Who Was Ron Goldman, The Man Who Was Killed Alongside O.J. Simpson’s Ex-Wife?

Published March 25, 2024
Updated March 26, 2024

A friend of Nicole Brown Simpson who fatefully visited her Brentwood home on the day of her murder, Ron Goldman is one of the most famous innocent bystanders in modern history.

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

On June 12, 1994, O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson was found brutally murdered outside of her home in Los Angeles. But she wasn’t the only victim discovered at the scene. Brown Simpson’s friend, Ron Goldman, was also found murdered on the property. Both had been fatally stabbed.

O.J. Simpson, a former professional football player, was soon charged with the murders in the so-called “Trial of the Century.” Many Americans were drawn to the most sensational aspects of the case: fame, racial dynamics, and the tumultuous relationship between Simpson and his ex-wife. Through it all, Ron Goldman’s family feared their loved one would be forgotten — and they became determined to make sure that didn’t happen.

After Simpson was acquitted, Goldman’s family set out to find justice in other ways. They filed a wrongful death civil suit against Simpson, then later fought for the rights to Simpson’s infamous If I Did It book.

This is the true story of Ron Goldman, one of the most famous innocent bystanders in history — who has been described as a hero by his family.

The Tragically Short Life Of Ron Goldman

Ron Goldman

Find A GraveRon Goldman was only 25 when he was brutally murdered alongside his friend, Nicole Brown Simpson.

Born on July 2, 1968, Ronald Lyle Goldman grew up in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. His parents divorced in 1974, and he and his sister Kim were raised by their father Fred in a Jewish household. He graduated from Adlai Stevenson High School and briefly attended Illinois State University before dropping out.

By the late 1980s, Goldman had relocated to Southern California, where his family had moved. There, the once quiet and shy young man embraced the fast-paced lifestyle of Los Angeles, enjoying activities like surfing, beach volleyball, and nightclubbing. He took some classes at Pierce College, but he mostly devoted his time to “finding his way” in the new city.

To make a living, he held a number of jobs as a waiter, tennis instructor, nightclub promoter, and model.

But friends say his big dream was to open up his own restaurant. “It was going to have big metal doors,” said his friend Jeff Keller in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “There wouldn’t be a name but a symbol — an ankh.” An ankh is an ancient Egyptian symbol for “life,” and Goldman had a tattoo of that symbol on his shoulder.

Ron Goldman Playing Baseball

Family PhotoOne of the last photos taken of Ron Goldman, playing baseball with friends.

Wherever he went, Goldman was known for his kindness and helpfulness. His friend Gail Evertz recalled, “He would help anyone. He was the kind of guy who just gave unconditionally.” His ex-girlfriend Jacqui Bell remembered, “He was a very sweet, honest faithful guy when we were together.” And his sister Kim Goldman said, “The one thing you could say about him is… he’s really good with people. People are just drawn to him.”

One of those people was Nicole Brown Simpson, the ex-wife of former professional football player O.J. Simpson. Goldman reportedly met Brown Simpson for the first time while he was out with his friends at a local Starbucks. The group ran into Brown Simpson there enough that she eventually formed a friendship with all of them, including Goldman.

Though some have speculated that Goldman and Brown Simpson were romantically or sexually involved, Goldman’s friends say that wasn’t the case. Keller insisted, “If he was having a relationship with her, he would have told us.” Goldman’s other friend Mike Pincus emphasized: “He definitely would have told me if he was seeing O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife.”

However, one friend who remained anonymous revealed to the Los Angeles Times that they were concerned when Goldman accompanied Brown Simpson to a nightclub in Hollywood: “I said, ‘Ron, when you show up at the Gate with O.J. Simpson’s wife, driving her Ferrari, you’re asking for trouble.'”

Inside The Brutal Murder Of Nicole Brown Simpson And Ron Goldman

OJ Simpson And Nicole Brown Simpson

Ralph Dominguez/MediaPunch Inc/Alamy Stock PhotoO.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown Simpson were known to have had a volatile relationship before their divorce in 1992.

Just before Ron Goldman’s death, he was working at a restaurant called Mezzaluna, located in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Brentwood. On June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson’s mother was dining there — and accidentally left her prescription sunglasses behind. So Goldman went to Brown Simpson’s home that night to drop the sunglasses off.

Instead, the 25-year-old was greeted with a horrific crime scene at Bundy Drive. According to The Guardian, it’s unclear whether Goldman arrived at the home while Brown Simpson was being killed or right after the murder. But what is clear is that he ran toward her instead of trying to flee the property — and that he put up a strong fight against the killer.

But despite Goldman’s bravery and athleticism, his murderer was armed with a knife, and Goldman was ultimately stabbed over two dozen times before he died. Brown Simpson was also stabbed to death.

Nicole Brown Simpson Crime Scene

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

The bloody bodies were discovered around midnight, after Brown Simpson’s neighbors heard her Akita dog “howling.” They were shocked to see the dog running up and down the road with bloodied paws and approached Brown Simpson’s home to check on her. It was then that they realized that a gruesome double murder had taken place, and they immediately called 911.

Soon after police learned that Nicole Brown Simpson had been murdered, they began to suspect O.J. Simpson. Not only was he her ex-husband, but the two were known to have had a turbulent relationship. Brown Simpson had reported him to the police multiple times for domestic violence, and at one point during the relationship, he was charged with spousal abuse. (He ultimately pled no contest to the charge and was sentenced to 120 hours of community service, two years of probation, and a $700 fine.)

The fact that Brown Simpson had been murdered alongside a male friend, Ron Goldman, only made police more suspicious that Brown Simpson’s ex-husband had been responsible. And it wasn’t long before the former professional football player was charged with the murders.

The “Trial Of The Century” And The Aftermath

OJ Simpson Mugshot

Los Angeles Police Department/Wikimedia CommonsA mugshot of O.J. Simpson, taken after he surrendered to Los Angeles police.

After surrendering to Los Angeles police following an infamous slow-speed car chase on June 17, 1994, O.J. Simpson pleaded not guilty to the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. The trial began in January 1995, and the case was closely followed by millions of Americans.

Most viewers were drawn in by the sensational parts of the case. For one, Simpson’s fame was naturally going to attract attention from fans and critics alike. Racial dynamics also played a role in the case, since Simpson is Black and the victims in the case were white. The fact that this trial happened so soon after the Rodney King riots only amplified this. Finally, Simpson’s relationship with his ex-wife allegedly involved spousal abuse, which often wasn’t talked about as openly in the 1990s as it is today.

Of course, another aspect that attracted attention was the gruesome nature of the crime itself. From all the grisliness emerged evidence that seemed to point to Simpson’s guilt, including his blood at the murder scene (he had a cut on his finger when he was first interviewed by authorities) and bloody shoe prints that matched Simpson’s shoe size and apparently came from a unique Italian shoe that Simpson was later discovered to have owned.

However, on October 3, 1995, Simpson was found not guilty of the murders. The verdict led to a mixed reaction among Americans following the case. As for Ron Goldman’s family, they strongly disagreed with the verdict.

Ron Goldman With A Dog

FacebookRon Goldman is remembered by his family as a hero.

After the acquittal, Goldman’s father Fred and sister Kim filed a wrongful death civil suit against Simpson, ending with him being found liable for the deaths of both Brown Simpson and Goldman and being ordered to pay the victims’ families $33.5 million. In response, Simpson claimed to be bankrupt, but the Goldmans have continued to fight for the money they’re owed, especially since he has allegedly only paid $123,000 as of 2021.

Goldman’s family has also won the rights to Simpson’s infamous If I Did It book and added their own commentary to the text — titled He Did It.

But most of all, the Goldmans don’t want the world to forget who Ron Goldman was. According to People, Fred Goldman believes that his son’s final good deed — returning a lost pair of sunglasses — speaks volumes about his “decency and kindness.” And both Fred and Kim Goldman believe that Ron died a hero trying to protect his friend. Fred added, “He could have run. He didn’t. I’d like to say I wish he did but that wouldn’t have been Ron. I think he attempted to help — and it cost him his life.”

After reading about Ron Goldman, go inside the brutal Hollywood murder of Sharon Tate. Then, learn about Richard Klinkhamer, the author who killed his wife, evaded arrest, then wrote a book about how he “would” have killed her.

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.