What Happened The Night That Nicole Brown Simpson Died?

Published April 21, 2024

On June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson was murdered at her Los Angeles home — and her ex-husband O.J. Simpson soon became the prime suspect.

Warning: This article contains graphic descriptions and/or images of violent, disturbing, or otherwise potentially distressing events.

Nicole Brown Simpson

Brown Family PhotoNicole Brown Simpson’s death is one of the most infamous murders in Los Angeles history.

Nicole Brown Simpson was just 35 when she was found stabbed to death outside her home in Los Angeles on June 12, 1994. She was found alongside her friend Ron Goldman, who had also been fatally stabbed.

The crime scene was unspeakably gruesome. Brown Simpson had been stabbed 12 times, and the wound across her neck was so deep that she was almost decapitated. As for Goldman, he had been stabbed 25 times.

This horrifying incident deeply disturbed the quiet neighborhood of Brentwood — and the rest of America. The country would be even more shocked when Brown Simpson’s ex-husband, former professional football player O.J. Simpson, became the prime suspect in the double homicide.

This is the heartbreaking true story of Nicole Brown Simpson’s death.

Nicole Brown Simpson’s Tumultuous Relationship With O.J. Simpson

Oj Simpson And Nicole Brown Simpson

Ralph Dominguez/MediaPunch Inc/Alamy Stock PhotoO.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown Simpson had a deeply troubled marriage.

Nicole Brown Simpson was born in Frankfurt, West Germany, on May 19, 1959, to Louis Brown Jr. and Juditha Brown. Her mother was German, and her father was American. Nicole was the second of four daughters.

After the family relocated to the United States, Nicole thrived in her new California home. She eventually attended Dana Hills High School in Dana Point, where she was popular and well-liked by her classmates. Her peers even named her homecoming princess. When Nicole wasn’t in class, she enjoyed spending time at the beach with her friends.

“Nicole was bubbly, always happy and smiling,” her former teacher Bill Prestridge said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

At age 18, Nicole was working as a waitress at The Daisy, a high-end club in Beverly Hills. It was there that she crossed paths with O.J. Simpson, a meeting that would alter the course of her life forever.

Simpson, already married with children and nearing the end of his football career, was drawn to the young waitress and pursued her until she agreed to start dating him. Though he was about 12 years older than her, their relationship took off fast and they soon spent nearly every moment together.

Eventually, O.J. Simpson divorced his first wife, Marguerite Whitley, in 1979 and later married Nicole Brown Simpson in 1985.

Oj Simpson With His Family

Barry King/Alamy Stock PhotoAfter O.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown Simpson married in 1985, they welcomed two children.

The newlywed couple welcomed their daughter, Sydney, later that same year, and their son, Justin, a few years later. Nicole Brown Simpson reportedly loved being a mother and adored both of her young children.

However, her relationship with her husband was far from idyllic. O.J. Simpson himself admitted that he was unfaithful to his wife throughout their marriage. And Nicole Brown Simpson reported her husband to the police for domestic violence — on multiple occasions.

In one such call, records state that Nicole repeatedly told the cops, “He’s going to kill me!” She also expressed frustration with the authorities’ inaction whenever they interviewed her famous husband, saying, “You never do anything about him. You talk to him and then leave.”

At one point, O.J. Simpson was charged with spousal abuse, but after pleading no contest to the charge, he was only sentenced to 120 hours of community service, two years of probation, and a $700 fine.

The couple’s marriage remained turbulent until Nicole Brown Simpson filed for divorce in 1992. But it wouldn’t be the last the two saw of each other.

The Months Leading Up To Nicole Brown Simpson’s Death

Nicole Brown Simpson In California

Brown Family PhotoAfter her divorce, Nicole Brown Simpson remained haunted by her abusive marriage.

After the divorce, Nicole Brown Simpson tried to embrace her new life. She was often seen around her Brentwood neighborhood driving a Ferrari. At night, she enjoyed dancing with her friends. Brown Simpson also remained a devoted mother, driving her kids to school, karate, and dance lessons.

However, O.J. Simpson’s apparent jealousy allegedly led to him stalking his ex-wife. “I’m scared,” Brown Simpson reportedly told her mother Juditha, according to The New York Times. “I go to the gas station, he’s there. I go to the Payless shoe store, and he’s there. I’m driving, and he’s behind me.”

Despite this, Brown Simpson’s friends later reported that she sometimes expressed a desire to get back together with her ex-husband. But when the couple did reunite, Brown Simpson found herself calling the cops yet again to report his continued abuse. By May 1994, it seemed as though she was finally ready to move on. Even when her ex-husband gifted her an expensive bracelet for her birthday, she returned the jewelry just a week later.

By this point, Brown Simpson had struck up a friendship with Ron Goldman, a 25-year-old waiter and aspiring restaurateur. Some speculated that the two were in a romantic relationship, but Goldman said they were platonic.

However, one mutual friend expressed concern when Goldman was seen driving Brown Simpson’s Ferrari and told him he was “asking for trouble.”

Ronald Lyle Goldman

Find A GraveRon Goldman is widely considered one of the most famous innocent bystanders in history.

On June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson had a seemingly ordinary start to her day. She got up early, cooked breakfast for her children, and took them on a shopping trip. Later on, she attended her daughter Sydney’s dance recital with some of her family members. Once that was over, the family went to an Italian restaurant called Mezzaluna, where Goldman worked.

After they left the restaurant, Brown Simpson’s mother realized she’d accidentally left her prescription sunglasses behind. Goldman soon recovered the glasses, and decided to go to Brown Simpson’s home in Brentwood to drop them off. Tragically, this kind deed would lead to Goldman being viciously murdered alongside Brown Simpson.

That same night, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were both stabbed to death just outside Brown Simpson’s home. It’s still unclear whether Goldman arrived at the house while his friend was being murdered or right after, but it is clear that he ran toward her instead of trying to run away from the killer — and that he put up a brave fight.

After the murder, Brown Simpson’s Akita dog began “howling,” startling her neighbors. Eventually, some went out to investigate, and they were disturbed to see the dog running up and down the street with blood all over its paws. At some point around midnight, the dog reportedly led the worried neighbors to the gruesome crime scene near Brown Simpson’s home.

The Turbulent Aftermath Of The Double Murder

875 South Bundy Drive Crime Scene

The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty ImagesThe bloody crime scene where Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman’s bodies were discovered.

After police arrived at the scene of the crime and identified the victims as Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, they almost immediately began to suspect O.J. Simpson. After all, Brown Simpson had a tumultuous past with her ex-husband, and she had been murdered alongside a male friend. Brown Simpson’s loved ones agreed — especially after they learned how she died.

According to CBS News, her sister Denise later said, “When we found out that she had been killed with a knife, it was like, ‘Oh my God! She had so much fear of knives.’ There was only one person who knew that she was so afraid of knives, other than her family. And that was Simpson.”

On June 17, 1994, O.J. Simpson was supposed to turn himself in to the police, but he instead led authorities on an infamous slow-speed car chase that was watched by millions of Americans on TV. He eventually led police back to his estate, where he surrendered — but insisted on his innocence.

His so-called “Trial of the Century” began in January 1995, and millions of Americans watched the trial just as closely as they had the car chase.

Many people were drawn in by the sensational and scandalous aspects of the case, including fame, celebrity, the troubled relationship between O.J. and Nicole Brown Simpson, the gruesome nature of the crime itself, and racial dynamics — since O.J. was Black and Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were both white. For many in Los Angeles, it was hard to ignore that this trial happened so soon after the Rodney King riots.

Trial Of The Century

dpa picture alliance/Alamy Stock PhotoO.J. Simpson pictured during the “Trial of the Century” in July 1995.

Throughout the trial, many pieces of evidence seemed to indicate O.J. Simpson’s guilt, including his blood being found at the crime scene (he had a cut on his finger when he was first interviewed by police), bloody shoe prints at the scene that matched Simpson’s shoe size as well as a unique shoe brand he owned, and strands of hair recovered from Ron Goldman’s shirt that were found to be microscopically identical to Simpson’s hair.

Despite this, O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of committing the murders on October 3, 1995, sparking divided reactions among Americans.

Nicole Brown Simpson’s loved ones strongly disagreed with the verdict. Her sister Denise said, “I just sat there. I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t do anything. I just sat there. And the way that they botched it up so badly and the way that [O.J. Simpson’s lawyer] Johnnie Cochran took it and turned it into a racial issue, as opposed to a man who murdered two people.”

Her other sister Tanya said, “I remember… right after the acquittal, it was like, how I describe it, going up a roller coaster or waiting for that anticipation of the verdict and then a release, then you go downhill.”

In 1997, Brown Simpson’s family and Goldman’s family won a wrongful death civil suit against Simpson. He was ordered to pay the families $33.5 million, but he reportedly only ended up paying a small fraction of that before he died at age 76 on April 10, 2024. Even after his death, his estate was still reportedly fighting back against paying the families the money they’re owed.

Despite all the tragedy that they endured, Nicole Brown Simpson’s loved ones hope that she will be remembered as more than just a murder victim. She was a doting mother, a beloved daughter and sister, and a loyal friend — whose promising young life was tragically cut short.

After reading about Nicole Brown Simpson’s death, learn about the unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, also known as the Black Dahlia. Then, go inside the terrifying story of Rebecca Schaeffer, the actress murdered by a deranged stalker outside her Hollywood residence.

Rivy Lyon
True crime expert Rivy Lyon holds a Bachelor's degree in criminology, psychology, and sociology. A former private investigator, she has also worked with CrimeStoppers, the Innocence Project, and disaster response agencies across the U.S. She transitioned into investigative journalism in 2020, focusing primarily on unsolved homicides and missing persons.
Jaclyn Anglis
Jaclyn is the senior managing editor at All That's Interesting. She holds a Master's degree in journalism from the City University of New York and a Bachelor's degree in English writing and history (double major) from DePauw University. She is interested in American history, true crime, modern history, pop culture, and science.
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Lyon, Rivy. "What Happened The Night That Nicole Brown Simpson Died?." AllThatsInteresting.com, April 21, 2024, https://allthatsinteresting.com/nicole-brown-simpson. Accessed June 21, 2024.