June 12, 1967: The case of Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967) is decided by the US Supreme Court. Mildred Loving married Richard Perry Loving in June 1958 in the District of Columbia. They did this in order to elude the Racial Integrity Act of 1924. This was an act passed in Virginia whose purpose was to prevent people of different races from marrying. In fact, should a white person marry someone of non-white lineage, they would be guilty of a felony.
Mildred was of African and Rappahannock (Native American) descent. Richard was Caucasian. The laws were different outside the state and the couple were married legally. They returned to their home in Caroline County, Virginia and were in violation of the law. Police broke into their home and caught them sleeping in their own bed. The police had hoped to find them engaged in sex, another offense. Mrs. Loving pointed to their marriage certificate, hoping to appease the police, but instead it became evidence of their “crime.”
Virginia law, Section 20-58, prohibited couples from being married out of state and then returning to Virginia. Their crime was miscegenation, or the mixing of racial groups. The sentence for this serious affront to the sensibilities of the citizens of Virginia was a prison term of one to five years. The Lovings were each sentenced to one year in prison on January 6, 1959. The sentence was suspended for 25 years if the couple left the state of Virginia. They moved to the District of Columbia.
On November 6, 1963 the American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion on their behalf in Virginia asking the judgment to be set aside as it was unconstitutional. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees all persons, regardless of race, equality under the law and no State had the right to supersede the Constitutional rights of the Lovings. By October 28, 1964 with their motion still not decided, the Lovings began a class action suit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The court battles continued until the case was finally brought to the US Supreme Court where it was heard on April 10, 1967. The case decision was handed down on this date with a 9-0 vote which declared Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws were in disagreement with the Constitution and would be struck down. The case of Pace v. Alabama (1883) was thus overturned and all race-based legal restrictions were ended in the US.
What a happy and holy fashion it is that those who love one another should rest on the same pillow. - Nathaniel Hawthorne
Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years. - Simone Signoret
One advantage of marriage is that, when you fall out of love with him or he falls out of love with you, it keeps you together until you fall in again. – Judith Viorst
The sum which two married people owe to one another defies calculation. It is an infinite debt, which can only be discharged through eternity. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Also on this day:
If It Doesn’t Fit, You Must Acquit – In 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman are murdered.
Medgar Evers – In 1963, this Civil Rights leader was assassinated.
Son of Sam – In 1978, David Berkowitz was sentenced.
June 12, 1978: David Berkowitz is sentenced. He was born on June 1, 1953 and named Richard David Falco. He was called the Son of Sam and dubbed the .44 Caliber Killer, citing his weapon of choice. After his arrest, he confessed to six murders and admitted to wounding seven others. He was responsible for eight shootings between July 29, 1976 and July 31, 1977. He later recanted and admitted to only two shootings and three people killed with a fourth wounded.
Berkowitz was adopted when he was only days old and had a “somewhat troubled” childhood. An intelligent child, he had a lackluster academic career, instead leaning toward petty crime. His adoptive mother died when he was 13 and he did not care for his father’s second wife. He claimed his new step-sister got him interested in witchcraft and the occult. He served honorably in the US Army from 1971 to 1974.
He joined a cult in 1975 and claims these people got him involved in violent crime beginning with killing dogs. Donna Lauria was killed and Jody Valenti shot about 1:19 AM on July 29, 1976. Valenti had not recognized their assailant. The next attack was on October 23 with two people shot, but surviving. In November, two more were shot and survived. In January 1977, two people were shot with one dying and in March a woman was killed on her way home from a college class. In April two people were killed and in June two more were shot and survived. Two more were shot, with one surviving as the killing spree ended in July 1977.
Berkowitz was questioned on August 11, 1977 and confessed to the Son of Sam murders. He claimed Sam, a neighbor, had a dog who was possessed by an ancient demon and the demon had commanded Berkowitz to kill. He was sentenced to 365 years in prison. He was given added time for assault in prison. He became a born-again Christian in 1987 but states he deserves to “be in prison for the rest of my life.” That is where he remains to this day.
“I am deeply hurt by your calling me a wemon [sic] hater! I am not. But I am a monster. I am the “Son of Sam.” I am a little brat.” – opening of the Son of Sam letter
“Police: Let me haunt you with these words: I’ll be back! I’ll be back! To be interpreted as — bang bang bang, bank, bang — ugh!! Yours in murder, Mr. Monster” – closing of Son of Sam letter
“Hello from the gutters of N.Y.C. which are filled with dog manure, vomit, stale wine, urine and blood. Hello from the sewers of N.Y.C. which swallow up these delicacies when they are washed away by the sweeper trucks.” – opening of the Breslin letter
“Please inform all the detectives working the case that I wish them the best of luck. “Keep ‘em digging, drive on, think positive, get off your butts, knock on coffins, etc.” Upon my capture I promise to buy all the guys working the case a new pair of shoes if I can get up the money. Son of Sam” – closing of the Breslin letter
June 12, 1994: On this date, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman are found slain outside of Simpson’s condo. Simpson’s dog, covered in blood, led neighbors to the bodies. Both Simpson and Goldman were stabbed and slashed with Simpson’s head nearly severed from her body. Nicole was 35 when she died; Ron was 25. There has been speculation about the relationship between the two victims. Ron was referred to as Nicole’s friend.
Nicole was born in Germany and the family moved to California where she grew up. She was working as a waitress in 1977 when she met O.J. Simpson. She had just turned 18. At the time, O.J. was still married to his first wife. After his divorce, Nicole and O.J. married on February 2, 1985. They had two children before they divorced in 1992. Goldman was born in Illinois and moved to California during his freshman year of college. He was working at a restaurant and was a tennis instructor.
O.J. Simpson, Nicole’s ex-husband, ex-football player, actor, and Hertz rental car spokesperson, was accused of the murders. He was arrested after a televised “slow speed” chase. O.J.’s highly televised trial began on January 23, 1995. The double homicide case was billed as “The Trial of the Century.” There have been over 80 books written on the murders and subsequent trials. On October 3, 1995. O.J. was acquitted of the murders.
However, in a subsequent civil trial he was ordered to pay $8.5 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages or $33,500,000 to the Brown and Goldman families after he was found to be liable for their deaths. O.J. has continued to have legal difficulties since the night of the murders. He has failed to pay the Goldmans the monies they were awarded. He is now serving time at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nevada as Inmate #1027820 on a kidnapping and robbery charge. He was sentenced to 33 years and will be eligible for parole in nine.
“The very emphasis of the commandment: Thou shalt not kill, makes it certain that we are descended from an endlessly long chain of generations of murderers, whose love of murder was in their blood as it is perhaps also in ours.” – Sigmund Freud
“The consequences of our crimes long survive their commission, and, like the ghosts of the murdered, forever haunt the steps of the malefactor.” – Sir Walter Scott
“If murder is forgiven, Heaven will find it hard to bear.” – Chinese Proverb
“Not only did we play the race card, we dealt it from the bottom of the deck.” – Robert Shapiro, O.J.’s lawyer