O.J. Case Detective: One Killer, One Weapon
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A single killer slashed the throats of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, dripping the victims’ blood from the weapon onto Goldman’s shoe, a detective testified Tuesday at the O.J. Simpson trial.
In addition to challenging suggestions that the slayings could not have been carried out by just one person, Detective Tom Lange undermined at least four other defense theories:
_ That the blood under Ms. Simpson’s fingernails points to someone other than her ex-husband as the killer;
_ that the attacker was himself bruised while struggling with Goldman;
_ that the cup of still-lumpy ice cream on a banister in Ms. Simpson’s condominium suggests the slayings took place later in the evening than the prosecution contends;
_ and that the slayings were a drug hit.
``Sir, without giving your opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the defendant, did you form a theory of the case?″ prosecutor Marcia Clark asked Lange.
``Yes,″ the detective said, ``that it was perpetrated by one person. I observed one distinct set of bloody shoeprints between both victims. ... Both victims were killed in a similar manner, slashing and stabbing wounds. Both victims had their throats slashed.″
The detective also said there was a mixture of both victims’ blood on the sole of Goldman’s shoe, ``indicating to me a castoff of blood from one murder weapon″ as Goldman lay on the ground outside Ms. Simpson’s condo.
Lange, in his sixth day on the stand, also testified that DNA tests found that the blood under Ms. Simpson’s nails matched her own blood _ a conclusion that came as a surprise to the defense. Defense attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr. had claimed in his opening statement that the blood matched no one in the case.
Lange also said that Goldman probably didn’t punch his assailant. Instead, the detective said, Goldman apparently scraped and bruised his hand on a tree and a fence as he flailed about.
Cochran had suggested in his opening statement that Goldman’s bruised, swollen hand _ contrasted with photos of Simpson’s virtually unscathed body shortly after the killings _ showed Simpson was not the killer. The defense attorney said the assailant would have been bruised and possibly bloodied.
But Lange, a homicide detective with 20 years’ experience, said he saw few scrapes or bruises on Goldman’s knuckles. A punch normally produces such injuries, he said.
```During the autopsy, I observed contusions and abrasions to the rear of the hands of Mr. Goldman, on the fingers and to the rear of the hand area itself,″ Lange said.
``It indicated to me that he was probably involved in a defensive struggle, that he was attempting to fight back and that he was flailing his arms and his hands, very possibly running them into the tree and perhaps the metal-runged fence.″
In addition, the detective said he learned from Ms. Simpson’s sister that the cup of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream found 2 1/2 hours after the murders allegedly took place was Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough _ a flavor that contains doughy chunks.
The detective said he conducted a test on Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and found that even after it had melted, it appeared lumpy.
Simpson’s attorneys have suggested that because the ice cream wasn’t soupy, the slayings took place later than 10:15 p.m. _ the time marked by a howling dog.
Reiterating his testimony from Monday that the June 12 slayings were not a drug hit, Lange enumerated several of the telltale signs that he said were missing in this case.
He said drug slayings usually are committed with guns, and there is evidence of drugs being used or sold at the scene. Also, he said, the scene at a drug slaying is usually ransacked in a search by the killers for money, guns or incriminating documents.
Lange said the victims’ blood was tested for drugs, but he was not allowed to tell the jury the results.
Clark also questioned Lange about the glove found at the crime scene and one found at Simpson’s estate. Lange said the size of Simpson’s hands _ as well as a cut noticed on Simpson’s left middle finger during a police interview _ played a role in the decision to charge him with murder.
Clark had Lange open an envelope containing a small silver ring found under Goldman’s body. The ring was passed around for each member of the jury to examine.
Cochran, attacking police work in the case as sloppy and single-minded in its attempt to nail Simpson as the killer, focused on Lange’s actions as well as his instructions to others.
The defense attorney concluded his cross-examination by showing jurors TV footage of the detective leaving Simpson’s estate with a pair of athletic shoes tucked under his arm.
Lange said Simpson had worn those shoes the night of June 12, and he acknowledged that he took them home with him and kept them overnight before delivering them to the police crime lab.
Lange said he took the shoes to compare with bloody prints found at the crime scene. The shoes were the same size, he said, but the sole pattern didn’t match, and no blood was detected on them.
Earlier in the day, the judge agreed to privately examine police records on Detective Mark Fuhrman to see if they contain anything the defense may use in cross-examining the policeman. Fuhrman is expected to testify this week.
The defense has suggested Fuhrman is a racist who may have planted the bloody glove at Simpson’s estate.
Defense attorney Carl Douglas said the records involve three internal investigations of Fuhrman involving, among other things, allegations that Fuhrman kept a cartoon containing a Nazi symbol and that he had ``intimate knowledge″ of Ms. Simpson or ``portions of her anatomy.″
Clark, who came to court after a judge postponed her child custody case, appeared somewhat rattled at the start of her questioning and declared at one point, ``I’m getting lost in my own shuffle.″