Ross Becker is news director at KMIR. But before he landed in the Coachella Valley he had an extraordinary career as a TV reporter including decades of work in Los Angeles. It is during his career there that he met Mr. Simpson and became the first journalist to conduct a 90-minute interview with the suspected killer.
After the trail, when Simpson finally agreed to tell his story, a TV producer asked Becker if he would like to do the interview. Since he had covered the Simpson saga from the beginning, there was no question. Becker was on his way to 360 North Rockingham Ave. in Brentwood.
"He shook my hand, he said ‘hello Ross’. He sat down, he smiled. He answered every question I asked him. And some of them were brutal questions," said Becker.
That day, Simpson answered questions the jury never heard him answer in court.
"One was simply looking in his eyes when I asked him the question, ‘did you kill Nicole Brown Simpson?" Becker said. Simpson answered, "Absolutely not. I couldn’t kill anyone. I couldn’t do it."
During the interview, Becker used his experience as a seasoned journalist to determine if Simpson was telling the truth.
"I always say that OJ Simpson is either a very, very good actor. Or he was telling me the truth at that moment. That he actually didn’t do the killings. Well we know he’s not a very good actor," said Becker.
The interview was real life drama. In addition to denying the killing, Simpson indicated to Becker that he had serious issues with one part of his defense team’s approach.
"When I asked him about playing the race card. Because his lawyers played the race card in this and I asked him if he got acquitted because he was black and he got angry," Becker said. "This is the one time in the interview where he got very angry. He said, ‘this has nothing to do with race!’ For some reason that was a very sore spot with him. And I was wondering at the time whether he had an argument with his own lawyers over whether that race card should be played."
At the time, Becker knew Simpson as well as any other journalist.
"OJ Simpson is a nice guy, if you believe he didn’t kill his wife. But if you believe he killed his wife and if you believe he killed Ron Goldman, then that guy is a brutal murder. And that’s what makes this case just so fascinating," said Becker.