Neighbor of Nicole Simpson tells how her dog led him to bodies THE O. J. SIMPSON TRIAL

February 09, 1995|By New York Times News Service

LOS ANGELES -- A man who lived near Nicole Brown Simpson told jurors yesterday how, shortly before midnight June 12, Mrs. Simpson's nervous, purposeful pet Akita dog pulled him toward its owner's condominium, stopped in front and peered into the yard.

HTC When the neighbor looked for himself, he said, he saw Mrs. Simpson prostrate and "full of blood."

"I turned to my wife and said there was a dead person there," the witness, Sukru Boztepe, told Marcia Clark, the chief prosecutor in the case.

"I could see the person was a lady, she was blond."

As he spoke, a police photograph of Mrs. Simpson's body was shown on the screen.

In the foreground were pools of blood, with prints of dog paws on the periphery.

As the double murder trial of O. J. Simpson continued, the two sides continued to wrestle over just when Mrs. Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were murdered.

Ms. Clark and Mr. Simpson's principal trial lawyer, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., fought over ever-smaller slices of time, as short as five or 10 minutes, increments measured not by gongs or beeps but by a dog's wails and broadcasts of reruns of the "Dick Van Dyke" and "Mary Tyler Moore" shows.

As five witnesses yesterday described Mrs. Simpson's neighborhood, it was a quiet area of beautiful homes, a neighborhood where dogs seldom bark, where residents slip by one another when walking their dogs and, though they are barely acquainted, are solicitous of one another's animals.

With enough dogs to fill a kennel, no dog matters more than Mrs. Simpson's -- formerly Kato, renamed Satchmo by Mr. Simpson's son, Jason.

Prosecutors believe the dog acted as a time clock and canine town crier once his owner was murdered.

The prosecution contends the killings took place around 10:15 p.m. -- early enough, they say, for Mr. Simpson, who lives about six minutes away, to have done the deed, changed out of his bloody clothes, returned home and headed to the airport.

Meantime, defense lawyers, relying on slight inconsistencies in the witnesses' prior testimony and statements to police, tried just as hard to push that time back by enough minutes to prove Mr. Simpson was somewhere else.

They say the killings could have occurred as late as 11 p.m., by which time Mr. Simpson was in a limousine on the way to Los Angeles International Airport.

The first of yesterday's witnesses, Eva Stein, said she went to bed shortly before 10 o'clock on the night of the killings and was awakened shortly afterward by what she called the "very, very, persistent, nonstop and very, very loud" barks of what she thought were several dogs.

Ms. Stein, a solemn and sad-eyed woman with a nasal voice, said she had not been able to go back to sleep by the time her boyfriend returned home, half an hour later.

Ms. Stein's boyfriend at the time, Louis Karpf, testified in turn that he had returned home at 10:45.

He, too, heard a dog barking "very profusely" and when he saw it, he found it so menacing that he ran back behind his gate.

They were followed on the stand by Steven Schwab, another neighbor of Mrs. Simpson who said he encountered the wailing Akita during his nightly walk with his own dog.

Mr. Schwab was able to trace the timing and direction of his walk that night with great precision because, he said, he is a creature of habit.

Every night, he testified, he left home immediately after the "Dick Van Dyke Show" ended on "Nick at Nite," at 10:30, and he just as regularly returned in time to watch "Mary Tyler Moore" reruns at 11.

Mr. Schwab testified that at 10:55 (while the "Bob Newhart Show" was on) he encountered Mrs. Simpson's dog a block or so from her home.

The dog began walking with him, looking down the pathways toward each home they passed, barking, then turning to him, he said.

"It was something I hadn't seen before," he said.

"I didn't know quite what to make of that."

He said the dog followed him back to his apartment, to which he returned by 11:05.

There, in brighter light, he discovered blood on all of its paws and spattered up its legs.

Mr. Schwab gave the dog to Mr. Boztepe for safekeeping overnight; when the animal refused to sleep, Mr. Boztepe and his wife took it for a walk, hoping he would lead them to his home.

Earlier, Judge Lance Ito refused a request from Mr. Simpson's first wife, Marguerite Simpson Thomas, to quash a subpoena that prosecutors had served on her, and directed her to be prepared to testify around March 3.

Prosecutors seek to question Mrs. Thomas, who was married to Mr. Simpson from June 1967 to March 1979, about two telephone calls her former husband made to her June 17, one shortly before he set out in the now-famous slow-speed police chase in the white Ford Bronco and the other from the Bronco.

In another development, Mary Anne Gerchas, a Los Angeles jeweler and prospective defense witness, was arrested on charges of grand theft, fraudulent use of a credit card and defrauding a Marriott hotel in Century City.

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