Salesman Says He Can’t Remember What Kind of Shoes He Sold to Simpson
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A Bloomingdale’s employee testified today he sold O.J. Simpson shoes but could not remember selling the type of shoe that the prosecution says left bloody prints at the scene of Nicole Brown Simpson’s and Ronald Goldman’s murders.
Samuel Marc Poser, a former shoe salesman and now a buyer for the New York City store, said he sold Simpson size 12 shoes several times since August 1990 but could say only that Simpson preferred dress casuals, not specifically the Italian brand Bruno Magli.
``Do you remember whether or not you sold those shoes to the defendant?″ prosecutor Hank Goldberg asked.
``No, I do not,″ Poser replied firmly.
Earlier, with the jury not present, defense attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr. objected to Poser being called, saying the testimony would be a waste of time because it doesn’t link Simpson to murder.
``Your honor, they’re whistling in the wind,″ Cochran argued. ``These are the dying gasps of the prosecution. This is not relevant testimony. ... They can never link it up to those shoes.″
Poser’s appearance followed Monday’s testimony by an FBI shoe print expert who testified that Simpson’s size 12 feet match bloody shoe prints from a pair of rare, expensive Bruno Magli shoes.
Poser also testified there was no store record that Simpson bought a pair of Bruno Magli shoes.
The prosecution’s shoe evidence appeared to be among the weakest of the extensive physical evidence in the murders of Simpson’s ex-wife and her friend.
For instance, FBI Special Agent William Bodziak said Monday that a tip from Tokyo and his own trip to Italy yielded only this information: The killer wore a size 12 Bruno Magli in the Lyon or Lorenzo styles. The retail price for a pair was about $160 and Bruno Magli didn’t sell too many of them in that size.
A pair of Reebok tennis shoes that Simpson is known to have worn are also a size 12, and the soles of the Reeboks and the Bruno Maglis match up perfectly, Bodziak told jurors.
``I could include him as a candidate for having possibly worn those shoes,″ Bodziak testified.
But there was no testimony linking Simpson to the Bruno Maglis, as prosecutors elicited last week regarding bloody gloves found at the crime scene and Simpson’s estate. A witness testified that Ms. Simpson may have unwittingly outfitted her killer when she bought the gloves for Simpson from Bloomingdale’s in 1990.
That strategy backfired, however, when prosecutors asked Simpson to try on the gloves and he grimaced and struggled to stuff his hands into them. A witness later said the gloves shrank.
Bodziak’s direct testimony was followed by a quirky cross-examination by F. Lee Bailey, who last cross-examined Mark Fuhrman, the detective accused of being a racist who planted evidence.
Bailey tried to suggest that the approximately 30 shoe prints were left by at least two assassins who cleverly tried to frustrate authorities by each wearing size-12 Bruno Magli shoes.
Bodziak called the theory ``ridiculous,″ and legal analysts were left shaking their heads.
``Bailey’s cross-examination was bizarre,″ said law professor Peter Arenella of the University of California, Los Angeles.
If anything, Arenella said, Bailey helped the prosecution by eliciting a scenario that wasn’t suggested during direct testimony: that the numerous prints came from a single killer who returned to the crime scene.
Goldberg later suggested that the killer went back to the bodies to look for a glove and a cap left behind. The apparent mate to the glove was found on Simpson’s estate.
Arenella called the return-to-the-crime-scene theory ``far more plausible than Bailey’s suggestion that two brilliant killers used the same size and style designer shoes to fool the police into thinking there was only a single killer.″
Bailey’s line of questioning turned comical when he attempted to counter Bodziak’s suggestion that people with size 12 feet are between 5-foot-11 and 6-foot-4. Simpson is 6-foot-2.
Bailey had large-footed _ but apparently under 5-foot-11 _ defense attorney Carl Douglas stand, then asked Bodziak to guess how tall Douglas was.
``How tall are you?″ Bodziak asked Bailey, who was standing next to Douglas. When Bailey responded ``5-9,″ Bodziak observed, ``You’ve got raised heels on.″ Bailey was wearing a pair of boots with 1-inch heels.
Earlier, prosecutors tried to show that the Magli prints also were traceable to carpet on the floor of Simpson’s Bronco, a heel impression on Ms. Simpson’s back and a heel print on the front of her black dress. Bodziak said that although some marks were consistent, they were not extensive enough to match the Magli soles.
Bodziak described for jurors high-powered sleuthing that led around the world. He said the shoe prints were so unusual they could not be found in his FBI database, which includes prints of footwear dating back to 1937.
He said he sent pictures of the prints to eight international laboratories around the globe and only one came back with a tip: the National Police Agency in Tokyo, which said the prints might match a shoe made in Italy. With that information and samples from a Bruno Magli retailer in New Jersey, Bodziak began to develop his theory and flew to Italy to visit the manufacturer.