Judge orders Simpson to submit video Tape made after search of his home by police

September 20, 1996|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- O. J. Simpson must turn over a video shot inside his home after a police search -- a video that his legal foes believe may shed light on what became of a stiletto knife Simpson purchased a few weeks before the slashing deaths of his former wife and her friend.

Superior Court Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki ordered the defense yesterday to hand over the video, which was taken to document the condition of Simpson's estate after police searched it June 28, 1994, more than a week after Simpson was arrested on murder charges. The video was taken by the son of Simpson's secretary.

The 15-inch knife with a retractable blade that Simpson purchased at a cutlery shop in downtown Los Angeles briefly tantalized prosecutors in the criminal trial. They thought it might be the weapon, and asked a coroner to compare that type of blade with the slicing, stabbing wounds that killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald L. Goldman on June 12, 1994. The fact that no one could locate the knife only added to the intrigue.

But the defense produced the knife -- in an envelope that became known as the "mystery envelope" in the preliminary hearing. Forensic tests revealed that the knife was in pristine condition, with no scratches or bloodstains to suggest that it had been used in a vicious double homicide.

Prosecutors in the criminal trial never introduced it as evidence.

Defense lawyer Gerald Uelmen wrote in his book, "Lessons From the Trial," that he found the knife in Simpson's bedroom June 29, 1994 -- the day after police conducted a thorough search of Simpson's home.

Lead plaintiffs' attorney Daniel M. Petrocelli, however, revived the issue for the civil trial with his request for the video.

Also yesterday, jury selection continued, with the judge refusing to excuse many who cited medical ailments or family duties.

Pub Date: 9/20/96

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