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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Death Sentence for O.J. Unlikely

LOS ANGELES -- Prosecutors in the O.J. Simpson case are wrestling with the problem of whether to seek the death penalty for the former football great, but most analysts say it is unlikely that the district attorney will go into the Superior Court trial asking for capital punishment.


Simpson, who is charged with the murders of his ex-wife and a male friend, was bound over for trial Friday by Municipal Judge Kathleen Kennedy-Powell after a six-day preliminary hearing that was seen live by a nationwide television audience.


He is due back in court July 22, when he will appear before a Superior Court judge who will ask him once again how he pleads to charges that he murdered Nicole Brown Simpson, 35, and Ronald Goldman, her 25-year-old friend and an aspiring model, outside Nicole Simpson's townhouse on the night of June 12.


Simpson has already pleaded not guilty to those charges in Municipal Court, claiming he was at home at the time of the murders waiting for a limousine to take him to the airport for a previously arranged business trip to Chicago.


The networks pre-empted all daytime programming to give gavel to gavel coverage of the preliminary hearing, much to the annoyance of many soap opera fans.


The networks, which have been besieged with angry calls and letters, have promised viewers the daytime dramas will resume where they left off.


NBC even showed two one-hour episodes of "Days of Our Lives" on prime time Friday night to satisfy the craving of soap fans.


The decision to proceed with a capital murder case against Simpson rests with a committee of eight senior members of the District Attorney's Office who meet weekly to decide on whether to seek the death penalty.


In order to avoid seeking the death penalty in Simpson's case, the prosecution would have to drop the "special circumstance" that the murders were premeditated.


The Los Angeles Times quoted the head of the D.A.'s committee, Assistant District Attorney Frank Sundstedt, as saying in general terms, without speaking directly about the Simpson case, "It is very difficult to obtain a first degree murder conviction in any domestic violence case."


Other legal experts have noted that other key elements that can lead to a successful prosecution in most capital murder cases were missing in Simpson's case, most notably that he did not have a long criminal history and appeared to have led an exemplary life.


The macabre Simpson case has captured world-wide attention.