Limousine driver testifies he never saw Bronco THE O. J. SIMPSON TRIAL

March 29, 1995|By New York Times News Service

LOS ANGELES -- The limousine driver who picked up O. J. Simpson on the evening of June 12 testified yesterday that in three drives up and down Mr. Simpson's block of North Rockingham Avenue between 10:22 p.m. and 10:49 p.m., he never saw Mr. Simpson's white Ford Bronco parked on the street.

In a crucial assault on Mr. Simpson's alibi, the driver, Allan Park, told Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark that he initially located Mr. Simpson's house by following the house numbers painted on the curb, making him particularly attentive to what was parked there. But neither when he first arrived nor during two subsequent drive-bys did he see Mr. Simpson's vehicle.

Prosecutors have charged that sometime around 10:15 p.m., Mr. Simpson murdered former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald L. Goldman, then hopped into his Bronco and returned to his home two miles away. Mr. Simpson insists that he was at home at the time of the killings and that the Bronco never moved. He has produced one witness -- the maid next door, Rosa Lopez -- to corroborate his account.

But Mrs. Lopez's recollections were so hazy and haphazard that defense lawyers may never show her videotaped testimony to the jury. By contrast, the jury got to hear Mr. Park, a calm and clean-cut man who stressed that precise timing is a limousine driver's stock in trade, who consulted his watch and the dashboard clock often, and whose recollections are buttressed by records of phone calls he made to his boss when Mr. Simpson, who had asked for a limousine at 10:45 p.m., appeared not to be home.

Mr. Park went on to testify that at 10:56 p.m., after buzzing several times and getting no response, he saw a black man, approximately 6 feet tall, weighing 200 pounds and wearing dark clothing, walking briskly toward, then entering the largely unlighted house.

Some lights quickly went on, Mr. Park continued, and when he buzzed again 30 seconds later, he said, there was finally a voice at the other end. It was Mr. Simpson's, a voice he recognized from football broadcasts. "He told me that he overslept, that he just got out of the shower, and he'd be down in a minute," Mr. Park told Ms. Clark.

The shadow figure

Mr. Park did not testify that he saw the Bronco when he pulled out of Mr. Simpson's driveway, but did say that when he looked to the right, he recalled that something had blocked his view.

On cross-examination, Mr. Simpson's chief trial lawyer, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., noted that he had not said something similar either to the grand jury or at a preliminary hearing.

The witness also told Mr. Cochran that he did not hear or see any cars stop in front of Mr. Simpson's house that night; that he was more concerned about serving Mr. Simpson well than with who was parked where; and that he did not notice any cuts on Mr. Simpson's left finger that night.

Mr. Cochran also got Mr. Park to imply that far from displaying the agitation of a killer, Mr. Simpson took care to tip the driver generously at the airport and gave a fan an autograph.

"This was a great witness," Mr. Cochran said after court.

Corroborating the testimony of Mr. Simpson's houseguest, Brian Kato" Kaelin, Mr. Park said that at one point he saw Mr. Simpson walk down the driveway and, spurning Mr. Kaelin's offer of help, pick up another, smaller black bag himself.

"He said: 'No, no. That's OK. I'll get it. I'll get it,' " Mr. Park recalled.

Prosecutors have suggested that the bag -- which they say has never been retrieved -- may have contained the murder weapon and the blood-soaked clothes Mr. Simpson had worn during the killings.

"Did you ever see that small dark bag after the defendant picked it up off the driveway at Rockingham again?" Ms. Clark then asked.

"Not that I remember," he recalled.

Kaelin concludes

Mr. Park was the day's third witness. Preceding him were Mr. Kaelin, who concluded his testimony after spending parts of five days on the stand, and Rachel Ferrara, Mr. Kaelin's friend and former girlfriend.

Mr. Kaelin, once a struggling actor whose bit parts fell onto the cutting-room floor, was asked who had approached him for his story since last June. "Everyone," he replied. Mr. Kaelin said that since last June, he had made $60,000, much of that from the syndicated television program "A Current Affair," and had turned down offers for nearly a million dollars more. But he said he had no plans to write a book.

"As of today, no way," he said emphatically.

HIGHLIGHTS

* Limousine driver Allan Park said he drove by the Rockingham Avenue gate of O. J. Simpson's estate at 10:22 p.m. and 10:39 p.m. on June 12, 1994, and did not see a white Ford Bronco parked on the street. Mr. Park said he simultaneously saw two people at Simpson's estate about 10:55 p.m. A shadowy figure, standing 6 feet tall, weighing 200 pounds and appearing to be black, entered the front door. At the same time, a white man, later determined to be Brian "Kato" Kaelin, walked down a path with a flashlight.

* When a man Mr. Park identified as Mr. Simpson answered the gate intercom that evening, he told Mr. Park he'd overslept and had just gotten out of the shower. This contradicts an alibi offered by defense attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. in his opening statement that Simpson was chipping golf balls around the time prosecutors say the murders occurred.

* Mr. Kaelin denied Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark's suggestion that he had a book deal in the works.

* A woman who was at the Riviera Country Club will testify that Mr. Simpson was angry and yelling during a telephone call at 2:18 p.m. June 12, according to court transcripts. Phone records show only one call was made on Simpson's cellular phone to his former wife's home that day.

What's next: Mr. Park returns for more cross-examination today.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.