Knife Found on O.J. Simpson Estate Slices into News Cycle
In the annals of criminal trials, I cannot recall one as infamous as the O.J. Simpson criminal trial for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.
In a shocking new twist to this case, a knife that had been located by a construction worker at O.J. Simpon’s estate four years after the slaughter is only now in the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department.
A construction worker found a knife buried at OJ Simpson’s California estate, but the cop he turned it over to framed it and kept it as a sick souvenir for years, according to a new report.
Los Angeles police confirmed to the Daily News Friday that a knife has been recovered from the site of Simpson’s former Brentwood mansion, which was demolished in 1998, but provided no further details.
Investigators only recently learned about the weapon— nearly 22 years after the murders of Simpson’s Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman — when the now-retired cop asked about the record for the Simpson murder case, so he could engrave the number on the knife’s frame, sources told TMZ.
The knife is now being tested using forensic techniques that have been substantially improved since the conclusion of the trial in October, 1995, which saw Simpson acquitted of murder (in part, because the jury had been persuaded by Simpson’s defense team that the DNA testing was invalid because of contamination).
Law enforcement sources told TMZ that the blade is a folding buck knife, which is now being tested for hair and fingerprints after being handed over to the L.A.P.D.’s Robbery Homicide Division.
It will be tested for DNA and other biological evidence at the department’s Serology Unit next week, sources told the site.
Cops who saw the weapon said it appeared to have blood residue on it, but it’s extremely rusted and stained, so further testing is needed.
I was one of many Americans who followed the trial closely. In fact, my current conservatism stems from the talk radio pundits I began listening to regularly while waiting for trial updates (especially Tammy Bruce, who was the head of the local N.O.W. at the time and an activist for the protection of abused women).
Memories of key moments came flooding back to me today. Perhaps the most chilling was standing at the magazine rack at a grocery store, listing to a black mother try and keep her child quite as he kept yelling “O.J. is innocent” in response to the numerous magazine covers featuring stories of the trial.
It seems there has been very little racial healing in the intervening 21 years.
I was devastated by the verdict in the criminal trial. Two books helped me process the result are Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O. J. Simpson Got Away with Murder by Vincent Bugliosi and Triumph of Justice : Closing the Book On the Simpson Saga by the man who successfully prosecuted the civil case against Simpson, Daniel Petrocelli.
I clipped a picture of Petrocelli and taped it to my office wall, where it hung for several years as an example of professional excellence. In fact, I broke open a bottle of champagne when the verdict in the civil case came down.
The Goldman and Brown families then sued him in civil court, and that jury unanimously found Simpson liable for the murders. He was ordered to pay a total of $33.5 million, made up of $8.5 million in compensatory damages to the Goldmans and $25 million in punitive damages to be split between the Goldmans and Nicole’s children.
“The dollar amount meant nothing to us,” Kim Goldman told CNBC. “We were just thrilled that 12 people unanimously determined that he was the killer of Ron and Nicole. The rest was just paper.”
It appears that the book on the case has been opened again. There is some speculation that the sudden discovery of the knife is a hoax, to promote the new T.V. series.
Part of me hopes this theory is true, as the complete miscarriage of justice may have been prevented if such a critical piece of evidence had been located in the initial search.
In December 2008, a Nevada court sentenced Simpson to a maximum of 33 years in prison in connection with the armed robbery and kidnapping of two sports memorabilia dealers.
“We are thrilled, and it’s a bittersweet moment,” Fred Goldman, Ronald Goldman’s father, told reporters after Simpson’s sentencing. “It was satisfying seeing him in shackles like he belongs.”
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