Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder Trial of O.J. Simpson

Road Rage

O.J. Simpson in Florida trial
O.J. Simpson in Florida trial

Court TV's Rochelle Steinhaus wrote that on the evening of Dec. 4, 2000, Jeffrey Pattinson, 55, a Miami area resident, was driving on SW 106 Street when he saw a black Lincoln Navigator run a stop sign. Pattinson told officers that he put on his brakes and honked his horn. He then made a left turn and began to drive behind the Navigator. Suddenly the driver of the Navigator stopped, forcing Pattinson in back of him to also stop. Pattinson told police that a large black man got out of the Navigator and shouted at him: "So I blew the stop sign! What are you going to do, kill me and my kids?"

Pattinson said he replied, "What the hell is the matter with you?" At that point he recognized that it was O.J. Simpson that was continuing to shout at him, Pattinson claimed that then Simpson reached through the window of his car and yanked a pair of $300 sunglasses right off his face.

Jeffrey Pattinson
Jeffrey Pattinson

Pattinson said that he heard a young female voice screaming from Simpson's Navigator, "No, daddy, no daddy, no!"

Pattinson says that he then grabbed the sunglasses back from Simpson, who returned to his SUV and drove off. Pattinson called the police.

Simpson was charged with assault and burglary of a car and battery. He was released on $9,000 bond.

Simpson had his own version of the story, claiming that when he heard Pattinson's car honking and flashing its lights, he pulled over to let the car pass him. When it didn't, he thought that perhaps the driver was someone he knew or that there was something wrong with the back of his car. He said that when he approached the other car, Pattinson yelled at him and insulted him. He said he never touched the sunglasses.

Christine Prody
Christine Prody

Aside from conflicting versions, the only physical evidence was a thumb print on the sunglasses — a thumb print belonging to O.J. Simpson.

If convicted of all charges, Simpson faced a maximum of 16 years. Court TV reported that Simpson rejected a plea deal that would have kept him out of jail and would have required him to take anger management classes.

Subsequently in Oct. 2001, a Florida jury took fifteen minutes to find Simpson not guilty. Simpson moved to Miami in 1999. Between the time he moved to Florida and the 2001 trial, police responded four times to domestic disputes between Simpson and his girlfriend Christine Prody.

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