Deputy Dist. Atty. Christopher Darden delivered the first part of the opening statement made by the prosecution Tuesday in the O.J. Simpson double murder trial. Here are excerpts of his statement:
Your Honor Judge Ito, Mr. Cochran and Mr. Shapiro and Dean Uelmen, and to my colleagues seated here today in front of you, and to the real parties in interest in this case, the Brown family, the Goldman family and the Simpson family, and to you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, good morning.
I think it's fair to say that I have the toughest job in town today. Except for the job that you have. Your job may just be a little bit tougher. But your job, and like my job, both have a central focus, a single objective, and that objective is justice, obviously. . . .
We're here today, obviously, to resolve an issue, to settle a question, a question that has been on the minds of people throughout the country these last seven months. . . . Did O.J. Simpson really kill Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman?
Well, finally, ladies and gentlemen, I am here in front of you this morning to answer that question. And we will answer that question from the witness stand, and from the exhibits you'll see in this case, and from the evidence. And when you see the evidence, and when you hear the witnesses, and when you put it all together and consider the totality of circumstances in this case, the answer will be clear to you as well.
The answer to the question is yes. The evidence will show that the answer to the question is yes. O.J. Simpson murdered Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. . . .
Why? Why would he do it? Why would he do it? Not O.J. Simpson. Not the O.J. Simpson we think we know, not the O.J. Simpson we think we've seen over the years. We've seen him play football for USC, we watched him play against UCLA, play in the Rose Bowl, we watched him win the Heisman Trophy. He may be the best running back in the history of the NFL.
We watched him leap turnstiles and chairs and run to the airplane in Hertz commercials. . . . We watched him with a 50-inch Afro in "Naked Gun 33 1/3." We've seen him time and time again. We came to think that we know him.
What we've been seeing, ladies and gentlemen, is just a public face, a public persona, a face of the athlete, a face of the actor. It is not the actor who is on trial here today, ladies and gentlemen. It is not that public face. There is that other face. Like many men in public, there is a public image, a public side, a public life. He may also have a private side, a private face. And that is the face we will expose to you in this trial, the other side of O.J. Simpson.
The other face that Nicole Brown encountered almost every day of her adult life, the face she encountered at the last moment of her adult life, the face that encountered Ronald Goldman during the last moments of his life.
The evidence will show that the face you see, and the man you will see, is the face of a batterer, a wife beater, an abuser, a controller. You will see the face of Ron and Nicole's murderer.
To understand what happened, we need to examine the defendant's relationship with Nicole. You will see his motive for killing his ex-wife. As you hear the evidence in the case, that motive will become clear. He killed Nicole--not because he hated her. He didn't hate Nicole. He didn't kill her because he didn't love her anymore. He killed for a reason almost as old as mankind itself. He killed her out of jealousy. He killed her because he couldn't have her. And if he couldn't have her, he didn't want anybody else to have her. He killed her to control her.
Control was a continuing thing, the central focus of the entire relationship. By killing Nicole, the defendant assumed total control of her. By killing her, nobody could have her.
He killed Ron Goldman for another reason. He killed Ron Goldman because he got in the way.
He killed Nicole because he had a problem with her, as men and women sometimes do have in relationships. They have a problem, and this defendant's problem demanded a courtroom. I think he stated the problem rather eloquently as he stood over her body at her wake. And he said then, and he said on other occasions, and I quote, he said while standing over Nicole's body, "My problem was that I loved her too much."
'It Wasn't Really Love . . . It Was an Obsession'
But it wasn't really love, ladies and gentleman, and this'll be reflected in the evidence, and the evidence will establish that it wasn't really love. What this defendant had for Nicole Brown wasn't love, it was an obsession. He became obsessed with her, and his obsession was so great that he developed a need to control her. And his need to control, and his obsession was so great that when he came to realize that he could not keep her, he killed her, because to let her go would mean to lose control of her. To let her go with Ron Goldman or someone else would mean to lose control. He couldn't have her, and neither could anyone else.