Simpson questioned after ex-wife's slaying

O. J.

June 14, 1994|By Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES -- Football great O. J. Simpson's former wife and a 25-year-old man were found apparently stabbed to death outside her fashionable Brentwood-area town home early yesterday morning.

Los Angeles police said they were not ruling out anyone's possible involvement in the Sunday night slayings of Nicole Brown Simpson, 35, and Ronald Lyle Goldman, a waiter at a trendy restaurant. Sources close to the case, who asked not to be named, said the football star was considered a suspect.

However, Mr. Simpson's attorney, Howard Weitzman, insisted that his client was innocent.

"He had nothing to do with this tragedy," Mr. Weitzman told reporters. "He is in shock." Although police refused to identify any suspect, the knowledgeable sources said a blood-soaked glove believed to have been used during the killings was found at O. J. Simpson's house in Brentwood after the killings.

Mr. Weitzman confirmed that search warrants had been served at two residences belonging to Mr. Simpson: the house in Brentwood and a condominium.

Police took the football star into custody at his house yesterday afternoon -- handcuffing him briefly -- before transporting him to police headquarters downtown for questioning. Two hours later, he was released, and Mr. Weitzman indicated that Mr. Simpson would spend the night at the home of a friend.

Police said little about the crime, declining to offer a possible motive or say exactly when the attack was believed to have occurred. Officers said only that there were signs of a struggle, and that there was no evidence that the attack occurred during a robbery or a burglary.

"Obviously, we're not going to rule anyone out" as a suspect, Police Cmdr. David Gascon said during a news conference last night. "We will pursue whoever we need to pursue until we bring the party to justice."

Shortly after a passer-by found the bodies of Nicole Simpson and Mr. Goldman, police began looking for the football star, learning a few hours later that he was in Chicago.

When O. J. Simpson had gone to Chicago was not precisely clear, although Mr. Weitzman said his client took a "red-eye" flight sometime in the "late evening" on Sunday.

Los Angeles police said they telephoned Mr. Simpson yesterday morning and asked him to return here. "He was in Chicago when we contacted him," LAPD Lt. John Dunkin said.

Mr. Simpson, 46, and his former wife -- a sometime waitress, sales clerk and interior decorator -- divorced in 1992, three years after he pleaded no contest to a spousal battery charge filed after he allegedly hit her, kicked her and told her, "I'll kill you."

Friends said the couple had been attempting to get back together in recent months, but the reconciliation attempt came to an end several weeks ago.

Detectives said the Simpsons' two children -- Sidney Brooke, 9, and Justin, 6 -- were asleep in the home when the slayings took place.

During his two years at the University of Southern California, Orenthal James Simpson equaled or bettered dozens of records, culminating his collegiate career with the Heisman Trophy -- awarded to the nation's best college football player -- in 1968.

After he was drafted in the first round by the Buffalo Bills in 1969, he went on to establish a National Football League single-season rushing record of 2,003 yards in 1973. He finished his 11-year pro career with the San Francisco 49ers as the second leading rusher in NFL history, and in 1985, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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