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Kato Kaelin thinks O.J. Simpson was guilty, wonders if he did penance before his death

Kato Kaelin, an actor who was living in a guest house on O.J. Simpson's property at the time Simpson’s former wife and her friend were murdered, said he hopes the former football star did penance before he died Wednesday of prostate cancer at 76.

Kaelin, who gained worldwide attention when testifying at the criminal trial in which Simpson was acquitted of the murders that took place in 1994, said he thinks Simpson was guilty of the killings.

“And I don’t know if he had that moment of penance that he confessed to whoever he believes in,’’ Kaelin told USA TODAY Sports during a phone interview. “And I don’t know if he’s going to heaven or hell.

“I believe in heaven and hell myself. So I don’t know if he died knowing what he had done or if he had a penance to whatever.’’

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Kaelin, 65, said Simpson’s death served as closure almost 30 years since the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman.

“I think it’s closure, for me also,’’ he said. “It’s the last chapter in the book, and the book's just been finished.’’

But he also said he thinks the pain suffered by the Brown and Goldman families will continue because of O.J. Simpson, who was found liable for their deaths in a civil trial.

“It’s horrible what he did to families, of putting them through pain,’’ Kaelin said. “And the pain always will be there.’’

More: Late Johnnie Cochran's firm prays families find 'measure of peace' after O.J. Simpson's death

Kaelin expressed compassion for Nicole Brown Simpson’s children and the Goldman family, and said he was thinking especially of Nicole and her family.

“The beautiful Nicole Brown Simpson because look, she really was a beacon of light,’’ he said. “I mention it because I felt it from the heart. She shined so bright, and I don’t want people to forget her.’’

Kato Kaelin was living in a guest house behind O.J. Simpson's home in 1994.
Kato Kaelin was living in a guest house behind O.J. Simpson's home in 1994.

Kato Kaelin reflects on O.J. Simpson's murder trial

Kaelin said the attention he received during the murder trial that spanned from 1994-1995 was a “double-edged sword.”

"I think of my mom crying because they're calling her son these horrible names,’’ Kaelin said. “I didn’t get a chance to really give my side because … every talk show was poking fun at me. I was a dummy, the freeloader. I was the butt of every joke. I was a pariah ...

“I mean, I became world famous in the worst situation," he said. “I’ve always known that I became famous (because of the) death of two beautiful people. I’ve never forgot that. And the only thing I could do was to live with that and to go beyond that to make life better for other people.’’

On Thursday morning, after learning of Simpson’s death, Kaelin posted a video statement on X, formerly known as Twitter. In it, he expressed compassion for Nicole Brown Simpson’s children and shared condolences for the families of the victims.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kato Kaelin reflects on O.J. Simpson, heaven and hell