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Page 1: CASE STUDY CASE STUDY CASE STUDY CASE STUE QU1TJEj OJ ...

CASE STUDY

hen Nicole Brown Simpson was found dead at her Los Angeles

home suspicion fell on former husband Ui Simpson But at his

hugely_publicized trial the faded sports celebrity was not the-only one

accused. Police procedures and evidence -

handling were also on trial.

It was Nicole's dog who raised thealarm on the night of June 12, 1994.Neighbors had heard howling from10: 15 PM onward, and eventuallyfound the white Akita covered inblood, it led them to the gate of 875South Bundy Drive, in the desirableLA Suburb of Brentwood. Throughthe gate, they saw a row of bloodyfootprints. Beyond, highlighted bythe porch light, Nicole's body layslumped in a spreading pool of blood.

Police on the sceneAn LAPD squad car arrived just aftermidnight, and patrolmen opened the gateto take a closer look. Nicole had been

540. f'

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ferociously attacked, almost decapitated. calls to homicide detectives. GatheringNearby, her friend Ronald Goldman was at the scene, they then drove to Simpson'salso found dead from a frenzied stabbing. palatial home, five minutes away onScattered around were items including Rockingham Avenue. House lights werea hat and a bloodstained left-hand glove, on, but nobody answered the door. CallingInside the house they found Nicole's at a bungalow in the grounds wokesons, age six and nine, fast asleep. Simpson's daughter, who let detectives

The uniformed officers telephoned into the house. A guest, Kato Kaelin,their report and triggered wake-up had been sleeping in another bungalow.

He told detectives that Simpsonhad taken a night flight

to Chicago. Kaelin had

helped to load luggage

just

into an airport limo

While buzzing

-the intercom

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THEY'RE TOO TIGHT'Simpson had trouble wearing a keypiece of evidence. The prosecutionclaimed the gloves had shrunk, but thejury believed the defense slogan "if itdoesn't fit, you must acquit."

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CASE STUDY CASE STUDY CASE STUDY CASE STUE

.11OJ Simpson on trialQU1TJEj

POLICE MIIGSHOT AOJ Simpson's arrest at age 46 for his ex-wife'smurder wasn't his first brush with the law. Hewas convicted of beating her six years earlier,and sentenced to community work and probation.

IT'S IN THE BAGVThe defense team claimed investigators didn't

change their gloves between handling Simpson'sblood sample and bagging crime-scene evidence. SoSimpson's DNA may have contaminated this glove.

' UUCCC1YC3 IIULICCU7 blood on Simpson's FordBronco parked outside. They

then saw a trail of drips leading fromthe car to the mansion's front door.Detective Mark Fuhrman also foundanother bloodstained glove that marchedthe one found near Nicole's body.

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CASE STUDY CASE STUDY

Dawn broke as police called Simpson athis Chicago hotel. He sounded distraughtbut strangely incurious about his ex-wife'sdeath. He agreed to catch the next flightback, and by lunchtime detectives wereinterviewing him. As they talked, theynoticed a bandage on his hand. Hedcut it some time before, he told them,and a broken glass in his Chicagohotel room had reopened the wound.The detectives photographed his hand,

and fingerprinted him. The nurse thentook his blood for DNA tests, squirtedthe sample into a vial containing a

preservative, EDTA, and handed it to thedetectives. Simpson was then free to go.Meanwhile, the investigation had been

continuing at the two crime scenes. To

try to preempt defense challenges, thesearch ofSimpson's house was videotaped.IL mid-afternoon, the detectives who hadinters icssed Simpson joined the rest ofthe ins estigating team at RockinghamAscnuc. At 5:20 i they handed overthe vial of blood to he logged and packedaway sith the other crime-scene evidence.

Mass media attention

In the four days that followed, the casebecame a media circus: Simpson's arrestwas famously preceded by a slow-motion

police car chase around the LA freewaysystem. It was clear that the trial was

going to attract immense news interest.When it began seven months later, the

State seemed to have a compelling case

against Simpson. He had no alibi, and hairand fiber evidence linked him to the hatfound at the murder scene. DNA analysisshowed that blood on a sock found in

Simpson's bedroom was Nicole's, andthat the car and the right-hand glovewere stained with blood from

Simpson and both victims. Asthe Deputy District Attorney . - , -

-

put it, That trail of bloodfrom Bundy through hisown Ford Bronco and intohis house on Rockingham

NOT GUILTY! 0-

Lawyer F Lee Bailey, Simpson,andattorney Johnnie Cochran(l-r) celebrate the verdict. But acivil court found him guilty, andawarded $33 million in damages.

CASE STUDY CASE STUDY CASE STUDY

is devastating proof of his guilt."However, Simpson had hired a crack

legal team. From the start, they painteda picture of a white racist detective tryingto frame an innocent, if bullying, blackdefendant. Detective Mark Fuhrman'sevidence was fatally compromised whenthe Jury heard a rape recording in whichhe used racial slurs ii times. In addition.the defense alleged that the detect I\

had both the means and opportuii

to frame Simpson.

About a quarter-teaspoonful of i, hiodsample had vanished before being loggedas evidence. The defense suggested thatdetectives had ample time to smear itaround the crime scene. Worse, some ofthe crime-scene samples contained tracesof EDTA. The glove could have been

planted-and didn't even fit Simpson.Finally, there was the video of the search.Far from preempting defense objections,it showed certain police procedures thatreinforced them (see box).

However, the prosecution could explainmany apparent shortcomings in theircase: small traces of EDTA, for example,occur naturally in blood. But the jury,exhausted by a rune-month trial in thenews spotlight, and baffled by muchof the expert testimony, was notconvinced. They took just six hoursto clear Simpson of the murder.

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