Officer Describes Crime Scene, Says There Was Just One Glove
Feb. 09, 1995
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The first officer sent to the area where Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were slain said today he quickly realized the victims had something to do with O.J. Simpson because of an envelope he found in Ms. Simpson's home.
Officer Robert Riske also reported seeing only one glove at the scene.
After finding the bloody bodies outside Ms. Simpson's condominium, Riske said he went inside and found a letter that had Simpson's name in the return address. Riske called his watch commander on Ms. Simpson's phone.
``I told him O.J. Simpson was somehow involved,'' Riske testified today.
``Now, by involved, did you mean as a suspect?'' asked Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark.
``No, as potential victim, maybe it's his wife; I didn't know,'' Riske said.
``So involved in the sense that one of the victims may be related to him?''
Riske said that during a search of the condominium he found two young children sleeping in their rooms. He said he woke them up and one of them, the young girl, told him that her father was Simpson. The children were taken to the police station. He said there was no sign of a struggle or any ransacking of Ms. Simpson's home.
The master bathroom was lighted only by candles and the tub was full, he said. The television was on in the master bedroom. A cup of half-melted ice cream was sitting on the bannister downstairs, he said.
Behind the building, the door to Ms. Simpson's Jeep was slightly ajar, the officer said.
Riske, a member of the Los Angeles Police Department for nearly five years, said he and his partner got a call at 12:09 a.m. on June 13, 1994, about a possible burglary. When they arrived on Bundy Drive four minutes later, a couple flagged them down and guided them to the bodies.
The couple pointed him toward ``a female white in a black dress laying in a puddle of blood in the walkway.''
Goldman's body wasn't immediately visible in the poorly lighted area, he said.
``As we got probably two feet from her body, we discovered the body of a male white laying against the north fence,'' he said.
The officer said he found bloody footprints, a glove and a knit cap near the bodies.
The defense has contended the crime scene _ the walkway outside Ms. Simpson's condominium _ was contaminated by sloppy police work and that one glove may have been moved from there to Simpson's mansion to frame him.
But shown graphic photos of the slashed victims, Riske said the pictures accurately reflected what he saw at 12:13 a.m., prior to the arrival of the police photographer or Detective Mark Fuhrman, whom the defense has suggested may have tampered with evidence.
Riske described finding only one glove. He said he didn't touch any of the evidence or walk through the blood.
``I was trying to preserve the integrity of the crime scene,'' he said.
When asked if he had been trained at the police academy in crime scene preservation, he said: ``They kind of gloss over it. They don't really train you.'' He said he learned ``on the job'' by working with a training officer as a rookie.
During Riske's testimony, prosecutors displayed a series of crime scene photos, including the most vivid, close-up pictures yet of the victims.
Before they were displayed on a large courtroom screen, Clark told the victims' families, ``You don't want to look.''
Ms. Simpson's mother, Juditha, left almost immediately, and her father, Lou, left as the pictures became more gruesome. Goldman's stepmother and sister cried, as did Simpson's sister, Shirley Baker.
One picture showed Ms. Simpson lying on her left side, her hands to her chest, in a river of blood.
Simpson appeared to look away most of the time and also talked to lawyer Robert Shapiro. At one point, Simpson appeared to look at the ceiling and sigh.
The pictures were pasted to a board, which was walked past jurors. Some leaned forward to see them, most took notes almost constantly.
The judge ordered the TV and still photographers not to shoot the pictures.
With no eyewitnesses to the murders and a coroner unable to determine the time of death, prosecutors spent much of Wednesday trying to use the sight and sounds of an agitated dog to fix a time for the killings.
One neighborhood resident, Steven Schwab, testified Wednesday that he knows precisely when he saw the bloodied dog wandering his neighborhood, stopping before each house to howl and bark.
```The Dick Van Dyke Show' runs from 10 to 10:30, and I would walk my dog from 10:30 to 11 and ... come home and watch `The Mary Tyler Moore Show,''' Schwab testified.
During his walk, he said, he checked his watch. It was 10:55 when he saw a white-and-tan dog on the loose, noticed blood on its paws and thought it might be hurt.
As Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr. tried to show that witnesses who testified Wednesday were only approximating the times that they heard the dog, some admitted that might be the case. But not Schwab, citing the TV schedule.
Prosecutors contend Simpson committed the bloody slayings at 10:15 p.m., giving him enough time to get back to his house two miles away, clean himself up and catch a limousine for the airport about 11 p.m.
The defense says Simpson was alone in his yard at 10:15 p.m., practicing his golf swing. In opening statements, Cochran ridiculed the prosecution's effort to convict Simpson based on a dog's howl.
Schwab testified that after the Akita followed him home, he turned it over to another neighbor, Sukru Boztepe.
Boztepe testified that he and his wife took the dog for a walk to calm it down, and recalled how the animal was ``getting more nervous and it was pulling me harder.'' Around midnight, he said, the dog stopped at Ms. Simpson's home and looked down the dark walkway. Boztepe's eyes followed, and that was when he noticed ``a lady laying down, full of blood.''
Boztepe said he and his wife alerted neighbors to call police. They never saw Goldman's body next to Ms. Simpson.
Other developments today:
_Mary Anne Gerchas, who says she saw four men leaving the area around the crime scene the night of the murders, pleaded innocent to felony fraud charges she failed to pay a $23,000 hotel bill.
_Prosecutor William Hodgman returned to work but did not attend the trial's morning session. Hodgman was hospitalized two weeks ago with chest pains, later diagnosed as anxiety-related stress. His boss, District Attorney Gil Garcetti, said Hodgman, 42, would continue to play an active role managing the Simpson case but would probably make fewer courtroom appearances.