Christopher Darden can’t believe 25 years have passed since the high-profile murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman — and the ensuing “Trial of the Century” that rocked the nation.

“It just hit me over the weekend that it’s been 25 years,” Darden, who spoke about the sensational O.J. Simpson murder trial at 2019’s CrimeCon in New Orleans, tells PEOPLE.

Now an attorney with his own law firm, the Darden Law Group, the now 63-year-old worked for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office when Nicole Brown Simpson, 35, the NFL great’s ex-wife, and Goldman, a waiter and part-time model, 25, were murdered in the courtyard of her Brentwood, Calif., condo on June 12, 1994.

As a lead prosecutor on the case, Darden fought hard to convict Simpson, now 71, who was arrested and charged with their murders.

Famously, that never came to be — in October 1995, a jury acquitted Simpson of murder.

In February 1997, Simpson was deemed liable for their deaths in a civil case brought by the victims’ families, which the Goldman family calls an “empty” victory since Simpson has paid very little to satisfy the ruling.

In 2008, however, Simpson was convicted for his role in the armed robbery and kidnapping of two sports memorabilia dealers in Las Vegas. He was released from prison in 2017.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

To this day, Darden remains unhappy about the outcome of Simpson’s criminal trial.

“I have every right to be,” he says. “I was there. I lived it. It’s my truth.”

Darden, who has written five books, chronicled his experiences in the courtroom in his bestselling 1996 book, In Contempt.

He adds, “It was a shameful day for justice. It’s the same pill it was 25 years ago and it’s hard to swallow. My thoughts are with the victims and their families. It’s all about them.”

Today, on the anniversary of the murders, he says he realizes that “25 years is a long time to be dead.”

Brown Simpson and Goldman “missed out on so much. Nicole never got the chance to watch her kids grow up or enjoy all the other joys life brings. Ron never got the chance to get married or to become a father.”

Now their families are marking the 25th anniversary of their deaths. “It’s a very difficult time for their families,” he says. “They suffered a great loss.”

“Time,” he says, “doesn’t do a whole lot to heal anything.”

Though Darden saw Simpson every day during the trial, he has not come face to face with him since then. Should he encounter him now, Darden says, “I don’t know if I would say anything to him. Usually I don’t bend over that low to come face to face with people I despise.”

He says he’s asked often if he hates Simpson. “I don’t hate him, but I hate what he stands for,” Darden explains. “I hate that his acquittal only added to the racial division in this country,” adding, “I also hate that he is free.”

People’s special True Crime Stories edition, THE TRIAL OF O.J. SIMPSON, is on sale now at Amazon and wherever magazines are sold.