- Slides: 81
O. J. Simpson Trial NOTE: Slides marked with a red dot (bottom right) indicate a gruesome slide may follow!
January 23 rd, 1995 the trial began. It was exactly ten years to the day since O. J. Simpson had become the first Heisman Trophy winner to be elected to the pro footballers Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
• • To many, particularly in minority communities, the trial of Orenthal James Simpson became not so much a determination of his guilt or innocence of murder in the first degree, beyond a reasonable doubt, but whether or not a black man could find justice in a legal system designed by and largely administered by whites. To others, many of whom were white, the key question was whether a mostly minority jury would convict a black celebrity regardless of the weight of evidence against him. To others, the tragic deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman always seemed stage left, as the man on trial for their murders commanded center stage in his fight to prove bigotry and racism were the real issues on trial, using a pack of slick lawyers willing to circumnavigate the parameters of legal etiquette and acceptable courtroom manners to achieve their objectives, transforming their client, an accused double murderer, into some kind of political prisoner.
• 10: 15 p. m. - While watching television, Pablo Fenjves, a neighbor of Nicole Brown Simpson, hears the cries and constant barking of a dog. Elsie Tistaert, who lived just across the street, also heard it, and when she looked out of her window, she saw the dog, a white Akita, pacing up and down outside the front of 875 South Bundy Drive. • 11: 00 -11: 30 p. m. – blood-stained Akita follows dog-walking neighbor home • 12: 10 a. m. - The bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman are discovered outside her townhouse. • 12: 13 a. m. – First Police Arrive! • 12: 45 a. m. – paramedics confirm death • 2: 10 a. m. – Phillips and Fuhrman arrive; Partner, Roberts logs in at 2: 30 (18 th officer on scene) • 3: 25 a. m. – photographer arrives – general photos, not close up • 4: 04 and 4: 25 a. m. – Lange and Vannatter, Leads arrive
• • Ex-wife of OJ Simpson Married at 18 Mother of two youngest of Simpson’s children Frequented Mezzaluna Restaurant
• • • 6’ 1” 170 lbs Handsome, young actor Waiter at Mezzaluna Restaurant Trained in martial arts Friend of Nicole
• 5: 00 a. m. – Four detectives leave Bundy to go to Rockingham • About 5 a. m. - Detectives Mark Fuhrman and Philip Vannatter arrive at Simpson's house. • 5: 15 -5: 30 a. m. - The detectives examine reddish stain on Simpson's Ford Bronco. • 5: 40 a. m. to 5: 50 a. m. - Detective Fuhrman decided to jump the wall in order for police to get inside the estate. Once on the grounds, the detectives awaken Simpson's daughter, Arnelle, who is staying in a guest house. She takes the police to the house and telephones Cathy Randa, her father's longtime assistant. • 6: 21 a. m. – Lange informs Brown family of Nicole’s death • Shortly after, Fuhrman finds a glove in plain view • 7 am-7: 30 a. m. - Detective Vannatter declared the area a crime scene and goes to get a warrant to search the house.
• 8: 00 - 9: 00 a. m. – Lange checks out Rockingham property and documents/reviews evidence • Around the same time, investigators “shield” Nicole’s body from the press using a blanket from inside the home • 9: 10 a. m. – coroner investigators note that Nicole’s bare feet are clean, and an odd pattern of blood spots on her back • 10: 15 a. m. – Dennis Fung and assistant finish Rockingham and arrive at Bundy scene, photographing all angles, measuring, and documenting, removing the bodies from the scene
• • 6: 30 p. m. - Nicole Brown Simpson, her children and several others go to dinner at the Mezzaluna restaurant. 7: 00 p. m. – Dine at Mezzaluna 8 p. m. - Nicole Brown Simpson and her children leave Mezzaluna, and stop for ice cream on the way home. 9: 15 p. m. - One of Nicole Brown Simpson's sisters calls Mezzaluna to say that Nicole's mother had left her glasses at the restaurant. Ronald Goldman volunteers to return the glasses. 9 p. m. -9: 30 p. m. - Brian Kaelin, a friend staying in a guest house at O. J. Simpson's home, and Simpson go to Mc. Donald's for dinner. 9: 45 p. m. - Kaelin and Simpson return home. 9: 48 p. m. - 9: 50 p. m. - Goldman leaves the restaurant with a white envelope containing the glasses.
• 10: 25 p. m. - Limousine driver Allan Park arrives at Simpson's home. • 10: 40 p. m. - Kaelin hears three loud thumps on an outside wall of his room. • 10: 40 -10: 50 p. m. - Park buzzes intercom several times but does not get any response. • 10: 55 p. m. - Park calls his boss and tells him Simpson is not home. He is told to wait until 11: 15 since Simpson is always late. • Shortly before 11 p. m. - Park sees a black person, six-feet, 200 pounds, walking across the driveway towards the house. • About 11 p. m. - Kaelin goes to the front of the house to check on the noise. He sees the limousine driver at the gate. Several seconds later, Park again buzzes the intercom and Simpson answers. He says he had overslept and just gotten out of the shower.
• 11 p. m. - 11: 15 p. m. - Simpson puts his bags in the limousine. • 11: 15 p. m. - Limousine leaves for Los Angeles Airport. • 11: 35 p. m. - Limousine arrives at airport. • 11: 45 p. m. - Simpson leaves on an American Airlines flight to Chicago. • 12: 10 a. m. - The bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman are discovered outside her townhouse.
Search and Seizure • 11: 00 a. m. – Vannatter has warrant drafted, checked, approved and signed by Judge Lefkowitz to search Simpson’s home • When OJ arrives, he is handcuffed by officers outside his home, but Vannatter stops them – 48 hours • 1: 35 p. m. – Lange and Vannatter interview OJ at LAPD HQ (37 min). Afterwards, blood is drawn, finger photo taken • 5: 16 p. m. – Vannatter arrives at Rockingham with OJ’s blood to be checked and signed by Fung and assistant Mazzola returned it to the truck (all on media video) DONE BY THE BOOK!!
ARREST AND TRIAL
Blood Samples from 2 victims subject to PCR and RFLP The DNA testing of the blood would focus on the two major areas known as PCR and RFLP. The PCR method is generally used to eliminate suspects, whereas the RFLP, a much more definitive analysis can single out one person in a million or even a billion to the exclusion of everyone else in the world.
• http: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=Hcyy. Ci 2 b 2 AY
Marcia Clark - Prosecution
OJ’s Dream Team
Jeffrey Toobin Wrote an article suggesting that Fuhrman, a lead detective, planted the glove at the crime scene although he was the 17 th person to arrive at the scene!
4 th Amendment: unreasonable search and seizure • The lead detectives, under questioning by Shapiro at the preliminary hearing, were accused of violating Simpson’s Fourth Amendment rights by entering his premises illegally. The detectives stressed that at the time, they entered the estate because they were concerned for his safety, not because he had become an actual suspect, because he was not • Ito declared the detectives’ actions “negligent and reckless” but allowed the evidence collected therein to be admissible in court
Warrants: wordage is CRUCIAL! The other mistake Vannatter had made was his premature identification of red spots on the driveway and the red substance on the right-hand glove as blood. Even though Dennis Fung later confirmed this as blood evidence, Vannatter had made these claims in his search warrant without that confirmation, relying instead on his observations from years of experience dealing with blood at crime scenes.
Prosecution’s “Mountain of Evidence” • OJ couldn’t reconcile a life without Nicole though she had moved on after the divorce Feb 1992 • 17 years of abuse culminate in murder • No alibi for OJ’s whereabouts • Ron Goldman in wrong place at wrong time • Trail of blood from Nicole’s home to OJ’s • Match to OJ’s hair on knit cap • Socks in OJ’s room with traces of Nicole’s blood • Cut on OJ’s hand
Defense • Evidence was "contaminated, compromised and ultimately corrupted. ” • Practicing golf swing and preparing for Chicago trip before murders took place • Cochran: police carried a vial of Simpson's blood around with them for several hours rather than immediately bringing it to a police lab. – Remember CHAIN OF CUSTODY!! Had to get signed by Dennis Fung, LAPD criminalist, serology • As a result, Cochran said, some of the blood sample was missing. He strongly suggested it had been used to contaminate a pair of socks found at the foot of Simpson's bed • Timestamp on video (never calibrated after long period of non-use) • Forgotten/missed blood stains – not collected until 20 days later • Blanket from home used to shield Nicole for media lens • Faye Resnick - Were drug dealers involved?
Mary Anne Gerchas and Rosa Lopez • Defense witnesses deemed UNRELIABLE never called to testify but claim that: – Four men in knit caps fled the house – Simpson’s car was at his home the night the murders were committed
Witnesses • Sharyn Gilbert – 911 dispatcher • John Edwards – detective that responded to call