Judge Allows Witness to Testify On O.J. Simpson’s Dreams
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A friend who claims O.J. Simpson discussed dreaming about killing his ex-wife a day after she and a friend were slain was called to testify today.
Judge Lance Ito allowed the witness, Ronald Shipp, to testify before the jury about Simpson’s relationship with his wife. But Ito back away from allowing him to tell the panel about the dream. The judge set a hearing about the dream’s relevancy to the murder case outside the jury’s presence.
Ito, who at first ruled that Shipp could testify about the dream to the jury, backtracked when the defense forcefully objected.
Before Ito ruled, Hank Goldberg, a deputy district attorney, said Shipp’s testimony about the June 13 conversation in Simpson’s home would help prove that Simpson fatally stabbed Nicole Brown Simpson in a jealous rage.
Shipp, according to Goldberg, quoted Simpson as saying: ``Hey to be truthful, Ron, man, I have had a lot of dreams about killing her.″
Goldberg told the judge the statement was ``powerful evidence″ of Simpson’s ``fatal obsession″ with Ms. Simpson.
Defense attorney Carl Douglas objected to the testimony, saying the conversation didn’t occur.
Shipp, a retired police officer and friend of Simpson, was identified by Douglas as the mysterious ``Leo″ in the opening pages of a ``Raging Heart,″ a new book about the case.
The book says Simpson met with Leo the day after the murders and revealed having dreams of killing Ms. Simpson. Later in the book, Shipp is mentioned by name as a friend who counseled the Simpsons in the days following their 1989 fight.
Prosecutors allege that Simpson killed his wife in a jealous rage after years of abuse. They used the New Year’s 1989 beating as a launching pad for their case.
The first three witnesses were an operator who took her 911 call and two officers who investigated the case. Simpson eventually pleaded no contest and was sentenced to probation.
As giant photos of a bruised Ms. Simpson were projected on a courtroom screen, Edwards told jurors that she emerged from bushes wearing only a bra and muddy sweatpants and collapsed in his arms in the darkness, crying, ``He’s going to kill me!″
``I said, `Who’s going to kill you?″ recalled Edwards, who was a patrol officer responding to the 911 call. ``She said, `O.J.′
``I said, `O.J. who? You mean the football player?′
``She said, `Yes, O.J. Simpson the football player.‴
Edwards described Ms. Simpson’s beaten face, cut left lip and bruised forehead.
``She said there was two other women living in the house and that O.J. Simpson had sex with one of them prior to going to bed that night with her,″ Edwards said, adding that he asked for no names.
He also told of a truculent Simpson who emerged from the house in his bathrobe, berated his wife and fled in his blue Bentley rather than face arrest.
``He seemed very furious,″ Edwards told jurors. ``He said, `I don’t want that woman in my bed anymore. I’ve got two other women. I don’t want that woman in my bed anymore.‴
Simpson appeared surprised by Edwards’ testimony. He laughed and shook his head. In cross-examination, the defense provided the information that a maid and a nanny lived at Simpson’s house.
Edwards’ testimony came after Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark began the court session with an unprecedented rebuttal opening statement. Superior Court Judge Lance Ito allowed it because defense attorneys illegally hid witnesses from prosecutors.
Clark ripped into the most prominent of those surprise witnesses, Mary Anne Gerchas, who says she saw four men leaving the area where Ms. Simpson and Ronald Goldman were killed on June 12.
Clark called Gerchas ``a known liar and a Simpson-case groupie″ who, before she spoke to the defense, told a friend that she wasn’t in the neighborhood the night of the murders.
``The rebuttal was devastating to the defense,″ said Columbia University law professor George Fletcher. ``I wouldn’t be surprised if at this point the defense simply drops Mary Anne Gerchas and refuses to call her.″
Outside court, Cochran said she would remain a witness.
In other testimony, Detective Mike Farrell, who investigated the New Year’s case days later, said Simpson expressed regret and was ``really remorseful.″
``He told me that he was sorry for what he did to Nicole, that he didn’t mean to harm her in any way and would seek counseling,″ Farrell recalled.
As Farrell left the stand, Simpson mumbled, ``Thanks for being honest.″