Three Families Grieve in Simpson Courtroom
Jan. 25, 1995
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ They were three families united in sorrow.
No matter that some were allied with the victims and some with the defendant. When the bloody pictures of the dead flashed on the large TV screen in court, the Simpsons, the Goldmans and the Browns wept as one.
At the center of the courtroom tableaux was O.J. Simpson, struggling for control, reaching out with his eyes to his daughter Arnelle, his mother, Eunice, and his ex-mother-in-law, Juditha Brown, who began to sob as he stared her way.
Not long ago, the Simpsons and Browns had been one family. They remain tied by 9-year-old Sydney and 6-year-old Justin, Simpson's children from his marriage to Nicole Brown Simpson.
The Browns have been cordial toward the children's other grandmother, Eunice, who has come to court each day in a wheelchair. During a morning court break Tuesday, they shared with her an album of pictures of the children, who live with the Browns.
When the court day abruptly ended before defense opening statements, Simpson's lawyers were preparing to show jurors a large picture of him, smiling his famous smile and presenting flowers to his daughter at a dance recital only hours before her mother was killed.
Simpson appeared particularly pained when, during opening statements, a prosecutor described that last night of his ex-wife's life: the dance recital, the anger between them and his exclusion from a family party afterward at Mezzaluna.
``He was no longer the centerpiece of every family album,'' Deputy District Attorney Christopher Darden said. ``Nicole was getting on with her life.''
Then lead prosecutor Marcia Clark stood up and began the display of bloody photos, prompting gasps in the spectator section.
A lawyer brought Simpson water. He looked down and scribbled notes on a legal pad.
Ronald Goldman's body was shown first, a crumpled figure curled up in the corner of a walkway, his hands drawn up to his face. Goldman's stepmother and stepsister began to cry as Clark described him as the accidental victim, a man in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Then Clark flashed the giant blowup of Ms. Simpson in death, clad in a black halter dress, her shoulders exposed and a thick pool of blood at her neck, which was slashed open. Her face was not visible.
Weeping silently, Arnelle Simpson fell into the arms of her mother, Marquerite Simpson Thomas, Simpson's first wife. One of Simpson's sisters, Carmelita Simpson Durio, had tears streaming down her face as she placed an arm around their mother, whose face was grim but controlled.
Across the courtroom aisle, Ms. Simpson's sisters sobbed quietly. The judge had warned against any emotional displays in court.
For the most part, the jurors sat emotionless, looking intently at the photos. More than one glanced over at the public gallery where the grief-stricken families sat.
The relatives were there, at least in part, to remind the jury of the victims in a trial where they feared the dead might be forgotten.