SQUEEZING “THE JUICE”—A Study of LAPD (Police) Evidence “Management”

By Tom Eck

Simpson

 

On June 12, 1994, Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman were brutally murdered outside of Nicole’s home in Brentwood, California. Nicole’s throat was slit in a “Columbian Necktie” fashion and Goldman suffered over 33 stab wounds.The two bodies, left in pools of their blood, evidenced hard-fought struggles. The knife cut in Goldman’s shoe; the bruises on his knuckles, and the blood on and under Nicole’s fingernails, all pointed to them having injured their killer, causing one police investigator to comment. “He put up a good fight. I’d like to see the other guy.”

Although there appeared a mountain of evidence against him, the alleged culprit, O.J, Simpson, was acquitted.  A tsunami of protests and indignation flooded the country. A closer analysis of the details, however, particularly the time line and evidence tampering, presents a compelling argument in favor of the legitimacy of the verdict…

Time of the murder: The un-melted ice cream

Vague and contradictory testimony of a dog barking about 10 p.m. surfaced, but the undeniable fact was that the cup of ice cream in Nicole’s house was still un-melted after midnight when the police arrived –forensic evidence that the murders actually took place after 11:30.

By 11 p.m. O.J. was on a plane to Chicago. When informed of the murders, he quickly returned, leaving behind his golf clubs. He spoke to the police without an attorney and gave blood samples which were preserved with EDTA. There were no visible signs on him of any altercation.

Evidence Tampering by Police

No evidence was found in OJ’s possession, or in the limo, on the plane, in the hotel, or on any of his bags. All the evidence was collected from areas, or on items that the police and lab personnel had easy access for tampering.

There is compelling evidence of police corruption and evidence tampering from the very beginning of the investigation on through the trial. Mark Furman’s racial hatred, as well as evidence of tampering in previous cases--a practice not uncommon at the time in the L.A. police department, was exposed in court. Even the search warrant was based upon perjury.

—The Search Warrant

The trial judge determined that Detective Philip Vannatter had committed perjuryin the warrant application for the search of Simpson’s house.  Among other misrepresentations, Vannatter stated that Simpson had suddenly taken flight to Chicago when, in fact, police knew the trip had been planned for months. And he unequivocally asserted that the substance found on Simpson’s Bronco was blood, when in fact it had not yet been tested. In the house search, the plumbing was dismantled to find traces of blood that Simpson presumably left when he washed off. Nothing was found, no blood, no bloody clothes, no bloody shoes and no weapon. If OJ so efficiently disposed of the bloody clothes, why would he leave the sock and the gloves in two visible places?

—The Glove

The glove, found conveniently in the bushes near the murder scene with the blood of Ron and Nicole’s, was still wet, according to Furman, who “discovered’ the glove, in the dark several hours after the murders. It should have been dried by then, suggesting the blood was swabbed from the un-dried pool of blood of victims themselves and planted. There was an unidentified Caucasian hair on the glove.

—The Bronco

Furman testified that he never opened the door of the Bronco, yet he saw a spot of blood at 4 a.m. near the door jamb that could only be seen with the door open. Most of the blood traces in the Bronco were found days after six other investigators had scoured the Bronco for such stains. The DNA was intact, proving that it was placed there more recently than the murders

—The Bloody Sock

No blood was spotted until six weeks after evidence collection. Experts testified that the blood on both sides of the sock showed it had been applied when the sock was not worn. More importantly, the blood contained EDTA from preserved blood. Original pictures of the room where the socks were found showed no sock there. It magically appeared in later photographs.

The Rear Gate

Blood on the rear gate was “discovered” three weeks after the murders, and after the crime scene had been torn down, despite being where it should have been subject to the strictest examination.

The levels of DNA in the blood were significantly higher than stains collected three weeks earlier and preserved. The DNA should have been severely corrupted by then. The stains contained the EDTA of a preserved sample, similar to that found on the sock, despite supposedly being exposed to sunlight, metal and paint for three weeks.

—Lie Detector

Simpson did miserably fail the test.  But if he knew that he was guilty, why would he agree to take one, and not just lawyer up? More importantly, the accuracy and validity of polygraph testing has long been controversial. There is no evidence that any pattern of physiological reactions is unique to deception. An honest person may be nervous when answering truthfully and a dishonest person may be non-anxious. Even proponents admit that they are accurate at best 65% of the time. That is why they are not admissible. There is no question that Simpson’s erratic behavior with the Bronco ride showed a man that was in an emotional state that could well affect his polygraph results.

In the final analysis, the mountain of evidence is reduced to a molehill when the timelines and police tampering are factored in. The jury was instructed that they could disregard any evidence brought forth by a dishonest party or witness. They simply chose to ignore any of the testimony and evidence of the inept and corrupt police. 

As Detective Vannatter later remarked, “The defense caused our mountain of evidence to melt like a cup of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.”

That melted cup of ice cream was not enough to support a conviction. So, was OJ squeezed by his Nevada proceedings and 33-year prison sentence? That’s another story…

(Ed. Note: We welcome Letters to the Editor endorsing one viewpoint or the other. Letters should run no more than 600 words.)

 

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