O.J. case: A search for the facts // 1 suspect, 2 murders, few answers

  Richard Price; Jonathan T. Lovitt


  USA Today


  Page 03A

  (Copyright 1994)


  LOS ANGELES - The O.J. Simpson murder case has overloaded the public with

  scattered bits of information, much of it utterly without foundation.


  So what can we believe?


  Sorting through a coroner's investigative report, direct observations, statements

  by authorities, TV shots of actual events and information verified by two or more

  named sources, here's a look at the most credible material.


  -- Background: Police have confirmed three cases of Simpson attacking his

  ex-wife in some manner. In 1985, he broke her car window with a baseball bat.

  In 1989, he was convicted of battering her after a New Year's Eve party. In 1993,

  he knocked down her door and screamed at her.


  Police also confirm 911 records of other calls from Nicole Simpson, but they've

  not said how many, nor have they furnished details. The domestic violence

  bureau in the district attorney's office describes Nicole Simpson as a regular

  caller, but her sister, Denise, contends she was not a classic battered woman.


  It's a matter of record that they divorced in 1992. A long list of sources confirm a

  reconciliation attempt, but it's also clear that some kind of breakup occurred in

  the month before the murders.


  -- Day of the murder: O.J. and Nicole Simpson had a disagreement after a recital

  of their daughter's dance class, and Simpson was described as angry when he left

  at 6 p.m. for an unknown destination.


  Nicole Simpson joined her extended family at the restaurant where Ronald

  Goldman worked. After Nicole Simpson left, her sister called the restaurant

  looking for a pair of glasses that her mother had left there, and the manager

  arranged for Goldman to drop them off at Nicole's home. Goldman went to his

  apartment first; no one is sure when he headed to Nicole Simpson's.


  Nicole Simpson's parents told authorities her mother spoke to her at 11 p.m., but

  her father now says he's "reasonably sure" the call took place closer to 10 p.m.


  At O.J. Simpson's home - a five-minute drive from Nicole Simpson's place at

  that time of night - he climbed in a limousine for a drive to the airport at 11:15,

  according to the driver.


  At 11:45, his flight to Chicago backed away from the gate.


  -- Evidence: At 12:30 a.m., a neighbor found Nicole Simpson's dog wandering

  through the neighborhood, and when he led it home, he found the bodies - lying

  just outside the gate to her property.


  The coroner's report, conducted at 9:05 a.m., found Goldman seated and slumped

  to his right side, his back against a small tree stump and iron fence. He was fully

  dressed. Lying near his right foot was a white envelope containing the glasses.

  "His clothes and face were stained with blood. Numerous sharp force injuries

  were observed at his neck, back, head and hands. Another wound was present at

  his left thigh area," the report said.


  Nicole Simpson was lying in a fetal position at the foot of the stairs. The report

  described a "large sharp force injury" - a slice stretching ear to ear - and smaller

  wounds at the left side of her neck. No body wounds were listed.


  Bits of hair and flesh were taken from beneath her fingernails, but Goldman's

  nails were too short to contain residue.


  Blood was splattered all over the scene. KCBS-TV cameras captured police

  slipping what appeared to be a bloody glove into a plastic evidence bag. O.J.

  Simpson's lawyer, Robert Shapiro, confirm that police reports contend the

  presence of a third blood type at the scene but characterized any match as not



  At O.J. Simpson's home that day, police carried a pair of Reebok sneakers in a

  plastic evidence bag. Blood was spattered across the driveway. His Bronco was



  Prosecutors stated that the evidence does not include a bloody ski mask, as

  widely reported. Simpson's first lawyer, Howard Weitzman, also denied another

  report, that police discovered a bloody glove matching one at the murder scene.


  Prosecutors say they found a ski cap at the scene and have requested samples of

  Simpson's hair to use to compare.


  Shapiro says doctors examined Simpson and found no cuts on his body but did

  find scratches on his left hand near the wrist and "a large cut" on his index

  finger. Shapiro says Simpson suffered the latter on a glass he shattered when

  informed of his ex-wife's death, but a forensic expert for the defense could not

  confirm that.


  -- Witnesses: Many have been mentioned, and some have spoken to the media,

  but no account has been confirmed by other principals, and none of the stories

  are conclusive.


  A jogger was quoted as spotting a Bronco "like Simpson's" near Nicole

  Simpson's home just before 11 p.m.


  A motorist says she saw Simpson driving rapidly a few blocks from Nicole

  Simpson's home around the same time, but her testimony was tainted by the fact

  that she sought money for her story.


  The limousine driver says O.J. Simpson was not home when he arrived at 10:45

  p.m., but there is no way to confirm that he could be certain of that.


  Witnesses to Simpson's behavior on his trip to Chicago have contradicted one

  another. Some say he was normal; others say he was edgy.


  -- Aftermath: For many, Simpson's flight from arrest and talk of suicide

  constitute the most damaging evidence against him. But even that is heavily



  Simpson events timeline, June 12 What the victims and O.J. Simpson did the

  night Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman were killed: 4:30 p.m. PT: O.J.

  Simpson, Nicole Simpson, their children and other family members arrive at Paul

  Revere Middle School to attend a dance recital for their daughter, Sydney, 9. 6

  p.m.: After the recital, O.J. Simpson asks to speak with Nicole privately. She

  says any conversation will have to be public. They part company. Witnesses say

  O.J. Simpson appeared angry. 6:30 p.m.: Nicole Simpson and nine others dine at

  Mezzaluna restaurant. Ronald Goldman, a waiter, is on duty, but doesn't serve

  the Simpson party. 8:30 p.m.: Nicole Simpson and children leave restaurant for

  home. 9:15 p.m.: One of Nicole Simpson's sisters calls Mezzaluna to report her

  mother left a pair of glasses there. Goldman tells restaurant manager he'll drop

  them off at Nicole Simpson's house. 9:45 p.m.: Goldman leaves restaurant for his

  apartment. Unclear when he leaves for Nicole Simpson's house. 10:45 p.m.: O.J.

  Simpson's limousine arrives at the Simpson mansion. Driver waits 30 minutes for

  Simpson to come out. 11:15 p.m.: O.J. Simpson leaves from his house in

  limousine. 11:45 p.m.: O.J. Simpson boards American Airlines flight from Los

  Angeles to Chicago. 12:30 a.m.: A neighbor finds Nicole Simpson's dog

  wandering the neighborhood, walks it back to the condominium. Discovers the

  bodies of Goldman and Nicole Simpson lying outside the home. Glasses in an

  envelope at Goldman's feet.


  Drive times from O.J. Simpson's home: To Nicole Simpson's home 5 minutes To

  the Los Angeles Airport 20 minutes

  GRAPHIC,b/w, USA TODAY ,Source: USA TODAY research(Map);

  PHOTO,b/w,Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY