Scientist admits errors but denies cover-up // Defense extracts more evidence

  of mishandling

  Jonathan T. Lovitt


  USA Today


  Page 04A

  (Copyright 1995)


  LOS ANGELES - A police scientist conceded again Wednesday that he

  mishandled blood evidence but denied he was covering up for police in the O.J.

  Simpson trial.


  Continuing his meticulous assault on the prosecution's evidence, defense lawyer

  Barry Scheck forced forensics scientist Dennis Fung into admissions that fit the

  defense claim investigators were sloppy and evidence cannot be trusted.


  Prosecutors say the scientific tests on the evidence will prove Simpson killed

  ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman on June 12.


  In his sixth day on the stand:


  -- Fung said blood samples from the crime scene at Nicole Simpson's condo sat

  in plastic bags in an evidence truck for about seven hours on a hot day.


  Scheck confronted Fung with guidelines recommending against storing bloody

  items in plastic because of the risk that bacteria can grow, causing the blood

  samples to deteriorate. Fung said plastic minimized the risk.


  Fung also said he didn't use the truck's refrigerator. "The refrigerator stops

  working after several hours," he said.


  -- Fung insisted he saw blood on the driver's side door sill of Simpson's Bronco,

  rejecting Scheck's charge he was lying to protect Detective Mark Fuhrman, the

  only other witness to testify he saw the blood. Fung said he did not recall

  Fuhrman pointing out the spots.


  Scheck showed a photograph of the door on the 7-foot courtroom screen. The sill

  looked white.


  "Do you see four red stains on the door sill?" he asked.


  "The white area is very washed out," Fung said. "You can't make out any detail."


  -- Fung said he went at prosecutor Marcia Clark's request to see the Bronco at an

  impound garage July 6, just before testifying at the preliminary hearing. He said

  Clark told him "to look specifically at that (door) area" and do tests as he

  testified on July 6.


  Fung said he "didn't recall" saying at a later hearing that he went only "to see" if

  the Bronco was there or telling a police investigator that he went to "refresh my



  Scheck showed Fung a report on his conversation with police. "Even from

  reviewing that report," Fung said, "my memory is not refreshed."


  Trying to deflect criticism over the fading credibility of a key prosecution

  witness, District Attorney Gil Garcetti rejected criticism that prosecutors did a

  poor job of preparing Fung.


  "I think we're in a situation where the evidence has indeed been coming out

  exactly the way it should be coming out, with all the warts and pimples,"

  Garcetti said.


  But Laurie Levenson, a Loyola University professor, says the prosecution must

  support Fung's testimony. "He's shown he's not that knowledgeable about certain

  things, nor does he have a good memory."


  Fung's problems in court came amid continuing furor over charges from an

  ousted juror of favoritism and improper discussion among jurors. Judge Lance

  Ito questioned ousted juror Jeanette Harris privately about her claims.

  PHOTO,b/w,Fred Prouser