How 8 Famous Acquitted Defendants Spent The Rest Of Their Lives

OJ Simpson

OJ Simpson

The beneficiary of one of history’s most famous not-guilty verdicts saw his legal luck run out after a 2007 armed robbery in Las Vegas.

Simpson was convicted on 10 charges related to an attempt to regain some of his sports memorabilia, and he’s currently serving a 33-year sentence in Nevada’s Lovelock Correctional centre.

Here’s how life shook out for a few other acquitted defendants in high-profile trials.

Lizzie Borden

Although 32-year-old Lizzie Borden was never convicted of the 1892 ax murder of her father and stepmother, her highly publicized trial followed her for the remaining 34 years of her life.

Borden became close friends with actress Nance O'Neill, but she lived out the rest of her life as a recluse.

Although Borden remained largely out of public sight, mourners at her 1927 funeral remembered her as a quiet source of charitable donations. Her will certainly demonstrated her charitable streak; the largest earmark from her substantial estate was a $30,000 donation to the local Animal Rescue League.

Fatty Arbuckle

Sam Sheppard

Sheppard, a Cleveland-area physician, was convicted of the 1954 murder of his pregnant wife in their suburban home. Sheppard spent nearly a decade behind bars before a 1966 retrial acquitted him.

After a brief attempt to return to medicine following his release from prison, Sheppard found an unlikely second career as a professional wrestler who went by the name The Killer before his death in 1970.

Claus von Bulow

In 1982 British socialite von Bulow was convicted of attempting to murder his heiress wife, Sunny, with an insulin overdose. However, this conviction was later overturned, and he was found not guilty in a 1985 retrial.

(Jeremy Irons won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of von Bulow in 1990's Reversal of Fortune.) In 1991 von Bulow returned to London, where he worked as an art and theatre critic. British newspaper The Telegraph ran his blog posts as recently as last spring.

William Kennedy Smith

The physician nephew of John F. Kennedy was accused of rape in 1991, but a jury acquitted him after a hugely hyped trial. Kennedy still practices medicine; he founded the centre for International Rehabilitation and works with patients who have been disabled by landmines.

Robert Blake

The Baretta star was acquitted for the 2001 murder of his wife in 2005, but like Simpson, he was found liable for the death in a civil trial. The 2005 civil verdict awarded $30 million to his wife's children, and in 2006 he filed for bankruptcy listing the eight-figure judgment as his biggest liability.

Blake hasn't yet returned to acting to fill out his bank balances, but as of earlier this year he was making autograph-signing appearances at memorabilia shows.

John T. Scopes

Scopes, the Tennessee schoolteacher who famously went to trial in 1925, was initially convicted of violating the state's prohibition of the teaching of evolution and fined $100.

However, his conviction was later overruled because the trial judge had set the fine rather than the jury. Following this decision, Scopes left Tennessee to pursue graduate studies in geology at the University of Chicago.

He spent the rest of his life working as a geologist for oil and gas companies.

In other heavily publicized trials...

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