Questioning today will turn to the night of the slayings

  Jonathan T. Lovitt ; Richard Price


  USA Today


  Page 10A

  (Copyright 1996)


  SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- His alibi came together piece by piece. One witness

  quoted him as saying he was asleep. The police said he told them he was

  packing. A lawyer said he was chipping golf balls.


  Finally, in a deposition leading up to his civil trial, O.J. Simpson he said he was

  doing all that and more during the 78 minutes when no one can corroborate his

  whereabouts on June 12, 1994.


  But none of his actions, he said, included murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and

  Ronald Goldman.


  Today, almost 30 months after the murders, Simpson puts his story on the line in

  his second day of testifying in a wrongful-death suit filed by the victims'



  The time in question: 9:37 p.m. to 10:55 p.m., which includes the time when,

  both sides agree, the victims were stabbed outside Nicole's condominium.


  On the day after the murders, Simpson told police he said he was running around

  the house preparing for a trip to Chicago that night. ``Getting my junk out of the

  car . . . throwing hangars and stuff in my suitcase.''


  Later, limousine driver Alan Park testified that he arrived at Simpson's house at

  10:23. After waiting outside a darkened house until 10:39 p.m., he buzzed

  Simpson twice but received no response until 10:55 -- seconds after he saw a tall

  person in dark clothing enter the house through the front door.


  When Simpson came out, Park testified, he told him he had overslept. ``I just got

  out of the shower.''


  At Simpson's criminal trial, Simpson lawyer Johnnie Cochran said Simpson had

  been out in the yard chipping golf balls.


  In his deposition, Simpson addressed these inconsistencies.


  For example, he said he was the figure Park spotted going in the house but said

  he was in a bathrobe returning from dropping his bags out front.


  At the criminal trial, a witness testified that Simpson's Bronco was not parked

  outside the estate when he drove by during the time that Simpson supposedly

  was home. In the deposition, Simpson accounts for that by saying he moved the

  Bronco from the street so he could unload his golf clubs for his trip. Then he said

  he reparked it on another street.


  Daniel Petrocelli, lead lawyer for the Goldman family, questioned Simpson on

  that at the end of Friday's session, and the exchange between them may offer a

  hint on the battle of nuances that will go on today.


  Petrocelli asked Simpson why he didn't return his car to its usual spot on Ashford

  Street. The estate is on a corner lot.


  Simpson parked the car on Rockingham Avenue, which would have left him a

  longer walk to the house because the Rockingham gate is not a walk-in and he

  would have had to go around to Ashford. Simpson said he parked hurriedly and

  raced back in before the gate closed.


  Speed was important, he testified, because he always worried about his dog,

  Chachi, racing out into the street. Whenever he left the house and pulled out of

  the Rockingham gate, he said, he would wait for the gate to close just to be sure

  the dog didn't get out.


  Former house guest Brian ``Kato'' Kaelin had testified the dog wasn't a problem

  because she was too lame to run out the gate. When Petrocelli brought that up,

  Simpson rejected it. ``I had numerous complaints from my neighbors, and if you

  want to check with the SPCA, they had complained, and told me the next time

  they found my dog out, they would take my dog . . . check it.''


  But Kaelin already has testified that when Simpson took him to a McDonald's

  earlier that evening, he didn't wait for the gate to close or check the location of

  the dog.


  This type of detailed questioning is likely to consume much of today's exchange.

  Why, for example, didn't Simpson call police when Kaelin told him he had heard

  a series of bumps on his rear wall, suggesting a prowler? Why did he switch

  stories about cutting himself? He first told police he had cut himself somehow

  before the murders. Now he says he's sure he didn't. Petrocelli will ask him to



  Of course, some of it will be a simple debate over facts. For example, both Park

  and Kaelin testified about a small black bag that Simpson insisted on carrying for

  the ride to the airport.


  Simpson said he never owned such a bag. He said both are mistaking it for a

  duffel bag he brought back from Chicago. Park and Kaelin denied the duffel bag

  was the piece they saw. The bag they saw has never been found.


  On Friday, Petrocelli appeared to catch Simpson on a series of misstatements

  abut his relationship with Nicole and other details. That almost surely raised

  doubts about his credibility, analysts say.


  Laurie Levenson, dean of Loyola Law School, says Petrocelli has shown that

  Simpson is ``either in incredible denial or he's intentionally lying.''


  Perhaps the toughest challenge for Petrocelli: exploring Simpson's mind after the

  murders. Simpson has attributed his actions to grief and shock.


  But Petrocelli believes he can convince jurors that Simpson's actions were

  inconsistent with that of an innocent man. Why, for example, did he run out to

  the airport to pick up a set of golf clubs and a golf bag two days after the



  Why would he contemplate suicide? Why did he bring a disguise, cash and a

  passport on his infamous slow-speed chase?


  During the next two days, he'll have to explain all that to Petrocelli -- and to the


  PHOTO,b/w,Nick Ut,AP; Caption: Alibi to be tested today: O.J. Simpson, with

  his lawyer Daniel Leonard, leaves court in Los Angeles after testifying Friday.