Nicole Told Detective O.J. Had Sex With Another Woman Before Beating Her
Feb. 01, 1995
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ With giant photos of a bruised Nicole Brown Simpson projected on a courtroom screen, a police detective told jurors Tuesday how she collapsed in his arms in the New Year's darkness of 1989, shaking and hysterical, crying, ``He's going to kill me!''
``I said, `Who's going to kill you?'' Detective John Edwards recalled.
``She said, `O.J.'
``I said, `O.J. who? You mean the football player?'
``She said, `Yes, O.J. Simpson the football player.'''
Edwards, then a patrolman who was called to the Simpson home on a 911 domestic violence call, provided a dramatic opening round for the prosecution's double-murder case against one of the nation's most famous athletes.
He described Ms. Simpson's beaten face, cut left lip and bruised forehead and told jurors how Simpson drove off in his blue Bentley after being told he would be arrested.
Ms. Simpson told him the beating was part of a fight that started when Simpson had sex with another woman in their home, then came to her bed.
``She said there was two other women living in the house and that O.J. Simpson had sex with one of them prior to going to bed that night with her,'' Edwards said, adding that he asked for no names.
Simpson appeared surprised by Edwards' revelation, laughing and shaking his head. In cross-examination, Johnnie Cochran Jr. provided the information that a maid and a nanny lived at Simpson's house.
Detective Mike Farrell, who investigatigated the case days later, testified that Simpson expressed regret and was ``really remorseful.''
``He told me that he was sorry for what he did to Nicole, that he didn't mean to harm her in any way and would seek counseling,'' Farrell recalled.
As Farrell left the stand, Simpson was heard to mumble, ``Thanks for being honest.''
Moments before the first witnesses were called, Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark was granted an unprecedented opportunity to reopen her statement to jurors so she could comment on evidence belatedly disclosed by the defense.
She used the time to berate a key defense witness, calling her ``a known liar and a Simpson-case groupie.''
The witness, Mary Anne Gerchas, told the defense she saw four men driving away from the Brentwood neighborhood late June 12, the night Ms. Simpson and a friend, Ronald Goldman, were murdered. But Clark said testimony will show Ms. Gerchas told her friend Sheila Carter that she wasn't in Brentwood that night and ``was glad because there had been murders committed there the night before.''
``Ms. Gerchas was obsessed with this case,'' Clark said. She wanted ``every Enquirer, every Star and every tabloid pertaining to this case, anything that talked about the Simpson case.''
Clark also promised jurors the prosecution would show Simpson was not denied an attorney in an initial police interview and that he was fit enough to do an exercise video two weeks before the killings, contradicting his lawyers' claim that he suffers from debilitating arthritis.
In testimony, Edwards recounted Ms. Simpson's distress on that New Year's morning, her injuries and her complaint that police had done nothing about her husband's repeated violence.
``She said, `You guys never do anything about him. You've been out here eight times. I want him arrested,''' Edwards said.
He said a woman named Michelle Abudrahm answered the gate at the Simpson estate and tried to turn him away, but he refused to leave. He then saw Ms. Simpson emerge from the bushes, wearing only a bra and muddy sweatpants.
``She collapsed into me,'' he said. ``She was wet. She was shivering. She was cold. I could feel her bones and she was real cold and she was beat up.''
He also told of a truculent Simpson emerging from the house in his bathrobe, berating his wife and later fleeing in his blue Bentley.
``He seemed very furious,'' Edwards told jurors. ``He said, `I don't want that woman in my bed anymore. I've got two other women. I don't want that woman in my bed anymore.''
Edwards, whose police report was released this summer, said Simpson told him all he had done was push his wife out of bed, but Ms. Simpson told him of a more serious assault.
``She said that O.J. had slapped her, hit her with his fist and kicked her and pulled her by the hair,'' Edwards said.
He said he saw a cut lip, bruises on her cheek and forehead and a hand imprint on her throat. Ms. Simpson refused immediate medical attention, then sought and received hospital treatment for her injuries later that day.
When the photos were shown, Edwards acknowledged they did not show all the injuries he had described.
``Do these pictures fairly and fully and completely represent the injuries you saw?'' Deputy District Attorney Christopher Darden asked.
``Not even close,'' said Edwards, drawing a sharp objection from defense attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr.
Denise Brown, the slain woman's sister, was the only Brown family member in court Tuesday. As a potential witness to Simpson's violence toward her sister, Brown had to leave after Clark's opening statement and was not present when the pictures were shown.
Edwards said he took the pictures with a Polaroid camera at a nearby police station after Ms. Simpson declined to go downtown to police headquarters because she didn't want to leave her two children.
Simpson, seated at the counsel table, kept up a constant commentary to his attorneys. At times he shook his head in disagreement with Edwards' account.
Jurors stared intently at the photographs flashed on the screen, and some panelists took notes. When the original photos were passed around the jury box, some jurors held them for several seconds, studying them.
The prosecution is seeking to prove that years of spousal abuse by Simpson were a prelude to his murdering his ex-wife and that Goldman unfortunately got in the way.
The first witness called was police dispatcher Sharyn Gilbert, who answered the 911 call from Simpson's home at 3:58 a.m. New Year's Day 1989.
Gilbert said she never spoke to anyone on the phone but heard a woman screaming in the background and ``heard someone being hit.''
``I heard what I thought was a slap,'' she testified.
On cross-examination, Cochran noted that the sound of Gilbert's typing on a computer obscures most background sounds on the tape.
``You don't know if there was a mutual fight or what was going on, do you?'' he asked.
``That's right,'' Gilbert said.
Simpson, who later pleaded no contest to spousal abuse charges, has said the 1989 incident resulted from a mutual fight after the couple had been drinking. In a letter he wrote just before his June 17 arrest for murder, Simpson said he sometimes felt like ``a battered husband.''