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One-Time O.J. Simpson Defense Witness Pleads Guilty to Theft

June 7, 1995

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A woman once touted as a key defense witness in the O.J. Simpson murder trial pleaded guilty Wednesday to three felony theft counts.

Mary Anne Gerchas entered her plea to charges stemming from her failure to pay a hotel bill of more than $23,000, stealing jewelry and writing a $2,000 bad check to an attorney who helped her fight an eviction.

Gerchas, 40, admitted to the special allegation that she was on bail when she passed the bad check, adding two years to the sentence, said Deputy District Attorney Lael Rubin.

She faces a maximum of six years and four months in state prison when she is sentenced July 8 before Superior Court Judge Ray L. Hart. She remained free Wednesday on $20,000 bail.

An unrelated court hearing was scheduled Thursday in Pomona, where Gerchas is accused of submitting false statements on a car loan application.

Gerchas, a one-time jewelry store owner, was billed as a key Simpson witness in defense attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr.’s opening statement. She claimed she saw four men near Nicole Brown Simpson’s condominium the night Ms. Simpson and Ronald Goldman were killed.

Prosecutor Marcia Clark attacked Gerchas as a ``Simpson-case groupie,″ and Gerchas was arrested twice in the weeks after the opening statement.

Simpson’s lawyers removed Gerchas from their witness list in March.

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