OJ Simpson, who died at 76, had series of legal run-ins during time in South Florida

Football star-turned-actor living in Kendall at time of his 2007 arrest that led to 9-year prison stint
Posted at 4:54 PM, Apr 11, 2024

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — O.J. Simpson, the football star-turned-actor who was acquitted of killing his wife and her friend, died Wednesday at the age of 76, his family said.

Although Simpson rose to stardom first in California and later with the NFL's Buffalo Bills, the 1968 Heisman Trophy winner and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back once called South Florida home.

South Florida was also the setting for several of Simpson's legal battles in the years after his televised 1995 murder trial ended with his acquittal in the fatal stabbings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

OJ Simpson pumps his fist alongside defense attorneys F. Lee Bailey and Johnnie Cochran after being acquitted in murder trial, Oct. 3, 1995
O.J. Simpson reacts as he is found not guilty Oct. 3, 1995, in the death of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in Los Angeles. Defense attorneys F. Lee Bailey, left, and Johnnie Cochran stand beside him.

Shortly after a civil jury in California found him liable for the wrongful death and battery of Goldman in 1997, Simpson was frequently spotted in South Florida, soaking up the sunshine of its many golf courses but also, perhaps more importantly, scouting locations to settle to escape the financial wrath of the Golden State.

Ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages, Simpson sought refuge in Florida, where his pension and residence could be shielded from seizure to collect debts.

Simpson was certainly familiar with all that South Florida had to offer, from his days when the Bills visited their AFC East Division rival Miami Dolphins and post-retirement as a sideline reporter for NBC, which televised the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day in 1994 when Florida State and legendary football coach Bobby Bowden beat Nebraska 18-16 to win their first national championship.

OJ Simpson plays golf in Key Biscayne in 1997
O.J. Simpson keeps his eye on the ball as he tees off, Friday, May 9, 1997, in Key Biscayne, Fla.

Five years after the trial that captivated the country, Simpson left California in 2000, purchasing a home in Miami-Dade County's Kendall neighborhood, about 20 miles southwest of Miami.

But trouble soon followed him.

Simpson was arrested in February 2001 on charges of battery and burglary of an occupied conveyance stemming from an alleged road-rage incident that took place months earlier in December, when a motorist accused him of reaching into his car and pulling off his glasses.

Facing a possible prison sentence of up to 16 years, Simpson went to trial and was acquitted by a Miami-Dade County jury in October 2001.

OJ Simpson reacts to 2001 road-rage acquittal in Miami-Dade County
O.J. Simpson, flanked by his attorneys Yale Galanter, left, and Lee Cohn, right, reacts as he hears the verdict in Simpson's road-rage trial, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2001, in Miami. Simpson was acquitted of all charges after another motorist accused him of snatching his glasses and scratching his face during a roadside confrontation in 2000.

Two months later on Dec. 4, 2001, Simpson's home was searched by federal agents investigating an alleged international drug and money-laundering ring. The FBI and DEA, along with state and local authorities, were involved in the raid.

Simpson's attorney, Yale Galanter, claimed his client was targeted because a suspect had mentioned Simpson's name during a wiretapped conversation.

Although Simpson wasn't arrested or charged in the incident, investigators uncovered equipment capable of stealing satellite television programming, which led to Simpson being sued in federal court.

DirecTV accused Simpson in Miami federal court of pirating its broadcast signals. A federal judge later ordered Simpson to pay $25,000 in damages.

Then on Independence Day in 2002, Simpson was cited for speeding through a manatee protection zone and failing to comply with proper boating regulations. The misdemeanor boating regulation charge was dropped and Simpson was ordered to pay a $130 fine for the speeding infraction.

Simpson was living in South Florida with his two youngest children at the time of his September 2007 arrest in connection with the armed robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers in Las Vegas.

After he was released on bail pending the trial, Simpson returned to South Florida, where he was taken into custody in January 2008 and extradited to Nevada for violating the terms of his release.

The judge increased Simpson's bail to $250,000. Simpson posted bond and arrived at Miami International Airport the next day.

OJ Simpson leaves Miami International Airport after his release from jail in Las Vegas, Jan. 17, 2008
Members of the media follow O.J. Simpson as he leaves Miami International Airport, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008, in Miami. Simpson returned home a day after an angry Las Vegas judge doubled his bail but allowed him to stay out of jail while he awaits trial on armed robbery charges.

Simpson was convicted of armed robbery and other felonies later that year and spent nine years in a Nevada prison.

It was during his prison stint that Simpson's Kendall house went into foreclosure. It was demolished in 2022.

After being granted release by a Nevada parole board in 2017, Simpson didn't receive the same welcome from Florida as he had before. Florida's then-Attorney General Pam Bondi objected to Simpson serving his parole in Florida, writing a three-page letter to the Florida Department of Corrections saying that the state "should not become a country club for this convicted criminal."

Palm Beach County Dave Aronberg agreed, saying at the time that he "would prefer he not live here."

Aronberg told WPTV's Todd Wilson on Thursday that he wasn't a fan of the man who earned the nickname "The Juice."

"I don't like to talk ill of the dead, but O.J. Simpson was a double murderer who took the lives of two innocent people," he said.

Ultimately, they got their wish.

Simpson stayed in Nevada, where his attorney said he died.

Aronberg said some justice was served in Simpson's Las Vegas case.

"I do think that O.J. Simpson got at least a measure of justice when he was found guilty of breaking into the Las Vegas hotel room, guns a blazing, to take merchandise he believed was his back," he said.