Once again the outcome galvanized and divided the nation, playing out as a surreal tale of race and celebrity in America.
This time, though, as a mostly white jury held O.J. Simpson accountable for the deaths of his former wife and her friend, it was the black community that was left somber and cynical.
There was a greater sense of inevitability among many blacks interviewed Tuesday than was expressed by whites in 1995, when Simpson was cleared of double-murder charges at his criminal trial.
"I probably feel the way that people felt with the first jury," said Kyrha Dahan, 38, an African American acting teacher outside the Magic Johnson Theatres in the Crenshaw district. "White people said . . . [a mostly] all-black jury couldn't come back with a fair verdict. I think an all-white jury couldn't be fair."
At the courthouse in Santa Monica, a large, mostly white crowd cheered wildly for the family of Ronald Goldman and taunted the departing Simpson with shouts of "killer! killer!" The crowd's elation paralleled the widely televised nationwide reactions among many groups of blacks to the criminal trial verdicts.
Yvonne Adler of West Los Angeles broke down in tears of joy and huddled in a circle with her friends, crying and hugging them as she repeated, again and again, "12-0, 12-0."
"This is personal," Adler said. "This shows me that a man who does something like this has been exposed and found guilty."
At the Boulevard Cafe in the Crenshaw district, the mostly African American clientele expressed dismay but little surprise.
The cafe's owner, 63-year-old Frank Holoman, stressed that the new verdicts were wrong and attributed the decision to racial motives.
"He was judged innocent in his criminal trial. They had to find a way to get him, and this is how they got him," he said. "He'll be a target as long as he lives.
"Here in America, black people have always had to accept the verdict of white jurors--even when people were totally innocent and sent to jail," he said. "So we should have accepted the verdict of the first jury. But white America was not ready to accept this."
The racial divisions in the case were blurred to some extent by Simpson's wealth and celebrity.
In the mostly black Potrero Hill section of San Francisco, where Simpson grew up in a housing project, a number of residents gathered at a recreation center to await the verdicts while 25-year-old cabinetmaker Jose Torres played basketball with friends.
"They had a lot of evidence against him. I knew he did it in the first place," Torres said. "If you've got money, you can do anything in the world. . . . His fame saved him from going to prison."
Some in the recreation center said they were tired of the case--and tired of reporters who only visit their community to ask about Simpson.
"I like O.J. But if he messed up, he messed up," said Kerry Dolford. "I feel like this: The good Lord takes care of all of it. If O.J. did it, it's gonna eat him up inside."
Even so, in many black neighborhoods the bitterness ran deep.
"The justice system just pocketed O.J.," said one man at a Crenshaw beauty shop. "White America, shame on you. Black power!"
"There are some deep wounds that were created by both of these trials . . . a line in the sand that still divides us," John Mack of the Los Angeles Urban League told television interviewers. "I don't think this decision is necessarily going to widen the wounds, [but] it didn't heal anything. . . ."
Two jurors from the criminal trial--one black, one white, but both of whom had voted for acquittal 16 months ago--split on Tuesday's verdicts.
"I love it. I couldn't be happier," said Anise Aschenbach, a 62-year-old white woman who said she thought Simpson was guilty but felt compelled by jury instructions to acquit him. "It conflicts with our verdicts, but it sure doesn't conflict with the way I felt inside about whether he did the crime.
"I always had that feeling that he did it," she said. "In the criminal trial it had to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. That is the difference between then and now. They [civil jurors] only needed 51%, plus they had some additional evidence that I thought was important too.
"It has nagged me that [Fred Goldman] felt that he hasn't had 12 people say that O.J. killed his son. This will mean some closure."
But her fellow juror, Yolanda Crawford, who is black, said she was shocked that the civil jury even reached a verdict, let alone a unanimous one. "I thought they'd definitely end in a mistrial or a hung jury," she said.
"I still feel good about my decision. I still believe there was reasonable doubt," she said.
Crawford stressed that she did not believe either jury was swayed by racial prejudice. "Race was not a part of our verdict. I don't think race was a part of this verdict," she said.