`No blood' testimony challenged

  Sally Ann Stewart; Jonathan T. Lovitt


  USA Today


  Page 02A

  (Copyright 1995)


  LOS ANGELES - A tow truck driver said Wednesday he took credit card

  receipts from O.J. Simpson's Bronco to show off to co-workers.


  Under attack as a liar and thief by prosecutor Marcia Clark, driver John Meraz

  said he flashed the receipts for "status and who the man was." He said he

  returned them, but they've never been found.


  Defense lawyers had called Meraz to solidify their position that Simpson's

  vehicle could have been tampered with when left at the tow lot.


  Defense lawyers have said blood was smeared in the vehicle in a conspiracy to

  frame Simpson in the slaying of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald

  Goldman. Meraz testified he noticed the Bronco was moved three times after he

  parked it on June 15, 1994.


  Meraz, who has been fired, also said he saw no blood inside the Bronco or

  fingerprint dusting powder on the vehicle.


  But when Clark showed a picture of dusting powder on the Bronco, Meraz said

  he is farsighted - and was not wearing his glasses.


  "Is this the fingerprint dust you did not see?" Clark asked. "That is correct,"

  Meraz said. Clark suggested Simpson's lawyers helped Meraz hire lawyers to sue

  his former employer. Meraz denied it but said he "might have" discussed lawyers

  with defense investigators.


  "Are you concerned that if you admit that you took those records out of the

  Bronco and never returned them, that you will lose that wrongful termination

  suit?" Clark asked. "I assume so, yes," Meraz said. The next witness, fitness

  trainer Richard Walsh, testified that Simpson had to sit down frequently while

  filming an exercise video. Walsh, who appeared on the video, said crew

  members would put ice on Simpson's knees and shoulders to relieve his pain.


  The defense has said Simpson is too limited by his football injuries to have

  committed the crimes, but his doctor testified otherwise.


  Also Wednesday:


  Judge Lance Ito denied a defense request for a hearing on charges prosecutors

  targeted jurors for dismissal from the panel. Ten people have been dropped from

  the original 24-member panel.


  Ito criticized defense lawyer Johnnie Cochran Jr. and prosecutor Christopher

  Darden for the "obnoxious and childish" sniping as being the root of the targeting



  Prosecutors asked Ito to bar testimony of bloodstain expert Herbert MacDonell,

  who analyzed socks found at the foot of Simpson's bed.


  Defense lawyer Peter Neufeld said MacDonell has concluded that blood on one

  of the socks "was a swipe, a smear" made when it was not being worn, bolstering

  defense claims that evidence was planted.

  PHOTO,b/w,Hal Garb