Simpson linked to killings

June 15, 1994|By Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES -- Evidence links former football star O. J. Simpson to the slayings of his former wife and a waiter employed at a trendy Brentwood restaurant, Los Angeles police sources said yesterday.

Much of the investigation yesterday was focused on bloodstains -- both at Mr. Simpson's Brentwood mansion and at his former wife's townhouse two miles away, where the crime was committed late Sunday.

Nicole Brown Simpson, 35, and Ronald Lyle Goldman, 25, were stabbed to death Sunday night, and knowledgeable sources said Mr. Simpson, 46, had scratches on his body when he was questioned by police Monday.

The evidence includes bloodstains found yesterday in one of Mr. Simpson's cars, the sources said. They said a bloodstained glove found at Mr. Simpson's mansion matches one found near the bodies at his ex-wife's townhouse in Brentwood. In addition, they said, rust-colored spots found on the mansion driveway have been determined to be bloodstains.

But Howard Weitzman, Mr. Simpson's attorney, insisted yesterday that his client is not involved in the killings. "I am convinced that he is innocent," Mr. Weitzman said, denying that a bloody glove was found at Mr. Simpson's house.

Tests are under way on the blood to see if it came from the former Buffalo Bills football star, his former wife, or Mr. Goldman. While tests to match blood types take little time, DNA tests -- which can establish more positive identification -- can take several days.

One source close to the case said yesterday that an arrest was expected within the next few days. The arrest may be made on the basis of matching blood types, without waiting for the DNA test results, sources said.

Chicago police searched a hotel room near O'Hare Airport at the request of Los Angeles authorities, according to a report in the Los Angeles Daily News, and found a bloodstained towel and a broken glass.

Mr. Weitzman said that Mr. Simpson had cut himself in an accident after checking into the hotel and learning of his former wife's death.

Mr. Simpson made a dozen phone calls from the room during his hour-and-15-minute stay, and police confiscated those records, according to Chicago radio station WMAQ.

"I can tell you after O. J. was informed of his wife's death, he was in the bathroom and slammed his hand down on the bathroom sink," Mr. Weitzman said. "That's what police found -- a broken glass with a towel with blood on it."

A highly regarded prosecutor, Marcia Clark of the Los Angeles County district attorney's office's trials section, has already been assigned to the case. Prosecutors are seldom assigned to a case before an arrest has been made.

Police said yesterday that Mrs. Simpson and Mr. Goldman, a waiter at a Brentwood restaurant she frequented, were not linked romantically. Friends said he appeared to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, returning a pair of glasses shehad left at the restaurant.

The county coroner's office said both victims died from "multiple sharp-force injuries."

Neither the coroner's office nor police would release further details about the stab wounds or the weapons that inflicted them, but a source close to the investigation said the woman's throat was slashed and Mr. Goldman's wounds indicated that he put up a fierce struggle.

The relationship between the Simpsons was often tempestuous.

A man who lived in the Westwood apartment next to Mrs. Simpson's when she was first dating the football hero said yesterday he frequently heard the couple quarreling loudly.

The Simpsons subsequently married, then divorced in 1992, three years after he pleaded no contest to a battery charge filed after he allegedly struck her and told her, "I'll kill you."

Friends said the couple had been attempting to reconcile in recent months. Mr. Simpson and his ex-wife spent Sunday afternoon with their two children at a school music recital.

But a source said yesterday that Mrs. Simpson told her former husband several weeks ago that they could never reconcile, and police saidthey had been called to the townhouse several times in recent months to deal with disputes.

The blood-soaked bodies of Mrs. Simpson and Mr. Goldman were found sprawled on a walkway in front of her townhouse early Monday morning.

The bodies were found by a passer-by shortly after midnight early Monday, and within a few hours, police began looking for Mr. Simpson. By dawn, they learned that he was in Chicago.

Mr. Weitzman said Mr. Simpson had taken a "red-eye" flight there from Los Angeles late Sunday night to attend a meeting at Hertz, the auto-rental company for which he long has been a spokesman.

Sources close to the case said there appeared to be ample time between the slayings and the departure of the flight for someone to have driven from Brentwood to Los Angeles International Airport.

Los Angeles police reached Mr. Simpson in Chicago, and he flew back to Los Angeles late Monday morning. Police picked him up, took him to police headquarters in downtown Los Angeles and questioned him for about two hours.

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