DNA tests said to point to Simpson

September 15, 1994|By Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES -- Final DNA tests in the O.J. Simpson murder case point to Mr. Simpson as the source of at least some of the blood drops found near the bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman, sources close to the case say.

Tests still are being conducted by two laboratories and some of the results so far are inconclusive. But a batch of final results forwarded to defense lawyers and prosecutors this week point to a "match" between Mr. Simpson's blood and that of at least two of the drops found in a line leading away from the bodies, sources said yesterday.

Tests for the so-called "genetic fingerprint" could be the most damaging physical evidence to date against the former professional football player, who has pleaded not guilty to the double murders.

Sources also disclosed yesterday that a hair found on Mr. Goldman is being analyzed to determine whether it matches Mr. Simpson's hair. A match there could for the first time link Mr. Simpson to Mr. Goldman at the crime scene, a potentially damaging development that defense experts might challenge by questioning how only a single hair could end up on Mr. Goldman given the furious struggle that authorities believe took place between Mr. Goldman and his killer.

Mr. Simpson's lawyers declined to comment. "The judge has directed us not to discuss the scientific evidence, and I'm going to honor that," said Robert L. Shapiro, one of Mr. Simpson's lead attorneys. Mr. Simpson's lawyers have indicated that they intend to mount an aggressive campaign to discredit the scientific tests, which they say have been marred by sloppy police and scientific work.

The latest disclosures come in the wake of efforts by Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti to shore up a potential trouble spot in the prosecution case. Mr. Garcetti personally called San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan and another San Francisco official to ask that their medical examiner be allowed to testify as an expert for the prosecution in the trial.

So far, however, San Francisco officials have refused to release Dr. Boyd Stephens, the medical examiner, saying they cannot spare him because of budget cuts.

Mr. Garcetti approached San Francisco officials after the Los Angeles County deputy medical examiner who performed the autopsies of Nicole Simpson and Mr. Goldman came under furious attack by Mr. Simpson's defense attorneys during a preliminary hearing in July.

Forensic experts say the medical examiner, Dr. Irwin L. Golden, at times looked tentative or confused during questioning by Mr. Shapiro, who belittled Dr. Golden's credentials. Dr. Golden also admitted to throwing away Nicole Simpson's stomach contents and failing to closely examine a knife detectives believe was similar to the weapon used in the June 12 murders -- lapses that some predict may hurt the prosecution's case.

"Dr. Golden . . . did not on the stand give a feeling of confidence in what he was saying," said Werner U. Spitz, former Wayne Co., Mich., medical examiner and author of a widely used textbook for forensic pathologists. "He did not portray an individual who reasons scientifically and who gives the feeling to a jury . . . that he really knows what he's talking about. That's unfortunate."

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