Kaelin Testifies Simpson Said Ex-Wife Refused to Let Him Talk to Daughter
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ O.J. Simpson said his ex-wife refused to let him talk to their daughter at a recital a few hours before she was murdered, Brian ``Kato″ Kaelin testified today. He also repeated his story of hearing mysterious thumps in the night and said Simpson didn’t want him to handle a knapsack.
Kaelin, an aspiring actor who was living rent-free at Simpson’s estate, recounted a conversation with Simpson following the June 12 recital featuring Sydney Simpson and other children. Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman were slain that night.
Under questioning by prosecutor Marcia Clark, Kaelin recalled that Simpson told him about a conversation with his ex-wife at the recital.
``He wanted to talk to Sydney, and _ I don’t think _ Nicole wasn’t going to give him time to talk to Sydney, and I think they (Ms. Simpson and her children) went off somewhere,″ he said. He testified that Simpson said he eventually did get to spend a little time with his daughter that evening.
Later, Kaelin described the time frame in which, prosecutors allege, Simpson committed murder, saying they went out for hamburgers around 9:10 p.m. and returned about 9:40 p.m.
Many of the times were confirmed by records of phone calls Kaelin made to friends. Prosectors allege the murders were committed at about 10:15 p.m., based on the time people heard a barking dog from Ms. Simpson’s house.
Clark she asked Kaelin if he could see any wounds or bleeding on Simpson’s hands, and Kaelin replied, ``No.″ Prosecutors contend Simpson cut his middle left finger later that night during the murders.
About 10:40 p.m., while talking on the phone to a friend, Kaelin said he was startled by a noise coming from the other side of his guest house wall, near an air conditioner.
``I heard a thumping noise,″ said Kaelin.
``How many thumps could you hear?″ Clark asked.
``Three,″ Kaelin said.
At Clark’s request, Kaelin demonstrated the thumps by banging three times on the witness stand.
Repeating an account he gave at a preliminary hearing last year, Kaelin said he was scared, but felt better a short time later when he went to investigate the noise and saw a limousine driver who was waiting for Simpson.
Prosecutors contend the noise, coming from an area where a detective later reported finding a bloody glove, was Simpson returning from the murder scene.
Kaelin said he later offered to help load a dark blue or black knapsack into the limo, but Simpson wanted to do it himself. Prosecutors have never explained why the knapsack is important, but Clark told the jury in her opening statement that ``that small, dark bag was never seen again.″
Kaelin, sporting a long bleached-blond mane, was a little less nervous today than he appeared Tuesday when he fidgeted his way through his initial questioning.
The unlikely pop culture icon _ last seen rubbing elbows with Clinton Cabinet officials and Dan Rather at a Washington, D.C., bash _ brought comic relief to the trial, his manic mannerisms in bold contrast to the sober testimony of the detectives who preceded him.
At one point today, Clark asked him sarcastically if Simpson got excited when Kaelin invited himself along on the hamburger run. ``Wouldn’t you?″ Kaelin responded.
Simpson, jurors and others laughed loudly. The judge smiled.
Kaelin drank a lot of water from a red cup on the stand. ``How’s your water supply?″ the judge asked once.
But Kaelin’s testimony is nothing to laugh at. He is a critical witness _ the last person to see Simpson before the killings and one of the few to see him shortly afterward.
Also today, a motion filed was released in which prosecutors said they want jurors to view autopsy photos of the victims to bolster the prosecution’s case that a single assailant with one knife committed the murders.
Prosecutors said the photos are ``far less startling″ than crime scene pictures the jury has already viewed. The motion, filed Tuesday, said jurors indicated during jury selection that they could handle seeing gruesome pictures.
Before Kaelin took the stand Tuesday, detective Philip Vannatter ended three days of testimony by acknowledging that he misstated information while trying to get a search warrant and may have mishandled evidence.
Also Tuesday, court transcripts confirmed for the first time that the ``mystery envelope,″ which surfaced last summer, contains a knife that was not the murder weapon. Despite a request by the defense, the judge barred jurors from seeing the knife, for now.
Simpson’s lawyers also resurrected their attack on DNA evidence, the heart of the prosecution’s case. No hearing on the defense motion has been scheduled.