LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Most LA residents of the 1990s remember the trial of the century.
In 1994, former football great and Hollywood personality O.J. Simpson was found not-guilty in the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Lyle Goldman.
In the 20 years since the trial, the sister of Ron Goldman has known her share of heartache, reflection and healing — but says she stops short at forgiveness for the murder of her brother, to whom she was extraordinarily close.
“We were inseparable. I mean, we were always touching, always holding hands,” Kim Goldman said. “We had been through so much at such a young age that we just embraced each other.”
From a young age, the Goldman siblings were raised by their father, after their mother left when Kim was three and a half years old and Ron was six.
Further burdening events occurred in their childhood that Kim says strengthened the bond between her and her brother, including the day the two were hit by a drunk driver.
“My brother was the one that pulled me and was screaming, ‘Help my sister, help my sister!’,” Goldman said. “And I just remember hearing the panic in his voice.”
By all accounts, Ron Goldman was the absolute “protector” for his little sister.
On June 12, 1994, Ron’s life came to an end, when he made a stop at the home of Nicole Brown Simpson, in order to return the eyeglasses that her mother had left at the Mezzaluna Trattoria restaurant in Brentwood, where Goldman was working as a waiter.
Kim says that, knowing her brother, it was not difficult for her to come to the conclusion of what she believes happened that day.
“To know that my brother stumbled onto what I believe was Nicole being attacked; that he stepped in and tried to help, that’s very much true to his character and his being,” Goldman said.
Kim was living in San Francisco, pursuing her studies of child psychology, when she received the phone call.
“It was ringing, and then I heard my dad and stepmom on the other end saying, ‘Kim are you there?’, ‘Yes, I’m here’, ‘Did you watch the news today?’, ‘No’, ‘Did you hear about O.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown?’, ‘No’, ‘Ron’s dead’, and I (said) ‘What’, and he said it again,” Kim described. “And then I just fell to the ground, and the screaming, and just everything went black in my head.”
Kim, who says she did not even know who O.J. Simpson was before her brother’s death, says that she believes Ron and Nicole were nothing more than friends, despite speculations.
“…I didn’t even know that my brother knew Nicole,” Kim recalled. “The stories to say that they were linked up romantically, my brother was dating another woman at the time. I think he and Nicole were friends, acquaintances. I know nothing passed that.”
Then, following the nine grueling months of the trial of O.J. Simpson, who was at the center of suspicion for the murders, Kim Goldman let the pain of the entire ordeal come out in an emotional reaction that became famous after the verdict read “not guilty”.
“I didn’t understand. I was raised to believe in the justice system; that when you walk through the halls of justice, that all of your wrongs get righted, and that’s where you get decency and integrity and honor restored,” Goldman said. “I felt like more salt was poured in what was already an open wound.”
Kim also described a moment that occurred two years after the civil trial, in which she had a chance encounter with O.J. Simpson in a parking lot.
“I white knuckled the steering wheel. I started to rev the engine, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, I could totally take him out right now’,” Goldman remembered. “Nobody would know. I looked around, there was nobody else around and time stood still, it was weird. And I thought about my dad, and I could never put him through that, and ultimately, I’m not a killer, that’s not part of my core being. But I definitely thought I had my chance, and then he just continued to walk on by.”
Kim says she has discovered the ability to channel her feelings in a positive direction, after the support of plenty of therapy.
“It has given me permission to feel all the things I feel, and work my way through that,” Kim said.
Despite this positive mental approach to what happened in 1994, Kim, in her new book, “Can’t Forgive”, says that she has found peace without ever finding closure.
“I get the concept of forgiveness, but when it relates to someone choosing to take the life of another human being, not once, but twice, I don’t know how you forgive,” Kim explained. “So, I’m going to take the advice of a lovely woman that sent me an email, and she said ‘I forgive myself for not forgiving’, and I’m like, ‘that’s beautiful’.”
Ultimately, Kim Goldman wants people to know that she is not fragile, and that she is “not the girl that you saw weeping in the courtroom twenty years ago.”
“I wrote this in my book, I’ve embraced a life I never wanted, and that’s where I’m at today. I’m living my life in a way that feels strong and healthy for me. I have an appropriate anger towards a person who decapitated his wife, that stabbed my brother in the lungs, the throat, the stomach, the leg, and left him to die,” Kim shared. “I’m just sad for my dad though too, because, you know, I’ll never forget the day that we went to the cemetery to pick out the casket for my brother and my dad just sat there crying, ‘It should have been me, it should have been me’. You’re not supposed to bury your kids, and I know that he holds that still.”
Kim Goldman’s book can be found on Amazon.