Judge Ito decided to allow the cameras to stay and the trial was televised by Court TV, with excerpts shown on other cable and network news outlets.

The case

The prosecution had no murder weapon but presented dozens of expert witnesses on DNA, blood and shoeprint analysis to place Simpson at the scene of the crime.

The witnesses

Brown's older sister, Denise, testified that her sibling had been an abused wife and recounted numerous incidents of Simpson's violent behaviour.

There was also a flamboyant testimony from Brian "Kato" Kaelin, Simpson's former houseguest, which seemed to contradict his account of events but still frustrated District Attorney Marcia Clark's prosecution team.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 4:O.J.Simpson (L) looks over the shoulder of his head defense attorney, Robert Shapiro, 04 January during a hearing in which Simpson waived his right to challenge th

(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

OJ Simpson and Robert Shapiro

When asked if he had moved into Simpson's guest house to promote his own acting career, Kaelin replied: "I don't think we were going for the same parts."

Two witnesses – a woman who had allegedly seen Simpson speeding away from the scene of the crime in his white Bronco and a man who had sold him a knife similar to the one used in the murder – were not called because they had sold their stories to the tabloids.

The bloody glove

Simpson's defence, nicknamed the "Dream Team" by journalists, argued that Los Angeles police detective Mark Fuhrman had planted key evidence – a bloody glove – at the crime scene.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 28:O.J. Simpson's lead defense attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr. addresses the jury during closing arguments 28 September in Los Angeles.Cochran implored the jury to ga

(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Johnnie Cochran

Simpson was asked to try on the glove in court and when it did not fit, defence lawyer Johnnie Cochrane developed the mantra: "It doesn't fit, you must acquit."

The Verdict

After four hours of deliberation, the jury found Simpson not guilty, with the judge's announcement being made on 3 October 1995.

LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES:Murder defendant O.J. Simpson (R) consults with friend Robert Kardashian (C) and Alvin Michelson (L), the attorney representing Kardashian, during a hearing about K

(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Alvin Michelson, Robert Kardashian and OJ Simpson

An estimated 100 million people worldwide stopped what they were doing to watch or listen to it.

The aftermath

Following Simpson's acquittal, Goldman's family filed a civil lawsuit against him in which the jury unanimously found him liable for the wrongful death of Goldman and Brown and he was ordered to pay damages of $33.5m (approximately £24m).

Simpson was dogged by further court cases to prevent him from profiting from a book deal and to claim a larger share of his assets. In 2007, he was arrested after leading a group of men who entered a Los Vegas hotel-casino and, at gunpoint, removed sports memorabilia he claimed belonged to him. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for kidnapping and armed robbery and remains behind bars in Nevada.

The final episode of The People v OJ Simpson will be on BBC2 tonight at 9pm

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