Riske Says He Touched Nothing at Nicole Brown Simpson’s Home
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The first officer at the scene where Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend were murdered acknowledged today that he didn’t check out melting ice cream found in her home or see if there was evidence her dog had bitten anyone.
But Officer Robert Riske said it was not his duty to do so.
As O.J. Simpson’s trial resumed after a holiday break, defense attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr. quickly resumed his effort to show that police mishandled the investigation from the start.
Under cross-examination by Cochran, Riske answered a litany of defense questions about what he found _ stereo music, lighted candles, a bathtub full of water, melting ice cream and a television _ but repeatedly said he touched nothing.
Riske said he did not check trash cans inside the home, did not test the temperature of the water in Ms. Simpson’s bathtub, did not pick up the ice cream cup, did not turn off the stereo, television or lights, did not try to open a Jeep with the passenger door ajar, and did not check Ms. Simpson’s pet Akita for evidence.
Prosecutors have suggested that the Akita’s howls signaled the murders, and the dog led neighbors to the bodies outside Ms. Simpson’s condominium. The defense suggests that closer attention to details such as how much the ice cream found in Ms. Simpson’s home had melted could have better determined the time of death.
Riske also testified that he never saw the police photographer take pictures of key evidence in the house.
During later questioning by Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark, Riske told jurors it wasn’t his duty to investigate the murder or to check what photographs were or weren’t take at the crime scene.
She also asked him whether it was his responsibility to ``stand guard″ at the crime scene to observe what the investigators and criminalists did.
Riske responded ``no″ to all of her questions. He said his job was to ``respond to the call, secure the scene, make notifications.″
Riske’s boss, Sgt. David Rossi, a member of the Police Department for more than 25 years, was called to the stand just before the court broke for lunch. He said Riske called him around 12:30 a.m. on June 13 from Ms. Simpson’s home.
Also today, a transcript was released giving more details about the jurors’ Sunday trip to key sites in Brentwood.
It shows that after the visit, the prosecution complained that one juror studied a photograph on a wall in Simpson’s home, in violation of the judge’s order to disregard any pictures.
``I think that when a juror makes a deliberate effort to pay very close attention to an item that the court has told them to disregard, it sounds to me like a direct violation of the court’s admonition,″ Clark told the judge in a session held on Simpson’s front yard.
Cochran said the prosecution was overreacting, and the judge took no action, according to the transcript.
The transcript also says that the prosecution objected to lighted fireplaces at Simpson’s home, and the judge ordered the fires to be put out. Cochran, however, had told reporters Sunday that the fires were burning during the jurors’ tour. Cochran could not immediately be reached to explain the discrepancy.
Simpson has pleaded innocent to the June 12 murders of his ex-wife and her friend Ronald Goldman. On the jury tour, the motorcade passed by both Goldman’s apartment and the restaurant where he worked, and stopped at Ms. Simpson’s condo and Simpson’s estate.
In other action today, Los Angeles county supervisors voted 4-0 to ask for state help in paying the costs associated with the trial.
Through December 1994, the sheriff’s department spent $260,484 on courtroom security and custody expenses for Simpson, and costs have escalated rapidly since jurors were sequestered a month ago.
Supervisor Michael Antonovich sponsored the motion, which seeks state help for security and jury sequestration costs in all publicized trials.
Steve Telliano, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office, said such requests are not uncommon and are sometimes granted.