Nicole Brown Simpson's Dog Revealed Scene of Horror
Jul. 03, 1994
Undated (AP) _ EDITOR'S NOTE - Nicole Brown Simpson's Akita, named Kato, could be crucial for prosecutors trying to disprove O.J. Simpson's alibi in the slayings of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. During Simpson's preliminary hearing, neighbors recalled the dog's barking and how it led to the bodies the night of June 12. Here are the neighbors' stories, taken from their testimony Friday.
--- By E. SCOTT RECKARD Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) - He was watching television in the bedroom upstairs, 15 or 20 minutes into the 10 p.m. news, when the dog's wail began.
From time to time, barking dogs had disturbed the serene nights at Paul Fenjves' home on Gretna Green Way, near the Brentwood Country Club. But not like this, he thought. Not for this long. Not in that melancholy tone.
He went down to his first-floor office as the howls continued.
Around the corner on Montana Avenue, Steven Schwab clicked off the TV as ''The Dick Van Dyke Show'' ended at 10:30 p.m. He put a leash on his dog and stepped into the balmy night. He was back for Mary Tyler Moore's show at 11 p.m.
Schwab walked with his dog across Bundy Drive, then wandered Amherst Avenue, Gorham Avenue, Dorothy Street. He had turned back toward home when the large white Akita loomed. It barked and barked.
It was strange for such a beautiful dog to be abandoned. The Akita was agitated, looking down a path, barking. It stopped the racket long enough to sniff Schwab's dog. Its expensive red and blue collar carried no name. Then Schwab saw its paws.
They were covered with blood. Strange, Schwab thought, though not that strange. After all, his dog had sometimes come home bloodied after a fight, or after stepping on broken glass.
Akitas originated in northern Japan. They are sometimes called the royal dogs of Japan; emperors kept them as pets. A powerful breed, they are normally calm and patient. But they are intensely loyal and attack fiercely when provoked - not surprising for a breed once used to hunt bears. Still used in Japan as police dogs, they are $800 pets in the United States.
Schwab walked his dog down Bundy Drive toward home. The Akita followed. A police car appeared and he flagged it down. The Akita seemed determined to stay with Schwab. They decided the officer would alert the pound; Schwab would keep the dog until animal-control officers arrived.
He had never seen anything like it: the Akita stopped at each pathway to the condominiums along Bundy to bark as they walked back to his home. The Akita would have to stay in the courtyard of Schwab's complex. Inside, where Mary Tyler Moore had started, the dog would spook the cat.
Not far away, Paul Fenjves headed back upstairs to bed at 11. The barking still hadn't stopped. He peeked through the shutters, across the alley toward the back of the condos on Bundy.
Seeing nothing but a few lights, he switched off his own lights and went to bed. It wasn't for him to investigate.
Schwab sat in his courtyard with the Akita as the minutes stretched on. Where was animal control? He decided to walk the dog back to where he had found it; maybe the owner had returned. But it pulled back when he reached the corner of Bundy, as if it didn't want to go.
He took it back to the courtyard. It was panting heavily, and Schwab went inside for a bowl of water. It was about 11:30 as he saw the light flashing on his answering machine. Telling his wife someone had called, he carried the water outside. The Akita drank deeply.
His wife told him the understaffed animal shelter couldn't pick up the dog and would only accept it if they brought it in before midnight, when the last control officer would leave.
They were discussing their options - tie the dog up overnight? print posters later advertising a lost Akita? - when help arrived. It was a neighbor, Sukru Boztepe, who had cared for the Schwabs' pets while they vacationed.
Boztepe woke his wife, Bettina Rasmussen, to show her the Akita. They quickly agreed to keep it overnight and return it to the shelter the next day. But the dog was jumpy, scratching the door, sniffing the windows, its paws and legs still stained red. A walk might calm it down.
It was midnight as they left, the Akita leading, pulling Boztepe hard, his wife at his side. About 600 feet from his home, the dog stopped at a path to a condo.
Boztepe turned to the right to follow the Akita's gaze when he saw it. The woman was sprawled on the path, her face turned to Boztepe. The only light was from the streetlight behind him. But it was enough. Blood covered the tiled walk.
He turned back to his wife. Call 911. Call 911. Bettina Rasmussen got only a quick glimpse of the scene and turned away. My, God, she thought, it's a river of blood.
A woman walking to her car nearby said she would call from a phone box. But Boztepe couldn't count on that. He and his wife crossed the street to call themselves from a house.
It only took two minutes for the police car to arrive.
Later, Boztepe noticed how the Akita had calmed down. When he and his wife left the death scene, it came along easily.
The behavior of Kato is typical of its breed, said Dr. James lsaacs, an Encino veterinarian.
''The Akita is absolutely a family dog and it can be really devastating against an intruder. If it was a witness to the act of violence it would be a dog that would seek help,'' Isaacs said, adding that the dog would never leave its home and follow a stranger unless it was under severe duress.
''This dog knows that there's been a loss and that dog is going through a terrible separation anxiety,'' Isaacs said. ''When you hear it crying that's what it's doing - crying. It's going through emotional pain.''