OJ Simpson is the world’s most famous criminal who got away with murder. On June 12, 1994, NFL Superstar Orenthal James (O.J.) Simpson slashed and stabbed his estranged wife, Nicole Brown-Simpson and her acquaintance Ron Goldman, leaving them to die in pools of blood outside Nicole’s home in the West Los Angeles community of Brentwood. OJ fled. He was eventually taken down after a slow-speed chase in a white Ford Bronco shown live on national TV.
The white Bronco show opened a much larger act when OJ Simpson was tried live on international TV. It was the first of its kind — possibly the catalyst to reality shows. People were mesmerized by plastic theatrics played throughout eleven long months where a host of larger-than-life characters mocked jurisprudence. OJ got off. But the file never closed. Today, the OJ Simpson case stays open in the court of public fascination.
And today, when you’re in Brentwood, California, you can take the OJ Simpson murder scene tour with guide Adam Papagan. Adam is a wealth of knowledge about the OJ case, the characters and the locations from where the trial of the century played out. Adam takes you from Nicole’s condo, where blood soaked the walk, to the Mezzaluna Restaraunt where she ate her last meal. He’ll guide you through moments before OJ’s frenzied attack and many hours till the famous freeway fallout. And Adam will tell you things left lingering behind the scenes that let OJ Simpson get away with murder.
The only thing Adam Papagan doesn’t have is a white Ford Bronco. But he’s working on it. Adam not only has a tour company website, Facebook page, Twitter account and great TripAdvisor stars, he’s currently crowdfunding capital to buy a white Ford Bronco to make your OJ crime scene tour complete.
I invited guide Adam Papagan over to the DyingWords shack for a talk about the OJ Simpson case and what to expect when you take his OJ Simpson murder scene tour. Adam’s fun and he knows his stuff. Here’s how our chat went down.
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Hi Adam! Welcome to DyingWords. I think you’ve got a real cool crime-scene tourist business going and a hell of an idea about using a white Bronco as a tour vehicle and mobile OJ museum. How’d you come up with it?
Hi Garry, thanks. I grew up near Brentwood so I’ve been obsessed with this whole thing since I was a kid. In high school, I was talking to a friend about OJ and she told me in the 90s her father, a guy by the name of Stu Krieger, came up with The OJ Tour. After months of lobbying, Stu agreed to take me on the tour and it was amazing. He gave me his blessing to keep the tour going and I gave it informally for ten years after that. Word started to get out to the point that strangers started hitting me up on Facebook wanting to go on the tour. That’s when I realized it could be a thing.
We don’t have a regular tour vehicle, but a Bronco would be perfect since that’s the vehicle everyone associates with OJ. There’s so much OJ memorabilia from the trial and his football career, so I figure we can turn the extra space in the back of the truck into a museum.
It’s been 23 years since the tragic and brutal Nicole Brown Simpson — Ronald Goldman murders. Why are people still so interested in this case?
There’s still debate over whether he did it is probably the biggest reason. There’s some unresolved business there that’s very intriguing. It also has a lot of glamorous aspects which I think people are fascinated by. A lot of it is nostalgia too. The case was a huge part of the 90’s. It’s so of its time.
There’s been gobs written and reported on the OJ case. Like in so many high-profile murders, I suspect a lot is misinformed or outright BS. Give us a Cliff’s Notes tour of the events leading up to the murders.
I wasn’t there, but what I believe happened is OJ got pissed when Nicole didn’t invite him to have dinner with the family after their daughter’s dance recital. He went home and for the next couple hours got madder and madder. Before his flight to Chicago, he went to Nicole’s house. Maybe just to spy on her, he did that, or maybe with the intention of killing her. Either way, Ron was there and got caught in the middle. I think OJ did it and more than likely he planned it out in advance.
Looking back, how solid was the evidence against OJ?
Not very solid. He had a motive and an opportunity, but there were no witnesses and the police didn’t do a very good job with the investigation. But this case isn’t about evidence. The Not Guilty verdict was inevitable.
What do you think happened to the murder weapon? The knife?
OJ probably ditched it at the airport before his flight. A skycap said he saw it happen but they were never able to prove it. Maybe he threw it out the window of the limo. We’ll never know.
I just re-read the autopsy reports. It shows Nicole was stabbed 5 times and Ron Goldman was knifed 30 times. That’s a lot of overkill. What made OJ snap?
OJ was a jealous guy. It drove him crazy that she was playing him with a young boy toy. OJ probably recognized Ron from the neighborhood. I saw some 20/20 or Dateline or something where a forensics expert said some of Ron’s wounds were extra deep as if the assailant were accenting a point with the knife, like “So, you think you can kiss MY wife?”. That sounds like a movie, though.
What do you make of OJ’s headspace after the murders? What was he trying to do?
I think he compartmentalized it like he did a lot of his personality. His whole life people loved him and he could get away with anything. I think he was genuinely baffled when the hammer came down as hard as it did.
There’ll never be another live action scene like the slow-speed chase. Take us through the white Bronco ride.
The Dream Team negotiated with the LAPD to let OJ turn himself in on the morning of June 17th, five days after the murder. OJ had his lawyers stall so he could make a getaway attempt. The plan was to have his best friend Al Cowlings drive him to Mexico. On the way, they stopped at Nicole’s grave in Orange County. By this time the news had gotten out that the Juice was Loose and they were spotted. At this point, they had to turn around and head back to Brentwood. OJ had thousands of dollars in cash and a disguise with him. No charges were ever filed in connection with the case because they thought it would distract from the murder trial.
What happened to the original white Bronco? Any chance of buying that thing?
OJ’s former agent Mike Gilbert has it in his garage in Central California. He’s been offered hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years but won’t part with it. I don’t think there’s any chance I’ll get it, that’s a lot of $80 tours.
What’s your take on the police investigation? Was it as screwed up as the trial indicated?
Definitely. They mishandled evidence and failed to secure the crime scene. Cases get dismissed for that kind of thing all the time. On the other hand, the LAPD has a long history embellishing evidence to help their case. I think it’s very possible they’ve framed an innocent man. (Not OJ, though. He was totally guilty.)
What are some important pieces of evidence that never came out at trial?
There was a woman who almost got in a car accident with OJ few blocks from the murder scene. She sold her story to the tabloids so she never got to testify. There were also the shoe prints from OJ’s “ugly ass shoes” that didn’t come into play until the civil trial. But like I said, evidence wasn’t a factor in this case.
Okay, let’s talk about the trial of the century and the dream-team defense. How’d that circus get so crazy?
People have misconceptions about the judicial system. It’s not about right or wrong it’s about which side plays the game better. The defense had a better strategy and scored more points so they won. The media play helped the defense plant doubt about OJ’s guilt too. OJ was a veteran entertainer and they were able to use that to their advantage. It’s not unlike the 2016 election.
Give us some gossip about the trial characters.
Let’s see… Marcia Clark took Scientology classes and had a poster of Jim Morrison in her office. Fred Goldman works at a department store in Phoenix. Kato ordered a grilled chicken sandwich at McDonalds minutes before the murder.
Marcia Clark, the main prosecutor. Was she in over her head or did she get a bad shake?
Both. The defense was a lot more polished and used to being on TV, plus they had more resources. But she was also the victim of sexism.
What are your thoughts about how the jury demographics and change of venue affected the verdict?
The defense strategically stacked the jury with people who would be sympathetic to OJ. Apparently, after jury selection, OJ remarked, “If this jury convicts me, then maybe I DID do it”.
Judge Ito? What was that guy all about? I read he did off-the-wall stuff like offering to take the jury up for an entertaining mid-trial Goodyear Blimp ride, took a personal vacation during final summations and even did a bizarre product placement for “Broccoli Wockly” on his desk so the cameras could promote it. Is that shit true?
I think he was a little star struck and got taken for a ride, like a lot of people who have a brush with fame in Hollywood. I’ve never heard the Broccoli Wockly thing but those hour glasses he kept on his desk were pretty weird. The jury went on all sorts of outings so I wouldn’t be surprised about the blimp. Ito was the only one smart enough to not write a book, so it’s hard to say.
Okay, I gotta ask you about the glove fitting in court. WTF happened there?
Which time? When OJ tried on the glove from the crime scene that supposedly didn’t fit it had shrunken some, plus OJ stopped taking his arthritis medication so his hands would swell up, plus it kind of did fit. What most people don’t know is that the next week they had him try on a brand new pair of the same gloves and they fit perfectly.
Was having cameras in the courtroom the fatal flaw?
They certainly helped the defense, and it was definitely good for the people. If it weren’t on TV it wouldn’t have gotten nearly as big.
Vincent Bugliosi’s book “Outrage — 5 Reasons Why OJ Simpson Got Away With Murder”. I’m sure you read it. What’s your thoughts on it?
It’s at the thrift store a lot, I’ve skimmed it. Bugliosi doesn’t really have anything to do with the OJ trial and his Helter Skelter book is kind of boring. Mark Furhman’s book is the best, so I kind of stopped after that one.
I understand OJ is still in jail on an unrelated robbery conviction. What’s eventually going to become of him?
He’s up for parole this year but I don’t think he’ll get it. It’d be in his best interest to stay quiet and continue to fade into legend.
Take us for a ride on your tour.
I use some proprietary tour information so I can’t tell you everything, but we go to the murder scene, obviously, Rockingham, the restaurant, and a few more. I use a lot of my first-hand knowledge of what Brentwood was like at the time of the trial.
When you visit these scenes, how do the neighbors respond?
No one has ever said anything. One time while giving the tour I ran into Pablo Fenejves, Nicole’s neighbor who testified at the trial and later went on to ghostwrite OJ’s book “If I Did It”. He was walking a dog, which is the same thing he was doing at the time of the murders. That was surreal.
What’s the craziest question you’ve been asked?
I had one guy who was a lawyer who wanted to explore the case from the perspective of Jason Simpson being the murderer so he paid me extra to take him to the restaurant where Jason worked and approach it from that perspective. He wrote me some months later to tell me, after careful investigation, he thinks OJ did it.
Tell us about your plans to acquire a white Bronco and how people can help you out with crowdfunding.
Broncos are fairly common but because of their iconic status they are a little pricey. Doing the tour in the Bronco will be pretty conspicuous, so getting it will trigger me having to get a bunch of tourism licenses and insurance. I don’t really make any money on the tour as it is, so I’m asking people to chip in to help cover all the additional overhead.
Where can people get involved and what’s in it for them?
We have an IndieGoGo page. Also the ojtour.com We have prizes like stickers and t-shirts as well as the option to book a tour. We’ll also send out a link so you can do a virtual ride along. The campaign runs until June 17th, the anniversary of the Bronco chase.
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Adam Papagan is an artist, comedian, and talk show host from Los Angeles, California. His past projects include immersive video installations, collaborations with outsider musician David Liebe Hart, and the podcast Juicing the People v. O.J. Simpson. He also hosts There’s a Place: The ASMR Talk Show on Dromebox.com and Inside Outside on KCHUNG Radio. He began his career at age 15 on public access television.
Help support Adam’s crowdfund goal through IndieGoGo and get that white Ford Bronco chasing slow through the crime scenes in Brentwood. Check out Adam’s OJ Tour Website and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter. And please share Adam’s white Bronco campaign — it ends on June 17th — 23 years to the day since OJ fled in his white Bronco after viscously murdering Nicole and Ron.