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Denise Brown: A Long Road to Witness Stand

February 6, 1995

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ She kept quiet at first, refusing to reveal how she felt about the man accused of killing her younger sister. Now, Denise Brown is anything but silent.

In angry television interviews and through sobs on the witness stand, Nicole Brown Simpson’s older sister has emerged as a key prosecution weapon against O.J. Simpson.

She delivered gripping testimony Friday about domestic violence in the Simpson household before court was adjourned for the weekend. She returned to the stand today and again wept as as she testified.

Simpson’s in-laws had largely refrained from making public comments about his guilt or innocence after his arrest for the the murders, citing the need to protect the couple’s two young children.

Brown first voiced doubts in public about Simpson’s innocence last October, marching into the press room with a pointed question as defense lawyers tried to have the evidence against him thrown out.

``If O.J. is so innocent, why are they trying to suppress all the evidence?″ she asked a few reporters.

By Thanksgiving week, Brown accused Simpson of being a murderer.

``Nicole had always said, `O.J.’s going to kill me one day and he’s going to get away with it ... because he’s O.J. Simpson and O.J. Simpson never has to pay for anything,‴ she told The Orange County Register.

Brown, a 37-year-old former Eileen Ford model who has sold antiques and clothing in Torrance, Calif., has since become her family’s spokeswoman. Except for her raven hair, she bears a striking resemblance to her deceased sister. In the courtroom, she seems a living reminder of the victim.

Brown wore black her first day on the witness stand, with a large cross around her neck and golden angel pins and earrings. She wore black again today, along with the angel earrings. The family has adopted angel jewelry as a symbol of Ms. Simpson.

She broke down in tears Friday describing how Simpson threw her sister against a wall and out of the house one night.

But Brown will have some explaining to do when she is cross-examined by Simpson’s lawyers. Her story has changed since last summer, when she denied Ms. Simpson was an abused wife.

``When my sister was murdered so brutally, there were widespread news accounts alleging that she was a battered woman. I strongly refuted those stories and told the world that my sister was not a typical battered wife,″ Brown said in early November on the syndicated talk show ``Geraldo.″

``I know now that I was wrong.″

Brown said her sister hid from her family the ``private hell″ she suffered.

Brown also told that to detectives when they called to inform the family of Ms. Simpson’s murder.

``Oh my God, he killed her, he murdered her,″ she told the investigator after yanking the telephone from her mother.

``Who?″ the detective asked.

``O.J. He always said he was going to kill her.‴

Brown said she told Simpson the same thing when he called.

``I said, `You murderer! You killed my sister! You always said you were going to do it!‴ she said. ``He said, `Me?′ That’s all he thinks about, `Me, me, me.‴

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