O.J.'s family counters image of a killer
Sally Ann Stewart; Jonathan T. Lovitt
LOS ANGELES - Three women from O.J. Simpson's family stepped onto the
witness stand Monday to counter his image as the killer of Nicole Brown
Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
Simpson's daughter Arnelle, 26, was the first witness Simpson's lawyers
presented for their side of the case. She was quickly followed by his sister
Carmelita Durio and his mother, Eunice Simpson.
Outside court, the three women said it was just a coincidence that they wore
yellow clothing. But it was no coincidence that they had the same purpose in
If the opening is any indication, experts say the defense apparently plans to
continue attacking the prosecution's case on several fronts:
-- Demeanor. Simpson's lawyers questioned all three women extensively about
Simpson's actions after police told him his ex-wife and her friend were brutally
slashed to death.
During the prosecution phase of the trial, police said Simpson didn't ask any
questions about how, when or where his wife died.
But Eunice Simpson said her son was "shocked." And Arnelle Simpson said he
"Truthfully, what did we expect her to say: `My father is a cold-blooded killer' ?"
said Southwestern University law professor Robert Pugsley.
-- Alibi. Arnelle Simpson said her father frequently practiced golf at his house,
backing one story on what he was doing at the time prosecutors say the killings
She also said she never saw her father wearing a blue or black cotton sweatsuit.
Fibers from such a garment were found at the murder scene.
-- Police errors. Arnelle Simpson testified she told police she could contact her
father. Police testified she didn't know her father was away.
She said she didn't notice blood on the driveway or in the entryway of the
mansion. Police testified they saw the blood and decided they had to further
"Where there's a minor discrepancy," Pugsley said, "it gives the jury the basis for
reasonable doubt as to the accuracy of the police account."
The defense's speedy presentation of five witnesses in one day could please the
jury, which has been locked away since Jan. 11.
"And things should be kept simple," said criminal lawyer Donald Wager. "The
longer a witness goes, the more confusing it becomes for jurors."