It was the "trial of the century." In 1995, The People vs. O.J. Simpson captivated the nation. The case against the former football star in the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman was controversial and racially-charged. When the "not guilty" verdict came in, the nation was changed forever. Two decades later, one juror wants to change his decision. Oxygen's new special The Jury Speaks, premiering Saturday, July 22 at 9/8c, features actual jurors from the O.J. Simpson case. Subsequent episodes feature jurors from the high-profile cases of Michael Jackson, George Zimmerman and Robert Durst.
On Tuesday night, jurors from each of these cases, along with show producer Nancy Glass, went back to their days in the jury room for a special press event. They spoke out publicly about what it was like to be a part of legal history and how their verdicts stood the test of time.
Lon Cryer, who sat on the Simpson jury, shared that his decision to rule not guilty stemmed on defense testimony from a top forensics scientist that pointed to the possibility of lab error and DNA contamination. Since the prosecution's case rested largely on DNA evidence, possible erroneous handling of the sample made Cryer wary.
In retrospect, Cryer says that he would render a guilty verdict. He notes the lack of any other viable suspect as well as Simpson's behavior following the trial as altering his decision. "As time has gone, we never had a Perry Mason moment where someone jumped out, 'I did it.' With that in mind and looking at some of the other things going on in Mr. Simpson's life after the fact, it sort of became apparent to me in all probability, that he was the person who went over there and killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman."
Simpson is currently serving a lengthy sentence following an armed robbery and kidnapping conviction. Experts believe O.J. Simpson may be released from prison soon after his parole hearing Thursday, July 20 at 1pm ET. You can watch a live stream of the parole hearing here:
Being on such a polarizing case—and being sequestered for over eight months—took its toll on Cryer and his fellow jurors. He had a myocardial infarction and severe asthma attack during the trial and points to the "stress at the time." Defense attorney Johnnie Cochran apparently told him after the trial that his health and the well-being of the jurors was top of mind for the defense. In fact, the defense apparently shortened its case for fear of "losing" the jury. "They took it upon themselves to try and shorten their presentation," explains Cryer.
Cryer says that being associated with the O.J. Simpson trial has changed his life and it has kept him in the spotlight. Interestingly, Cryer has been on two more juries since. Although the "trial of the century" centered around a beloved former athlete, Cryer maintains that the focus should be on the victims: Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. "Those two people are what this is really all about."
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