Sightseers continue to flock to Simpson sites

June 09, 1995|By Los Angeles Daily News

LOS ANGELES -- Longtime Brentwood resident Rod Hooper gazes scornfully down the block at the passing parade of tourists making their way slowly past the Bundy Drive condo where Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were slashed to death a year ago.

"A couple of weeks ago, this couple ducks under the yellow police tape and lays down where the bodies were found," Mr. Hooper said. "This used to be one of the quietest neighborhoods in the city. I don't know how long this will keep up."

Miles away at Ascension Cemetery in El Toro, Max Cantu and his wife wander among the graves looking for the Simpson headstone.

"It's pretty plain," Mr. Cantu said of Nicole's resting place. "I would have thought it would be a lot more elaborate."

Since June 12, 1994, the once-quiet neighborhood of Brentwood, the Orange County cemetery and other locations linked to the murders compete with Universal Studios Hollywood and Mann's Chinese theater for the attention of Los Angeles' tourists.

Sightseers press against the yellow police tape to view the murder scene, hike seven blocks to O.J. Simpson's mansion, and munch pasta and steal menus at Mezzaluna, the Italian restaurant where Goldman waited tables and Nicole Simpson ate her last meal.

"I'll admit it. This was the first place I wanted to see when I came out to visit my uncle last week," said snowboard engineer Ian Franklin, 22, of Salem, Ore., at the Bundy Drive location. "That's all people talk about back home is the O.J. trial."

Interest in the sites associated with the crime has ebbed little in the year since the bodies of Ms. Simpson and Mr. Goldman were found outside the Bundy condo.

While the Simpson trial remains one of the biggest conversation pieces in town, some Brentwood locals are clearly sick of it all. During the weekend, angry residents zoomed by the camera-toting throng streaming in front of the Bundy condo and shouted: "Get a life!" and "Go back home!"

Sightseers who stop their cars out front could be fined up to $100 by police officers enforcing a no-parking zone around the location.

The police assign special details when unusually large crowds are expected, such as during the Memorial Day weekend, when an estimated 4,000 people visited Brentwood, population 38,000.

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