Twenty years after O.J. Simpson was found liable for the deaths of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson in a civil lawsuit, the Goldman family reflects on their "empty" victory, in an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America" that aired today.
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"Despite us winning, it left us very empty," Fred Goldman, the father of Ron Goldman, said. "But I think it set an upward path for other victims and survivors. And I think it gave a lot of room for people to start rebuilding and healing when you get to be in the driver's seat."
Ron Goldman was found stabbed to death on June 12, 1994 at the home of O.J. Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, who was also murdered. The former professional football player was charged with both of the murders, but was later acquitted of all criminal charges in a high-profile televised trial. Simpson still maintains that he did not commit the murders. In 1997, however, O.J. Simpson lost a wrongful death civil suit that was brought against him by the Goldman and Brown families.
Fred Goldman told "GMA" that he still thinks about his son "every day."
The father added that what hurts the most after all these years is thinking about, "all the things that didn't happen. All of Ron's dreams that didn't come to fruition. Ron's getting married, having kids."
Kim Goldman, Ron Goldman's sister, said that she thinks about her brother "all the time."
"It sort of just lingers," she said. "I have a 13-year-old son that has similar mannerisms. Sometimes he'll do something I'm like, 'God, my brother, used to do that.' Or he has a freckle pattern that reminds me of, of my brother."
The Goldmans, who own the rights to "If I Did It," the 2008 controversial book authored by Simpson, added that even after 20 years, the public's fascination with O.J. Simpson and the murder trial has made it impossible for their family to move on from the tragedy.
"There's no escaping it," Kim Goldman said. "There's been a lot of shows and a lot of programs and movies....I don't want to keep debating evidence. I don't want to keep rehashing testimony. I don't want to keep justifying and defending."
The public's recent fascination is partly fueled by the fact that O.J. Simpson is up for parole later this year, stemming from an armed robbery conviction in Las Vegas, and could possibly be released in October 2017.
Fred Goldman said that he feels "disgust" at the thought of Simpson's release.
Kim Goldman added that winning the civil case 20 years ago was powerful for the family because "twelve people unanimously found him responsible for Ron and Nicole's murder."
"That was all we ever wanted, was to have it on the record that he was the one that did it," Kim Goldman said.
Fred Goldman said that the criminal trial is still painful for him, saying, "I still, to this day, have a hard time with the fact that he wasn't found guilty, in the criminal trial. Everything was there. Everything was in place. But too much other junk got involved."
Kim Goldman said she wrote letters to O.J. Simpson while he was in prison, and even wanted to visit him at one point, just because she "wanted to see him small."
"I wanted to see him be reduced to something that was more manageable for me because at that time it was just overwhelming," she said.
Kim Goldman said that in the letters she tried to tell him "that I was needing some questions answered because I thought if I could cozy up to him a little bit that he would let me come." She added that she did not visit him in prison because his lawyer at the time only would allow it if she signed a confidentiality agreement, which she did not agree to do.
"I hate that he gets special treatment, that people, you know, glorify him even behind bars," Kim Goldman said. "And so I needed to put myself back in the, in the power seats."
Kim Goldman said that she now has dedicated much of her life to advocacy work for victims of domestic violence, including by running a non-profit organization called The Youth Project that provides free counseling to teenagers.
"And I've met incredible people over the years that have been touched by our case. Jobs have been created out of grants given because of domestic violence and the notoriety that my brother's and Nicole's deaths brought. Civil cases have sky-rocketed," Kim Goldman said.
Fred Goldman added, "Given the number of people that are murdered in this country every year, every day, there's a lot of tragedy out of all of that. Most of which unfortunately you never hear about because the people committing those murders weren't ex-football players with a lot of note."
"The absolute least we can do is try to help someone who is...in the same kind of position," Fred Goldman said, "find a way out of it."