Prosecutor Portrays Simpson as Killer in a Dark Sweat Suit
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A prosecutor used expert testimony Wednesday to draw a portrait of O.J. Simpson as a killer in a dark sweat suit, suggesting fibers from his sleeve were entwined with his slain ex-wife’s hair and scattered on evidence.
With FBI agent Douglas Deedrick back on the stand after a four-day holiday break, prosecutor Marcia Clark noted that witnesses have said Simpson wore a dark sweat suit on the night of June 12, 1994, when Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were slashed to death.
No such clothes have been found, and the questions were met with repeated defense objections. But Deedrick testified it was ``possible″ that dark blue-black cotton fibers he examined came from such a garment.
Asked what he concluded about the dark threads found on a bloody glove at Simpson’s estate, Goldman’s shirt and a pair of socks next to Simpson’s bed, Deedrick said ``they all could have originated from the same fiber.″
As for the fiber wrapped around hair like Ms. Simpson’s, Deedrick was asked to comment on a hypothetical question posed by Clark.
``If the defendant’s wearing a dark cotton sweat suit ... and he attacked Nicole Brown with his sleeves coming into contact with her hair,″ asked Clark, ``could that account for the manner in which you find the fabric wrapped around the hair...?″
``It’s possible,″ Deedrick said. ``Sweat suits ... tend to have longer, looser fibers.″
Clark’s scenario was left vague after numerous objections were sustained.
On cross-examination, defense attorney F. Lee Bailey attacked the contention that the fibers could be linked to Simpson. He elicited from Deedrick testimony that the agent never obtained samples of clothing from law enforcement personnel at the crime scene and didn’t check to see if the fibers matched the dark blue uniforms of police officers.
``How many people was it reported to you were wearing a blue-black fiber-constructed garment that day?″ Bailey asked.
``Nobody explained anything to me about what they were wearing,″ Deedrick replied, saying that his request for such information went unanswered.
``You haven’t the vaguest idea to this day whether one, 10 or 30 people were wearing dark, cotton clothing around that crime scene, correct?″ Bailey asked.
``I don’t know,″ the witness replied.
With the prosecution case winding up, possibly this week, defense lawyers gave prosecutors a list of their first witnesses. However, prosecutor Christopher Darden told the judge he would challenge many of them as irrelevant and seek to bar others because he has received no advance statements of what they will say.
According to sources close to the case, the first defense witnesses include Simpson’s mother, his sister, Carmelita Durio, and his grown daughter Arnelle. Other witnesses are two of Simpson’s golfing buddies who, along with his family members, are expected to discuss the former football star’s demeanor in the days before or after the slayings, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Also among the witnesses is Ron Fishman, a friend who attended a dance recital at the school where Simpson’s daughter performed hours before the killings. Fishman took videos that the defense has used to show Simpson greeting friends and relatives outside the school.
The identification of tiny threads of fabric from clothing and carpets comprised prosecutors’ most aggressive effort to tie up loose ends of their circumstantial case against Simpson.
The agent’s calm testimony wove a pattern supporting the prosecution’s theory of the murders.
Before turning questioning to Bailey, Clark suggested to jurors that Ms. Simpson was killed first by a murderer who picked up fibers of her dress on his bloody gloves, then attacked Goldman and took away fibers from the stabbing victim’s shirt.
Deedrick told jurors that rose-beige carpet fibers stuck to a cap at the murder scene and the glove on Simpson’s estate could have come from Simpson’s Ford Bronco but not from a Bronco driven by his friend Al Cowlings.
Deedrick said he quickly ruled out Cowlings’ Bronco because ``his carpeting was blue.″ Cowlings’ Bronco is the one in which Simpson hid during a slow-speed chase that ended in his arrest.
The link between Simpson’s Bronco carpet and key evidence was the closest Clark came Wednesday to pointing the finger of guilt directly at the defendant. But she couldn’t go as far as she wanted. Because of a discovery violation, she was prevented from having Deedrick explain just how unique Simpson’ Bronco carpet was.
A five-page report by Deedrick, banned from evidence because the prosecution failed to share it with the defense, said such fibers were used only in 1993 and 1994 Broncos. Simpson’s was a 1994 model.
In another development, transcripts from last week’s sidebars showed that Clark came close to spending the weekend in jail for violating a prohibition against using the word ``match″ in describing similarities of hair and fiber evidence to samples taken from the victims and Simpson.
Judge Lance Ito said less precise terms, such as ``consistent with,″ should be used because it is scientifically impossible to show an exact match on such evidence.
After saying the word ``match″ on Friday, Clark was chided by Ito.
``Miss Clark, you’re flirting with contempt,″ he told her, according to the transcript.
``Not intentionally, your honor,″ she said. ``I did not mean to say it.″
``You’re warned. Consider yourself warned,″ Ito replied. ``If I hear that word again, it’s going to be _ somebody is going to be in jail over the weekend.″
During Wednesday’s questioning, Clark apparently slipped again, drawing a quick objection. The judge refused Bailey’s request for a sidebar conference and the question was rephrased.
Deedrick used charts and pictures of the victims’ bloody clothes to explain the fabric evidence to jurors. Among his key points:
_ The off-white cotton of Goldman’s shirt was similar to fabric found stuck to a glove and cap at the crime scene and the glove at Simpson’s estate two miles away. Although Clark noted such cotton was common, Deedrick said this cotton was different because it was bloodstained. He said the cotton could have been transferred to the gloves and cap during a struggle.
_ Four pieces of yarn consistent with the synthetic knit fabric of Ms. Simpson’s black halter dress were found on Goldman’s shirt. Clark suggested the killer got the fabric on his gloves while pushing Ms. Simpson to the ground and then deposited it on Goldman when attacking him.
_ Goat hairs similar to the cashmere lining of the gloves _ which other witnesses said were the same size and model as a pair that Ms. Simpson bought in New York _ were found on Goldman’s shirt and on the cap.
_ Carpet fibers similar to those of the Bronco were seen on the glove at Simpson’s estate, the cap near the bodies, and a towel, plastic bag and shovel taken from Simpson’s Bronco.
The painstaking effort to isolate evidence was demonstrated by Deedrick’s testimony that only one carpet fiber was detected on each of the items analyzed.
Last week, Deedrick identified a broken hair similar to Simpson’s on Goldman’s shirt. Wednesday, he said there was no hair consistent with Simpson’s on his ex-wife’s body, casting doubt on a defense theory that his hair was on a blanket dragged out of Ms. Simpson’s condominium to cover her body.
If there was a transfer of hair from the blanket, he said, it would have been on Ms. Simpson’s clothing, not on Goldman’s shirt since the blanket never came in contact with his body.
In court Wednesday was Anita Hill, the law professor who accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. Simpson’s mother, Eunice, also was in court for the first time in weeks.