McGeorge School of Law

Owens Puts O.J. Away

October 7, 2008

Prosecutor Chris Owens, ’81, played a key role in the latest O.J. Simpson trial that ended on October 3 with the former football star’s conviction on kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges.

The Las Vegas verdicts came 13 years to the day that Simpson was acquitted of killing his ex-wife and her friend in Los Angeles. In this case, Simpson paid the price for gathering a team of five men in September 2007 and storming a room at the Palace Station hotel-casino to reclaim sports memorabilia.

Owens, a long-time Clark County deputy district attorney, handled the opening statement and the closing argument rebuttal for the prosecution. He presented a highly organized opening statement the first day of the trial, outlining a visual timeline and tape-recorded evidence that proved decisive to the jury.

Owens had the last word to jurors and told them to convict Simpson, denouncing him for “arrogance” of thinking he could get away with the armed robbery of sports memorabilia dealers who had disputed possession of some of his football trophies.

“The kind of arrogance ... that would make them think they could come in and get away with this kind of crime and that nobody would report it and they thought they could spin it that, ‘It’s all OK; It was my stuff’,” Owens said.

Simpson faces a possible 15 years in prison at a sentencing scheduled December 3. Defense attorneys have already announced plans to appeal.