Under Cross-Examination, Simpson Friend Acknowledges Alcohol, Other Problems
Feb. 02, 1995
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ As he watched TV news reports of the knife killings of his ex-wife and her friend, O.J. Simpson expressed no grief at the loss of Nicole Brown Simpson, a friend testified today.
``What I saw was anger,'' Ronald Shipp said as he recalled the day after the June 12 killings. ``I saw anger at the news coverage that he was actually being accused of murdering'' them.
Shipp concluded two days of testimony and grueling cross-examination in which he acknowledged he suffered an alcohol problem, saw a psychiatrist and left his police job because of stress. On Wednesday, Shipp testified Simpson confided to him dreams about killing Ms. Simpson.
Shipp, a former policeman who said he had known Simpson for 26 years, said he sat near Simpson in the television room of Simpson's Brentwood mansion and watched news reports on three or four televisions. Among the scenes was footage of the bodies being carried away, he said.
Did Simpson ``ever express any sadness or sense of loss because Nicole was gone?'' asked Deputy District Attorney Chris Darden.
``I didn't see it because of Nicole. No, I didn't,'' Shipp said.
For two days, the defense went on the attack against Shipp, trying to discredit him by portraying him as a lying celebrity hanger-on trying to advance his acting career by linking himself to the Simpson case.
Shipp said he did often bring fellow police officers by Simpson's house to show off Simpson's football trophies, but denied any of those officers was Detective Mark Fuhrman, who has said he found a bloody glove at Simpson's house.
When requestioned by the prosecution, Shipp insisted he was a close friend of Simpson's, arranged the security for Ms. Simpson's funeral and ``never asked O.J. ... for anything.''
``To this very day, I don't have an autographed picture of O.J. Simpson,'' said Shipp, noting he has refused to take money to tell his story about the dream conversation.
``I personally felt that was blood money,'' Shipp said.
Under questions from defense lawyer Carl Douglas, Shipp insisted he was telling the truth when he said Simpson told him about dreams of killing Ms. Simpson in a conversation on June 13, the day after she and her friend Ronald Goldman were murdered.
Douglas suggested, however, that Shipp was lying, asserting that Shipp recounted Simpson discussing the bloody glove allegedly found on Simpson's property even though, at the time, police had not told Simpson about the glove.
Shipp said he didn't know what police had told Simpson, but was confident about the nature of his conversation with Simpson.
``I know what I heard,'' he said.
Earlier, Shipp said his drinking problem ``got out of hand'' in 1983, leading to a 15-day suspension when he showed up to work with alcohol on his breath. Shipp said the problem ended when he left the LAPD in 1989, but noted he has gotten drunk on occasions in the years since.
Shipp, however, denied being drunk _ or even drinking _ the night he claims Simpson talked about dreams.
Shipp also revealed that he was seeing a psychiatrist in 1989, and that he referred Simpson to the same psychiatrist after Ms. Simpson was beaten on New Year's Day 1989.
Asked why he left the LAPD that year after 15 years on the force, Shipp cited the stress of the job.
``To be perfectly honest, my wife can verify this and my family, I was burned out, I didn't know what the heck I was going to do,'' said Shipp. ``But I left the job because I was burned out.''
He admitted that while he was still an officer he brought officers to Simpson's house to show off ``all the trophies, everything he had there.''
But, he said, he never brought Fuhrman to the house. The defense has suggested Fuhrman planted the bloody glove behind Simpson's house.
When court resumed this morning, attorneys spent the first hour arguing about whether the bar on mentioning lie detectors misled the jurors, by taking the alleged dream statement out of context and making it seem that Shipp's account had it following directly after the DNA test comment.
Superior Court Judge Lance Ito told the attorneys to correct the problem during cross-examination of Shipp.
In an interview broadcast today, Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr. said that even if Shipp's claim about the conversation were the truth, ``which it is not,'' dreams are not the proper subject for a trial.
``What about all these wonderful dreams that I'm sure O.J. Simpson must have had in the times he loved his wife?'' Cochran asked on NBC's ``Today'' show. ``It doesn't make any sense.''
Prosecutor Marcia Clark argued this morning: ``But, in fact, you know, I think Walt Disney said it best. I think, what was it in, `Sleeping Beauty'? A dream is a wish your heart makes.'' The line is actually from the movie ``Cinderella.''
As for Shipp's claim that he was a friend of Simpson's, Cochran said Shipp ``was asked to stop coming back so much'' to Simpson's home. Cochran didn't cross-examine Shipp because they are cousins.
Legal experts were divided over whether Ito had given the defense powerful grounds for appeal by allowing the dream testimony. And psychologists warned that dreams aren't actions and are beyond the control of the dreamer.
``If we got charged with everything we dreamed about, we'd be in jail most of our lives,'' said psychologist Rosalind Cartwright, director of the sleep disorders service at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago.
In an interview on ABC's ``Good Morning America'' today, Simpson attorney Alan Dershowitz called Ito's decision to allow the testimony ``a classic textbook case of prejudicial error because there is absolutely no correlation between what people dream and what they do.'' He said the decision could be ``very important'' if there eventually an appeal in the case.
Meanwhile, a local television station, KNBC, reported Wednesday night that an investigation has been opened into allegations of possible misconduct against some jurors. The story, citing an unidentified source, gave no details. The alleged problem was not mentioned as court resumed today.