Ronald Goldman, early 1990s
|Born||Ronald Lyle Goldman
July 2, 1968
Cook County, Illinois
|Died||June 12, 1994
Los Angeles, California
|Cause of death||Stab wounds to the neck, chest and abdomen|
|Resting place||Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park|
|Residence||Los Angeles, California|
|Other names||Ron Goldman|
|Education||Adlai E. Stevenson High School|
|Alma mater||Illinois State University, Los Angeles Pierce College|
|Known for||O. J. Simpson murder trial (alleged victim)|
|Home town||Buffalo Grove, Illinois|
Ronald Lyle "Ron" Goldman (July 2, 1968 – June 12, 1994) was an American waiter who was killed along with Nicole Brown Simpson in 1994 at her Brentwood, Los Angeles home, leading to the criminal investigation and arrest of former American NFL player turned actor O. J. Simpson. Simpson was acquitted of the murders, but was later found liable for Goldman's death in a civil trial.
Goldman grew up in an affluent community in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. His parents divorced in 1974 when he was six and, after spending a brief time in the custody of his mother, Sharon Rufo, he was raised by his father, Fred Goldman, and lived with him and his younger sister, Kim Goldman.
Goldman grew up Jewish. He attended high school at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois. He was a student at Illinois State University for one semester (where he planned to major in psychology) and a pledge to Sigma Nu fraternity before he followed his family to southern California at age 18.
While living in Los Angeles, Goldman took some classes at Pierce College. He learned to surf and enjoyed playing beach volleyball, rollerblading, nightclubbing, and working out at a trendy gym. OJ described him using a "Karate" posture in If I Did It. He neither drank nor took drugs, and adhered to a low-fat diet.
Upon arriving in California (where he lived independently from his family), Goldman first supported himself by working as an employment headhunter and tennis instructor, and then worked a string of waiter jobs. He also occasionally did work as a model for Barry Zeldes, owner of Z90049 (the store next to the California Pizza Kitchen in Brentwood Gardens where Goldman had worked before Mezzaluna). Not long before his death, he had earned an Emergency Medical Technician's license but decided not to pursue that career.
Instead, he told friends that he wanted to open a bar or restaurant in the Brentwood area. He had shared with friends his vision of opening a future restaurant or bar characterized not by a name, but by the Ankh (an Egyptian religious symbol of life that matched the tattoo on his shoulder). According to his friend Jeff Keller, Goldman wanted to learn all facets of the restaurant-bar business, and occasionally worked as a promoter, at a Century City dance club called Tripps and for Memorial Day, participated with a group of event promoters in organizing a party at Renaissance, a club and restaurant on the Santa Monica Promenade.
Prior relationship to Nicole Simpson
According to a Los Angeles Times article from 3 days after his murder, Goldman probably met Nicole Brown Simpson prior to May 1994 (when he borrowed her Ferrari alone). Goldman who was 25 at the time:
had an increasingly close relationship with 35-year-old Nicole Brown Simpson, whom he had exercised with, accompanied to dance clubs and often met for coffee and dinner during the past month and a half.
This statement is merely declared by the writers and not footnoted. The rest of the article, however, does quote direct friends of Goldman one who knew him from childhood in Chicago before they both ended up in California, and another who met Goldman at a prior waiter job. Presumably, the LA Times writer's opinion is supported by notes from conversations with the direct friends of Goldman as to his prior relationship with Nicole Simpson.
Apparently, the police and other witnesses, as faithfully reported by the LA Times writers, claimed that the prior Goldman-Simpson relationship was platonic and friends-only. As the LA Times article was from 15 June 1994, the "Six weeks ago" refers apparently to early May for this borrowing-the-Ferrari-alone incident:
Six weeks ago Goldman was driving the Ferrari, with its highly recognizable L84AD8 license plate, when he joined Clark for lunch at Cafe Montana in Santa Monica. Clark said that Goldman told him it was Nicole Simpson's car, but that he did not say she was his girlfriend. "He said they were friends," Clark recalled.
While Goldman is cited by his childhood friend as more than likely willing and in fact eager to have shared with all his friends his romantic liaisons, this by itself does not appear to rule out a change of characteristic behavior causing Goldman to exhibit extreme discretion, even to his closest friends, in the case of a romantic more-than-platonic relationship with an unusually high profile celebrity like the ex-wife of OJ Simpson.
At the time he was killed on the evening of Sunday, June 12, 1994, Goldman had a job as a waiter at Mezzaluna Trattoria, a restaurant located at 11750 San Vicente Boulevard in Los Angeles. Nicole Brown Simpson, the ex-wife of O. J. Simpson, had called there to report that her mother, Juditha Brown, had accidentally left her eyeglasses on the table. After a quick search, they were discovered in the gutter outside the restaurant. Although Goldman had not served Nicole's table, he agreed to take them to her home after work.
Before returning the glasses, Goldman stopped at his apartment located at 11663 Gorham Avenue in Brentwood. He had after-work plans with his friend Stewart Tanner, Mezzaluna's bartender, who said, "He was going to go home and change and then we were going to go out." The Los Angeles Times reports, "Goldman punched out at 9:33 p.m. and stayed another 15 minutes to have a bottled water at the bar. Then he left, still in his uniform, black pants and white shirt, his tie shed. He carried the glasses that Simpson wanted returned to her. 'I'll see you later,' he called to Tanner as he walked out."
When Goldman arrived at Nicole's residence, located at 875 South Bundy Drive, he was stabbed to death along with her on the walkway leading to the residence. He was just a few weeks shy of his 26th birthday. During a reconstruction of the events, the police came to believe he had arrived during or shortly after her killing and was stabbed to death. His body was found shortly after midnight, when police arrived at the crime scene.
Trials and aftermath
O.J. Simpson was tried for the murders of both Nicole and Goldman. In October 1995, after a public trial that lasted nearly nine months, he was acquitted of both murders. In a 1997 civil trial, a jury found him liable for the wrongful death of Goldman and awarded $33.5 million in damages to the Goldman family.
The rights to O. J. Simpson's book, If I Did It, a first-person account of how he would have committed the murders, had he committed them, were awarded to the Goldman family in August 2007. They were granted the proceeds from the book in 2007 as part of the $33.5 million civil jury award against him they had been trying to collect for over a decade. They own the copyright, media rights and movie rights.
They also acquired Simpson's name, likeness, life story and right of publicity in connection with the book, according to court documents, ensuring he would not be able to profit from the book. After renaming the book If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer, the Goldmans published it in September 2007 through Beaufort Books.
The Goldman family contributed a portion of proceeds from the If I Did It book sale to the newly founded Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice. The foundation provides grants for multiple organizations and programs that provide resources to victims and survivors of violent crimes.
- Murder of Michael Nigg, unsolved killing of a fellow Mezzaluna waiter and friend of Goldman's in 1995
- O. J. Simpson robbery case
- Turvey, Brent E., "An Overview of the Medicolegal Evidence Regarding: The State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson, Case: BA097211". Knowledge Solutions, LLC, February 1995.
- Carla Hall; Greg Krikorian (February 2013). "Dreams of Better Days Died That Night: Ronald Goldman: A young man was finding his way through the maze of L.A.". Los Angeles Times. p. 2.
- May, Tim (May 29, 1995). "A Year of Mourning : Gravestone for Ron Goldman Unveiled". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
- Tugend, Tom (October 6, 1995). "After O.J. acquittal, rabbi urges Jews to look within". jweekly.com. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- CARLA HALL and GREG KRIKORIAN, TIMES STAFF WRITERS (February 2013). "Dreams of Better Days Died That Night: Ronald Goldman: A young man was finding his way through the maze of L.A.". Los Angeles Times. p. 2.
- Matthew Mosk and Carla Hall (June 15, 1994). "Victim Thrived on Life in Fast Lane, His Friends Recall". The Los Angeles Times.
- Family of Ron Goldman, with William Hoffer and Marilyn Hoffer (1997). His Name is Ron: Our Search for Justice. HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 978-0-688-15117-1.
- CARLA HALL and GREG KRIKORIAN, TIMES STAFF WRITERS (July 3, 1994). "Dreams of Better Days Died That Night: Ronald Goldman: A young man was finding his way through the maze of L.A.". Los Angeles Times. p. 4. Retrieved February 2013.
- Dan Glaister. "OJ: I was drenched in blood, holding a knife". The Guardian. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
Goldman then assumed a karate position, angering Simpson, who dared him to fight.
- "Simpson Transcript Describes Murder". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
Mr. Simpson says: “As things got heated, I just remember Nicole fell and hurt herself. And this guy kind of got into a karate thing.”
After she “fell,” Mr. Goldman squared off against Mr. Simpson in a karate stance.
- CARLA HALL and GREG KRIKORIAN (July 3, 1994). "Dreams of Better Days Died That Night: Ronald Goldman: A young man was finding his way through the maze of L.A.". Los Angeles Times. p. 1. Retrieved February 2013.
- CARLA HALL and GREG KRIKORIAN, TIMES STAFF WRITERS (July 3, 1994). "Dreams of Better Days Died That Night : Ronald Goldman: A young man was finding his way through the maze of L.A.". Los Angeles Times. p. 3. Retrieved February 2013.
- "Ronald Goldman". cnn.com. Retrieved 2008-10-18.
- http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-oj-anniv-goldman-story.html, accessed 28 Sep 2015.
- "Ronald Goldman". findagrave.com. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- Timothy Noah (November 22, 2006). "Defending If I Did It". slate.com. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- The Goldman Family (Author), Dominick Dunne (Afterword), Pablo F. Fenjves (Foreword) (September 13, 2007). If I Did It Confessions of the Killer (1 ed.). Beaufort Books. ISBN 0825305888.
- "Denise Brown wants O. J. book boycott", USA Today. August 14, 2007
- The Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice 2007:The Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice