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Sudden Death:

The Murder Of O.J. Simpson


By Chris Oakley

Part 2



adapted from material previously posted at Othertimelines.com



Summary: In Part 1 of this series we reviewed the chain of events leading up to O.J. Simpson’s murder and the timeline of the murder itself. In this chapter we’ll look back at the hunt for Simpson’s killer, Jonathan Bricker, and recall the moment when Bricker was captured; we’ll also see the public’s reaction to the O.J. Simpson murder and the hoopla surrounding Bricker’s indictment.


Los Angeles seemed to come to a screeching halt when the city’s TV news outlets broke the story of O.J. Simpson’s death; people who’d already been glued to their sets expecting to hear the announcement of either Simpson’s acquittal or his conviction stayed in front of those sets as video footage rolled of LAPD officers and Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies fanning out in search of Simpson’s killer. At 12:30 PM Pacific time that afternoon, Los Angeles County DA Gil Garcetti and LA police chief Willie Williams gave a press conference outlining the details of Simpson’s shooting death and offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Simpson’s killer.

O.J.’s mother, Eunice Simpson, fell apart when she learned of her son’s violent end; within less than an hour after hearing that he had been pronounced dead on arrival at UCLA Medical Center, Eunice was herself hospitalized, a victim of cardiac arrest. Simpson’s children were stricken with grief when they arrived at the Los Angeles County coroner’s office to identify his body.

It was still morning on the East Coast when the national TV news outlets first picked up the story of O.J. Simpson’s murder, but the clock had just struck high noon in Jonathan Bricker’s quest to complete what the USC dropout deemed his "sacred assignment" to get rid of all the Antichrist’s agents in southern California. Not only was he at the top of the LAPD’s Most Wanted list, but the Los Angeles FBI branch office had flagged him as a potential serial killer...


From the minute doctors at UCLA Medical Center pronounced O.J. dead, conspiracy theories about his demise were as common as grains of sand. One black radical accused the LAPD of orchestrating the hit on Simpson in a plot to intimidate LA’s African-American community from speaking out against perceived police racism towards black men; when it was pointed out that most of the people on Jonathan Bricker’s now- infamous hit list were white, this radical dismissed it as an attempt to cover up the truth about Simpson’s death and claimed that the death of Robert Shapiro was strictly the result of poor aim.

An equally bizarre alternative theory came from a member of the Aryan Nations, who asserted Simpson’s murder had in fact been carried out on orders from the mythical entity "ZOG"(the "Zionist Occupational Government") as part of a master plan to provoke a race war in which the so-called ‘mud people’ intended to exterminate every Anglo-Saxon white in America. A corollary to this theory held Robert Shapiro was a mole for the Israeli intelligence service MOSSAD,1 executed because he allegedly knew too much about the truth behind "ZOG" and its supposed ties to the Israeli government. It was even suggested that the alleged architects of the non-existent "ZOG" master plan had intended to kill  then-California governor Pete Wilson because Wilson was too tough on the issue of illegal immigration.2

Still another explanation came from the infamous tabloid The Weekly World News, which claimed Simpson’s death was the result of a Mafia hit gone wrong. WWN conveniently neglected to mention who the targets of this supposed mob hit might have been or offer much in the way of concrete evidence tying the Mafia to Simpson’s murder; by the time Jonathan Bricker was caught, the mob hit theory had largely been discredited and forgotten.

But what may have been the most peculiar hypothesis in relation to Simpson’s untimely end came from an amateur UFO enthusiast living in Anaheim. The UFO buff asserted that the Simpson murder had been arranged by the CIA because the ex-football great was purportedly on the verge of revealing himself as an extraterrestrial and blowing the lid off secret US government experiments on crashed flying saucers. As in the case of the Weekly World News "mob hit" story, the Simpson-as-ET idea was swiftly discredited and forgotten.

The LAPD had no time for conspiracy theories of any kind; it was too busy searching for Jonathan Bricker and trying to keep a lid on a city that was threatening to explode into riots for the second time in three years.3 There had already been dozens of 911 calls to the department switchboard reporting vicious brawls between individual blacks and whites in the aftermath of Simpson’s murder; much of the LAPD top brass thought it was just a matter of time before the level of violence escalated even higher. It was only the intervention of the city’s clergy that kept the LAPD’s fears of a full-scale riot from becoming reality. And even with the clergy’s help, an air of tension still hung over the City of Angels until Bricker was caught.


O.J. Simpson was laid to rest on October 7th, 1995 amid a heavy police presence; the California Highway Patrol alone had no less than a hundred patrolmen guarding the funeral procession. Also accompanying the funeral cortege was a crowd of close to fifteen hundred protestors demanding the resignation of Judge Lance Ito from the bench. Already a lightning rod in the first place for the way he’d handled(or, in the  eyes of his critics, mishandled) Simpson’s trial for the Goldman and Brown murders, he was now becoming for some people a symbol of nearly everything that was wrong with the American criminal justice system. Even as Simpson’s casket was being lowered into the earth, a petition drive had started to get Ito impeached.

It was a measure of how far Simpson’s reputation had sunk in the final sixteen months of his life that very few of his former NFL teammates or TV sportscasting colleagues were present at the funeral. People who had co-starred with him in the movies during his Hollywood acting career were conspicuously absent from the memorial service; an actor who’d worked with him on the disaster film The Towering Inferno explicitly refused to even attend the wake.

Within days after O.J. Simpson was interred in his grave, two other major figures from the Simpson trial were sent to their own. On October 10th Robert Kardashian was killed when a bomb made by Jonathan Bricker went off inside Kardashian’s office; the next day Mark Fuhrman died of a heart attack just as Bricker was preparing to make a second attempt to assassinate the former LAPD homicide detective. Concerned that the USC dropout might yet still try to make good on his threats to kill Gil Garcetti and Chris Darden, Los Angeles police chief Willie Williams ordered the security details guarding both men expanded and kept up until Bricker was apprehended.


As the search for Bricker intensified, so did the demands for Judge Ito to resign from the bench; regardless of what they thought about O.J. Simpson’s guilt or innocence in the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, Ito’s critics all agreed he had seriously mishandled O.J.’s criminal trial and thus helped create the conditions that made Jonathan Bricker’s shooting spree possible. On the day after Simpson was gunned down, a Los Angeles Times poll found that 54% of the paper’s readership believed Ito should retire; by October 13th, a mere ten days after Simpson was killed, that number had mushroomed to 82%.

Even some of Ito’s defenders came to believe that given the traumatic events of October 3rd, 1995 it might be better for him to step down from the bench-- at least temporarily --than to attempt to continue functioning in an environment where he would be reminded daily of the violent way in which Simpson had met his end along with Robert Shapiro and Johnnie Cochran. After much persuasion from his peers, Ito finally did agree in early November of 1995 to take a six- month sabbatical.

Shortly after Ito began his sabbatical, police got a major break in the manhunt for Jonathan Bricker when a convenience store manager in Encino told sheriff’s deputies he’d seen a man matching Bricker’s description in the store around Halloween picking up a submarine sandwich and a copy of the Los Angeles Herald-Tribune. This prompted state and federal authorities to set up a dragnet around the store in hopes of catching Bricker the next time he showed up there. Sure enough, undercover police collared him in the store’s parking lot four days later.

One cop who took part in the arrest would later recall that the ex-USC student had a "vacant stare" when he was caught.4 "It was almost like the guy was stoned." the officer would later recall.5 "He just had no idea what was going on." Court-appointed psychiatrists who examined Bricker shortly after his arrest also noticed that he at times seemed to be utterly out of touch with reality; Bricker himself claimed to have gaps in his memory from the time he left his apartment to kill O.J. Simpson.

The day after his arrest, Bricker was formally indicted on thirteen criminal counts including the murder of O.J. Simpson and illegal possession of explosives.6 The media atmosphere surrounding Bricker’s indictment recalled the gruesomely tacky three-ring circus which had surrounded O.J.’s arrest in June of 1994; it seemed as if every TV camera and microphone in southern California was welded to Bricker’s back as he was booked in connection with Simpson’s death along with the murders of Johnnie Cochran, Robert Kardashian, and Robert Shapiro. Twice during the arraignment hearing the presiding judge had to bang his gavel to keep order, and as if to underscore the extent to which the criminal justice system had turned into a three-ring circus in Los Angeles County there was actually a rolling popcon stand outside the courthouse the whole time.

Bricker’s arrest and indictment in the murder of O.J. Simpson dwarfed just about every other major news story going on at the time with the exception of the war in Bosnia and President Bill Clinton’s preparations to launch his re-election campaign. Not only did it get major air time on every national newscast in the United States, it was also covered at length by TV news programs in Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Mexico, China, Israel and even Iran.7 For some media observers, the case seemed like a sequel to the original O.J.  madness; others viewed it as an escalation beyond that madness; and one or two regarded it as its own special breed of insanity. And there was certainly something insane about the circumstances that had led to Bricker’s shooting rampage...


When Marcia Clark returned to work as a prosecutor in January of 1996, it was to a courthouse whose security had been tripled in hopes of preventing a repeat of Jonathan Bricker’s lethal rampage from the previous October. In her absence, the glare of the media spotlight on Jonathan Bricker and those who would be prosecuting him had grown white-hot;8 Los Angelenos who’d been hoping for a return to something resembling normalcy in their lives would be sorely disappointed. If anything, things were about to get even more crazy than they’d been  during the sixteen months of the OJ trial-- on the day that opening arguments were heard in the case of State of California vs. Jonathan Philip Bricker, a group of neo-Nazis from the Aryan Nations movement based in Idaho held a rally outside the courthouse to defend Bricker as "a hero of the white race". Not surprisingly the majority of Los Angeles residents, regardless of ethnic background, were repulsed by the Aryan Nations rally-- and so was Bricker himself. Even in his questionable mental state, the former USC undergraduate was still sane enough to know that he didn’t want to be associated with these people.

Accordingly, Bricker’s defense attorney requested and got a restraining order against the Aryan Nations....


To Be Continued



[1] Which would have been a neat trick considering that Shapiro had  (A)never been in contact with the agency at any point and (B)never expressed so much as a crumb of interest in espionage work.

[2] Ironically, most conservative critics of Governor Wilson disparaged his immigration policies for just the opposite reason; they felt he was too lenient on illegal immigrants.

[3] In 1992, there was massive rioting in LA’s South Central district after four LAPD officers were acquitted of assault charges in the beating of motorist Rodney King.

[4] Quoted from an interview in the book Vengeance Is Mine: Jonathan Bricker and the Murder of O.J. Simpson, copyright 2002 by Regnery Publishing.

[5] Ibid.

[6] The material Bricker used to make the bomb that killed Robert Kardashian had been stolen from a building demolition project.

[7] No doubt the mullahs in Tehran saw the Bricker case as a perfect opportunity to expound on what they deemed the violence and decadence of American culture.

[8] Clark, however, would not be among those prosecuting State of California vs. Jonathan Philip Bricker; citing a potential conflict of interest given that she was one of the victims-- and survivors --of Bricker’s attack, she recused herself from the case shortly after returning to work.


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