Chapter 32: A MOUNTAIN OF EVIDENCE
Evidence in the O.J. Simpson case not only works for or against the accused, it works for or against his chief accuser, Mark Fuhrman. No one else had all the required engines of deception at his disposal, especially the image-making power of suggestion at the very start of the investigation to pull a long train of believers behind it. All of his theories had gaping errors in fact or logic that actually cleared Simpson when they were seen for what they were. When Lange and Vannatter saw them, they ignored them, probably because of what they said about the accuser.
One huge flaw in logic had to do with the time O.J. would have needed to drive in the opposite direction of his home to pick up the sticksomehowaccidentally, and deposit itsomehowaccidentallyagainst all the laws of physics, on his lawn. Lange and Vannatters timeline for getting O.J. back and forth between the two scenes was already stretching the limit of the possible, and pushing the time of Katos wall-shaking incident five to ten minutes later than it could have happened if the Bundy killer had caused it.
On the first day of the investigation, they had bent the laws of the United States into grotesque shapes to conform to Fuhrmans theories of O.J.s guilt. But as the prosecution prepared its case against O.J., how far could they bend the laws of nature to accommodate Allan Parks early arrival and Marcia Clarks gospel interpretation of his imperfect memory?
They were obliged to agree with Fuhrmans characterization of the Bronco being parked crooked to justify their subsequent actions. But as to his sworn testimony that "The rear end was jutting out several inches, if not maybe a foot farther than the front..." that was too much. The slight angle at which the Bronco was parked was, in fact, strong evidence in O.J.s favorevidence that the last time he sat behind the wheel, he drove around the sharp corner of his driveway. Again, evidence for O.J. was evidence against Fuhrman. To nail O.J., the obvious reason for the slight angle had to be erased with a gross exaggeration.
The photo used in court to illustrate the "abnormal" parking angle shows the rear of the Bronco out several inches from the curb. What it doesnt show is the front and rear tires in relation to each other. If the front tire had been against the curb the angle would have been greater than normal. But the photo that shows the stick also shows the front tire out nearly as far as the rear, as one would expect if the Bronco had made the sharp turn O.J. said he made from his driveway to the street. In any case, the only abnormal angle involved was the LAPD camera angle set up by Marcia Clark, or Mark Fuhrman, or a collaboration of both, to give the normal an abnormal appearance.
If any of the police photos had shown the acute angle formed by the intersection of the driveway and the street, even that small deviation from perfect alignment would have required no extraordinary explanation. Whereas it does not fit Fuhrmans story of a vehicle parked in a panic, it does fit O.J.s story of when, why and how he parked it. Alas, the driveway was cropped out of the relevant photos, and youve seen the diagrams in which the scale of the Bronco relative to the driveway makes that simple turn look impossible. If you can make the mental adjustment to allow for the error in scale, the obtuse angle in the drawings makes parking look too easy to expect any deviation. Thats one hell of a trick for anyone to pull off by accidentespecially an artist and a homicide cop who pays close attention to detail.
"Focusing on detail," says Fuhrman, "is what being a detective is all about. All evidence is important, and you shouldnt judge it until youve collected and analyzed it. At the very least, you may then know conclusively that the evidence will not help you. You may walk down a few dead ends, but at least you know where those roads go."
And what does he do with that excellent piece of advice? He ignores the driveway and says, "The Bronco was parked haphazardly, at an odd angle....I walked over to check out the Bronco and noticed a piece of splintered wood lying on the parkway next to the right front corner of the car. The wood appeared to be a piece of white picket fence, approximately one foot long. Closer inspection with my flashlight showed a very weathered exterior paint that looked very much like old, oil-based lead paint. The wood was freshly splintered; the interior wood was naturally colored and not yet oxidized. There was a small, rusty nail hole where the wood had broken. I figured the rust meant it had been held in place by a non-galvanized nail. That indicated an old fence. The piece of wood alone might not have appeared suspicious, but the parkway was as well groomed as a golf course, with not a picket fence in sight...."
Yeah, you read it right, all of that brilliant, detailed analysis is predicated on an instant conclusion that the Bronco was parked haphazardly, at an odd angle. This is the reality-altering power of suggestion at work. The 2-degree angle at which it was actually parked was no reason to take a second look at it under any circumstances. The painted stick, which clearly did not belong where it was sighted, was a reason. It was the only legitimate reason.
Let me put that another way...The odd parking angle which Vannatter prudently left out of his request for a search warrant, did not exist. Fuhrman says in his book that he noticed it before he noticed the stick. Lange says in his book that he noticed it, too. However, without the stick, which truly was odd, Fuhrman would have had no reasonable excuse to give the other detectives for his interest in the Bronco. Without the stick, the "funny angle" becomes the only justification they had for their subsequent actions. Without the stick, the angle was the only excuse they could all give for continuing to follow the lead of the junior detective who had been officially off the case for hours.
If the stick meant that much, why did Lange and Vannatter dismiss it? Because they never checked out Fuhrmans theory of where it came from. By the time they got around to thinking about it, they knew that O.J. would not have had enough time to go out of his way. Since they couldnt trace the origin of the stick to anyone but Mark Fuhrman and Brad Roberts, they decided that it had no meaning.
Lange and Vannatter discovered early on that the stick and thumps together created an anachronism as absurd as a video tape of George Washington crossing the Delaware on the Santa Maria. O.J. could not have lost the stick and the glove within the same time frame because the timelines for each piece of evidence run in opposite directions. In the short time line argued by the plaintiffs, which cannot include the stick, O.J.s travel time (or should I say time travel?) from Bundy to Rockingham is impossibly short. The long one argued by Fuhrman, which has to include the stick, is impossibly long.
When Marcia Clark put the start of the killing at 10:15, she was drawing to an inside straight. A fixed window of opportunity exists between Heidstras sighting of the Jeep-like vehicle and Katos thumps for O.J. to have driven from Bundy to Rockingham. A private investigator for the plaintiffs found that the shortest travel time was 4 minutes. Thats what you get with more concern for speed than anonymity. But, since Heidstra and Katos estimate of the critical time is the same, one or both of them must be wrong by a combined total of 4 minutes or more in one compatible time frame for O.J. to have made that trip. That minimum duration is anchored on the Bundy end at 10:45 or later, by the independent testimony of Michael Baden and Robert Heidstra, which is why the plaintiffs accepted it. On the Rockingham end, we dont have that much to play with, either.
Using phone company records as our official clock, we are already assuming that Kato is off in his overall estimate of time by at least 5 minutes. His best guess was that he heard the thumps at 10:40, while the killing was in progress. Were guessing that the actual time was 10:45 simply to make it possible for O.J. to be the killerif we can squeeze enough time out of the zero thats left for a 4-minute error in Fuhrmans favor. In this time line were figuring that Kato talked to his girlfriend for a maximum of 6 minutes after the thumps (her estimate was 7 minutes) and it took a maximum of 3 minutes for him to get his flashlight and walk to the front of the house.
Remember, now, that just gets us to zero.
If O.J.s 4-minute window of opportunity was open on Katos end, were saying that the 14 minutes between the time he thought he heard the thumps and when we know he saw the limo was really 5 minutes. To get a difference of 4 minutes or more in the same direction, fast or slow, Heidstra or Kato would have to be off by at least 5 minutes while the other was off 4 minutes less. However, by no stretch of logic can either man be off by that much separately or in combination. This is how it breaks down, rounding additional seconds to the nearest minute:
KATO HEARS THUMPS AT 10:45;
Rounding seconds to the nearest half or quarter minute gets you nothing, unless you shade Heidstras seconds in an earlier direction and Katos in a later one. However, O.J.s window of opportunity is anchored at both ends by evidence that cant be shifted in the necessary direction. It does a realistic OJG scenario no good for Kato or Heidstra to have been off by any amount unless the combined margin of error gives O.J. 4 minutes or more of travel time. Any combination you try, to add more time to the middle, gets you in trouble with other timeline evidence at the beginning or end. When you factor in the stick, you get an impossible time/space condition at both ends, an anachronism.
The Bronco heading south on Bundy where the fencing matched the stick, lengthens the travel time to more than 5 minutes. The glove shortens it to light speed with zero time to spare for getting from the Bronco to Katos wall. You cant go forward and backward at the same time. Either you discount the timeline with O.J. and the stick, which gives Fuhrman his only legitimate reason to check out the Bronco and go over the wall, or you discount the timeline with O.J. and the thumps, which gives Fuhrman his only legitimate reason to check the path behind Katos bungalow. Ergo, the glove or the stick or both had to be planted.
If you can persuade the relevant parties that a 2-degree angle looks more like 5 or 6, you no longer need the stick to justify the initial search. But the damn thing was there. Who had motive, means and opportunity to put it there? We have established that Mark Fuhrman had a damn good reason to plant the stick as well as to make the thumps, but the man who inflicted the mortal wounds, whoever he was, could not have done both.
If Fuhrman was the killer, when could this other person have made the thumps? How might the killer have gotten a clear idea of when to obtain the stick, whether he or one of his two observers should plant it, when to expect Goldman, and whether or not Sydney, Justin and the kid who was supposed to spend the night, would pose a problem? How might all of that have been coordinated in one simple plan of action?
Answer: With a fourth conspirator who used a cell phone to contact Nicole.
Faye Resnick proposed a 3-way with Ron, Nicole and herself for that night. Did she propose the time and place as well? Would she have joined them if she hadnt gone to rehab, or was the whole arrangement a setup? Is it more or less reasonable to think that Fayes plans for that night might have come up in her final conversation with Nicole before things turned ugly?
If Fuhrman was Nicoles "private cop," how likely is it that she would have kept that secret from Cora Fischman and Faye Resnick, with whom she shared her most intimate secrets? Cora didnt know about Fuhrman, though Nicole told her and Faye about her other lovers. Faye shared the ones they both liked. That raises the question of whether Faye, who met Nicole in 1990, could have been Fuhrmans source of information about Nicoles breast implants (1992). For him to have that knowledge, he could have been Fayes private cop instead of Nicolesor Faye could have been his private junkie.
In Cora Fischmans deposition for the civil trial, she told Bob Baker, "Im afraid that Faye can be bought." She knew that Fayes million-dollar book deal in which she quoted Nicole as saying O.J. was going to kill her, had more to do with money than truth. Cora, too, had heard Nicole say on many occasions that O.J. was going to kill her. She also heard Nicole say that Faye Resnick was going to kill her. In light of the fact that Nicole was, indeed, killed and O.J., rather than Faye was charged with the crime, the important thing is how she said it. Was it a prediction of her own violent death at the hands of her ex-husband or her best friend, or was it a figure of speech most of us have used at one time or another to mean that someone is going to be extremely angry with us?
Cora said, "...she used kill as a figure of speech. Thats why, you know, she kinda used that asyou know, its like an expression... like if she did something wrong or she went out, she says, "Oh, God, O.J.s gonna kill me if he finds out."
With Faye, it was a matter of lifestyleof selfish, deceitful, manipulative and dangerous behavior that drove her ex-husband, Paul, and ex-boyfriend, Christian, away...
Q: WHY DID THEY CALL HER "FAYE THE FAKE"?
A: BECAUSE SHESAS [NAME DELETED] SAID, THAT SHE'S A FAKE. EVEN NICOLE SAID THAT, TOO. YOU KNOW, "I DONT TRUST HER, BUT SHES MY FRIEND," YOU KNOW.
Q: NICOLE SAID SHE DIDN'T TRUST FAYE?
A: YEAH, SHE DIDNT TRUST FAYE. SHE SAID, "AND I DONT TRUST [NAME DELETED]. I DONT KNOW WHAT THEY WILL DO," BUT AT SOME POINT NICOLE SAID TO ME, YOU KNOW, "WE WERE BETTER OFF JUST THE TWO OF US."
The two of us? Think who that excludes...which leads us to the fifth conspirator. Consider the context of that conversation along with Judge Fujisakis rulings to disallow all reference to Mark Fuhrman, and to any possible frame-up involving him. Whose names could Fujisaki have deleted to protect them from references to Nicoles distrust?
I can think of two; Denise Brown and Ron Shipp.
Both were substance abusersalcohol for sure, possibly cocaine as well. In the same month that Nicole moved to Bundy, and crack-head/stalker, William Wasz, kept a secret log of her activities, Denise got arrested for drunk driving. We can assume that the judgment of her two passengers who allowed her to drive was also chemically impaired. In a deposition for the Browns civil action against O.J., his lawyer, Philip Baker, asked Denise if her passengers had been Faye Resnick and Ron Shipp.
The transcripts dont say why Baker picked those two names. There was no getting around the fact that Denise knew Ron Shipp as will as Mark Fuhrman did. But the fact that Bakers question came after she said that she didnt know Faye Resnick, is probably a good clue as to why her lawyer told her not to answer. Otherwise, what would have been the harm in saying, no? By the same token, what would have been the harm in saying that she did know Faye when she testified to spending the night in Nicoles Bundy condo at least five times when Faye was living there?
They had to know each other. Denise had to know that Faye and her sister where having an on-going lesbian relationship. What was the point in saying that she didnt know, or that she had no feelings about it when she found out? Could Denise have had her own sexual relationship with Faye Resnick-and Ron Shipp? With Faye being a woman who liked three-way sex with another woman and a man, and Shipp being a married man, that would be a good reason to lie. It would have been an innocent reason that anyone could understand. But with an admission by Denise of knowing Faye in any interactive capacity, comes the possibility that, she, Resnick, and Shipp could have conspired to paint a false picture of O.J. as a wife-beater. With Shipps connection to Fuhrman and Fuhrmans connection to Roberts, it also completes the circuit of conspirators necessary to frame O.J. for murder.
Denise was a demonstrably malicious liar. So was Faye. That was reason enough for Nicole not to trust either of them. But there must have been specific incidents that were extremely upsetting to make her think of putting people she cared about out of her life. What could they have been? Could she have caught one or both of them lying to her about O.J., posing as her for unknown reasons, or forging her signature? Did she find out that Resnick had another murdered girlfriend in her past? Could it have involved their connection to Brett Cantor?
Whatever it was in Resnicks case, it must have involved O.J., and why she suspected Resnick of stealing the tethered key to her front gate even though she had free access to it. Why suspect a person with free access to a hidden key of stealing it?
Ask yourself, why did Nicole suspect O.J. first, without thinking, then discount him with an instant of reflection (he had is own key) and decide that it must have been Faye? What did she know that we dont? What could account for her train of thought? Did she think that Resnick was trying to set O.J. up to look like he broke into her condo? Why would she think that if "Faye-the-faker" hadnt given her good reason to?
We know that Faye and Denise made a fortune after the murders by painting a false picture of O.J. as a wife-beater. What if Fayes actions immediately preceding the murders suggested that she was no friend of Nicole and proved she was a liar? What then?
We dont have to guess about that. We know from Nicoles end of the telephone conversation overheard by Sydney, that Faye was no friend. We know by what she said about it in her book that she is a liar. We know that Nicoles stolen key and garage door opener were probably used by the killer and his partner. We know that Resnicks plan for a 3-way with Ron and Nicole would have been ideal to set them up for murder and to set O.J. up as the murderer. We know that she was an ideal source of intelligence to finalize the murder plan, and her phone call came at the ideal time.
Lets go all the way back to the end of Sydneys dance recital at 6:45 and see how many pieces of the puzzle we can put together to form a complete picture...
Someone has to be there to see if O.J. is wearing the style of shoes with the rubber soles that he has historically worn to affairs like this. It has to be someone close enough to O.J. to speak with authority about his footwear and the brand name of the murderers shoes. It has to be someone who knows the unimaginably important fact that O.J. does not know the brand name of his dress shoes, someone who can give them a name that he cant.
As Fuhrmans jump-off time nears, he needs to know that the rare, 2-year-old Italian shoes he plans to wear are close enough to O.J.s for his contact to swear they were the very ones O.J. had on. Both are dressy-casual high tops with rubber soles that some would describe as loafers and others as boots. The peculiar way O.J. walks will draw attention to his feet. Someone is bound to confirm the general description. The conspirators have every reason to believe that minor discrepancies will be decided in favor of Denises positive eyewitness identification.
Dr. Ronald Fischman is the only one who knows that the photo he took of O.J. and Sydney at his wife Coras behest includes O.J.s shoes. When it is produced in court to rebut Denise Browns word picture of O.J. in a dark, brooding mood, she will have to admit that she was elsewhere when the photo was taken. Otherwise, the bloody shoeprints at Bundy might have been Reeboks. But thats in the future. As far as she knows at 6:45 P.M. on June 12, 1994, she can testify that the rare, expensive Italian shoes O.J. had on were Bruno Magli Lorenzos. She relays the news to Fuhrman in La Quinta, 150 miles away.
So, at 6:45 P.M., Fuhrmans countdown to murder begins with a two hour drive to Redondo Beach to outfit himself for the mission ahead, to call his associates to their assigned surveillance posts, and to take his own. As a delegate to the seminar, he has friends who will swear to any time he says. He can keep them quite about the true time of his departure by telling them that he is going to visit a girlfiend. Naturally, he doesnt want his wife to know.
Fuhrmans wardrobe includes a near match of everything O.J. might have worn to the recitalincluding suits he bought from O.J.s Beverly Hills clothier, Carrol & Company, and shoes from Bloomingdales in New York City. Hell wear the suits to O.J.s trial. Hell wear the Bruno Maglis to his ex-wifes execution.
Meanwhile, Roberts follows Nicole, and Shipp keeps an eye and ear on O.J. Fuhrman is watching the limo with the substitute driver in Torrance, about three miles from his home in Redondo Beach. They communicate and coordinate their ever-changing plan by cell phone. Around 8:00 P.M., Shipp monitors a phone call to O.J. from his housekeeper, Gigi Guarin, which lets the conspirators know that she will be out of town that night. They already know that Simpsons next door neighbors are in Europe and their maid, Rosa Lopez, is the only one home. They have another "go" signal.
None of them has ever been inside the Salingers main house. It has no side door entrance for the maid along the north wall, adjacent to the south path of Simpsons property. They assume, therefore, that her room is on the south side of the Salingers home, never thinking for an instant that it might be on the northwest corner, where it actually is. Shipp does not expect that she will see or hear him when she is inside. His only concern with the maid is not being seen by her when she takes the dog out to relieve itself. But she performs that 1 or 2 minute chore at regular intervals, so he can wait at a safe distance for them to finish, watching with binoculars, then move in when she goes back in the house.
We know where the unidentified car is parked at 11:10 when the limo departs for LAX. We dont know when it got there or when it left because no one thought it mattered, including Rosa Lopez. Indeed, it may not matter since the observer could see what he has to from across the street or down the block with a good pair of binoculars. But, the sooner he can pull his borrowed or stolen car up to the drive behind the Bronco, the better. Hes got the key, now he has to wait, look, listen, and report to Fuhrman .
Faye Resnicks 9:20 to 9:35 call to Nicole comes when O.J. is driving to and from McDonalds with Kato in the Bentley. The conspirators now know that the Bronco is unlikely to be moved and they can use it to implicate Simpson if they can be reasonably sure of when Marcus Allan and Ron Goldman are coming. Now, when its essential to get as many of the details right as possible, they know that Marcus will be there around 10:00, that the kids are already in bed, and Nicole is expecting Ron at 10:30. They can now, at 9:35, make final preparations for the double kill.
Faye Resnick, Denise Brown and Cora Fischman are the only people who can provide eavesdropping killers with the critical information at this critical time. The fact that one of them does make the call gives new meaning to the book in her future that will make O.J. look like a monster and make her rich. It also gives a face to someone with a motive to call a womans abuse shelter claiming to be Nicole five days before the murder. Yes, five daysthe day before Faye Resnick checked into Exodus House. Whoever that was, she knew enough about Nicole and O.J. and the murder-to-come to make claims that mesh with the claims someone made in "Nicoles" diary and Resnick will make in her book. The trouble is, they also mesh with Fuhrmans characterization of O.J. and Nicole that he wrote about in his 1989 letter to the Brentwood City Attorney that resulted in O.J.s arrest for spouse abuse.
One should keep in mind that the diary purported to be Nicoles will be authenticated only by those who stand to make millions in a civil action against O.J. by doing so.
Ron Goldman can be expected to arrive at Bundy in the red Toyota he borrowed from his friend, Andrea Scott, at Mezzalunas. He tells her that he needs it to meet with fellow Mezzaluna waiter Stewart Tanner at a Mexican bar eight miles southwest of Rons apartment on Gorham and Barrington. He lied. In the future, Robert Shapiro will ask Tanner if the time was set for 11:30, to which he will reply, "There was no set time."
Around the 10:30 time probably set for Rons meeting with Nicole, a woman claiming to be from Channel 4 will call Sgt. Stephen R. Merrin, the patrol watch commander for the Wilshire community police station, to ask about the murders that hadnt happened yet. The timing of the call will falsely imply that the killings were over before Park showed up on Rockinghamin time to see the Bronco at 10:23. That, in turn, will set up a false start time close to 10:00, creating a false 15 minutes or more for O.J. to have committed the murders and done all that the evidence "found" by Fuhrman and Roberts will say he did.
The call about the future murders will correspond to the most likely time of Goldmans arrival at Bundy. The Wilshire community police station is not in Brentwood. Nevertheless, Sgt. Merrin will check to see if there were any murders reported on the west side before he leaves for home at 10:45. There wont be any.
For O.J. to look like the killer, his means of transportation to and from Bundy will have to be positively identified. The killer knows that O.J.s regular driver, Dale St. John, always backs into the Ashford gate where the Bronco was normally parked. That is, he always saw it, whether it was parked on Rockingham or Ashford. By leaving it on Rockingham, O.J. has apparently solved the killers problem of whether or not the new driver will see it if he goes in the Rockingham gate instead of the Ashford gate. How can he not see it?
Allan Park lives in Torrance California directly across the street from Dale St. John. When Park leaves to pick up O.J. at 9:45, Fuhrman, who has been staking out the limo, is a discrete distance behind him. Everything depends on when the kid actually gets to Rockingham and sees the Bronco. By listening in on his cell phone conversation with St. John, Fuhrman knows that the young driver is as likely as not to get lost.
Fuhrman has been ready for an hour. Hes got towels, canteens, wash cloths, a plastic drop cloth and floor mat, gym bags, a first aid kit, a black wool ski mask, sepia makeup, and a change of clothes. Hes got the knives, the gloves and the guts. Hes on the road in his Scout. His LAPD sweatsuit is as close as he can get to a general description of what O.J. and Marcus Allen are both wearing. He is betting his life that his own Bruno Magli shoes will be close enough to O.J.s expensive Italian shoes for O.J.s shoes to be mistaken for his. In short, he is literally dressed to kill.
Hes going to do it the way they do it in the movies: act the scene you want for a given effect in any sequence thats convenient, then edit it in a sequence that will tell the story you want to tell. It works like magic. He knows more than most about the art of illusion and the importance of guarding the secrets of how the best illusions are created. Tonight, the world will be his stage. He will be the stunt double for O.J. Simpson. Nobody is ever going to see a stunt double. Nobody is ever going to figure out the trick with the shoes....
Rons brief talk with Nicole has confirmed when he will be at Nicoles. Fuhrman knows that he left work in Andrea Scotts red Toyota at 9:50 and drove east to his apartment a short block and a half away. Meanwhile, Marcus Allen arrived at Bundy on schedule and parked his white Bronco out front. Allen will never admit that he was there and Brad saw witnesses he can track down to testify that they saw the white Bronco, and maybe even a large black man in dark clothes, at 875 South Bundy around 10:00.
With one white Bronco on Bundy at 10:00 and another at Rockingham when the limo comes at 10:20 or so, cops, prosecutors and reporters will call any light-colored SUV seen in between a white Bronco. Theyll assume that anyone who says otherwise is wrong. Thats how eyewitness testimony is, full of inconsistent details. Thats how untrained observers see things and remember them. If O.J. and Ron stay out of sight for any five or ten minute stretch before the limo comes, the start time for the murders will be set.
Nobody ever agrees on time. When people say five or ten minutes they could mean fifteen or twenty. All Fuhrman has to do when he gets there is establish the apparent end time. By 10:15, hell be where he has to be to do that.
Fuhrman now has all of the cards he needs to bet his million-dollar hand. He enters the northbound San Diego Freeway at 9:57, giving him 18 minutes to drive 16 miles, most of it on the freeway.
Marcus and Nicole are about to part, with the front gate open to observers, one of whom will recall seeing her with a man around 10:00.
Nicole has no fear of her dog Kato escaping, as he does every chance he gets, because she thinks hes locked behind the middle gate in back. She cannot know that Roberts has used her stolen key to open both gates and let the dog out. After the brief visit, she closes the gate and reenters her house for the last time, ever.
A steady stream of messages are going back and forth on Fuhrmans cell phone/police scanner network. Brad has followed Nicole home and is now staking out Rons place less than a half mile east of hers. While the red Toyota is outside, he knows that Goldman is inside. His apartment has been bugged and no one is likely to see him. So far so good.
Good news at Rockingham, too. The Salingers maid has missed seeing O.J. by no more than a minute. As long as he stays inside the walls of his property, thats not likely to change. Even if she does say she saw him, who is going to believe a dumb spic maid with all the white witnesses and scientific evidence that are gonna say she couldnt have?
This is where real life and the movies part company. There is no Lt. Columbo in the real LAPD who notices one tiny bit of evidence that doesnt belong with the rest of it and reasons it through to a picture that fits all of the evidence. The real experts dont have that kind of time, and dont expect everything to make sense. First, they look at the big picture painted in broad strokes by the obvious. Then come the details that enhance the pictureand only the details that enhance the big picture. If it doesnt fit, it doesnt count. Thats how real homicides are addressed by the LAPD.
The stick is a prop designed to work like the first crumb in a trail of bread crumbs leading to the murder weapon. It will remind Fuhrman of something he passes on his way to work. What could it be? A place near the murder scene perhaps? Maybe just a hunch. The stick by the Bronco with its sinister contents and Simpsons name on a package, is going to add up to probable cause to jump the wall and find the gloves. Finding the gloves will lead to the search for the knife that he or Brad will "find" in the alley where the stick comes from. It cant get any simpler than that. With all the knives O.J. has in his house, he or Brad will surely find one that will match the wounds in the bodiesa Swiss Army knife or the German Stiletto for sure.
At 10:05, disaster strikes. O.J. has apparently cut his left hand. No way to match the cut to the left-hand glove. No believable way for him not to leave some of his own blood at Bundy and possibly a fingerprint. What to do? Abort? No! Improvise? Yes! How?
A half-formed idea of how to turn this major setback into an advantage rides with him on his drive to wealth and fame until the fires of his feverish mind have helped to mold it into a plan. Far more complicated, but doable; maybe better than plan A. He doesnt need both gloves to get him and Brad in the house. The left one can stay behind with the cap. Brad was going to plant the cap anyway with the niggers hair in it. Yeah, he thinks, with an ironic smile, wouldnt it be just like a nigger to lose the cap and the glove?
With Park headed in the right direction, Fuhrman turns his Scout into the alley southeast of Nicoles condo and tells Shipp to look out for the limo.
There is little chance that anyone will get a good look at the Scout with its lights off. The area he drives through to get there is unpopulated. On the way, he dons his latex gloves and darkens his exposed skin.
Driving into the alley at 10:15, he turns on his headlights, revs up his engine and rams his Scout into a predesignated, broken-down fence again and again. The object is not only to retrieve a freshly splintered piece of the fence, but to have the Scout identified in the dim light as the type of vehicle driven that night by O.J. Simpson after the killings. For the brief time he is outside, he can only be described as a tall, well-built man in dark clothes. He doesnt expect anyone to say the clothes were sweats. When he leaves a minute later, witnesses will see the Jeep-like vehicle speeding west on Dorothy to Bundy, north on Bundy past Nicoles condo to Gorham and west on Gorham. This is the way O.J. would have driven to get to his house after he drove to the alley to get rid of the knife.
So far so good.
Fuhrman again switches off his lights and looks in every direction to make sure he cant be seen turning into the alley paralleling Bundy. He knows where Nicoles garage door opener is kept, and uses it to drive in and wait for Brads call. But first he hears from Ron Shipp about the limo drivers arrival at 10:23. Did he see the Bronco? He must have, drove past it and looked right at it. 10:00 oclock to 10:23 opens a window of opportunity wide enough to include all of the evidence against O.J. Witnesses will say the killers white Bronco was in the Bundy area at 10:15 heading toward Rockingham. If not, the detectives and the prosecutors will tell them that they saw a white Bronco.
Now, what is Goldman going to do? That shouldnt be hard to figure. Nicoles bath, illuminated by the romantic flicker of candlelight, cannot be a surprise to him. She will want the temperature of the scented water to be perfect when they slip into it together. If he times it so hell be in her garage at 10:30, hes a dead man.
Thats what he does.
Ron has arrived in the ally behind the garage. Its not his fault that the garage door opener is missing. He cant leave a borrowed car parked in the alley, especially since he has no drivers license, so he drives on to Dorothy, turns right, and backs up to park beside the curb facing west. To go from there to the Mexican restaurant where he told Andrea Scott he was going to meet Stewart Tanner, he would have to make a 180 degree turn on Dorothy and then turn right onto Bundy. As it is, he can drive back down the alley and straight homeif he lives that long...Hes not going to.
While Goldman is walking half a block north on Bundy to Nicoles gate, Fuhrman is on the phone to Channel 4 letting a reporter know that two people on the west side have already been killed.
Goldman reaches the front gate 4 minutes late and buzzes. He explains what happened over the speaker. Nicole thinks back to her conversation with Faye, now certain that she is the one who stole the keys and the garage door opener just to harass her. As she comes out to let Ron in, Fuhrman watches from his hiding place behind the tree with a German Stiletto in one hand and a Swiss Army knife in the other, blade up by his shoulders. He sees them embrace, waiting like a coiled viper to strike.
When Nicole starts to mount the stairs, with Ron behind her, the killing game begins.
A high fence on their left where the stairs meet the edge of the sidewalk dictates Fuhrmans next move. Thinking three steps ahead, he makes a side-step leap in back of Ron to take out the couple in tandem with his left arm extended and raised at the 11 oclock position. He smashes the butt of the Swiss Army knife against Goldmans head hard enough to daze him and knock him out of the way, to the right of the killing cage. Now he can land a crushing blow to Nicoles head with the butt of the Stiletto before she is aware that Ron has been hit. He then wheels around and slits Rons throat. Ron doesnt know that his left jugular vein has been severed. He is completely disoriented and therefore completely at the mercy of his attacker who stabs at him repeatedly, taunting him to fight if he wants to live...
"Come on, Jew boyfight!" (Slash...) "Make a sound and Ill kill you!" (Slash...) "Make a sound and I kill your nigger-lovin bitch and her nigger kids!" (Slash...) "Fight, you punk-ass Jew! Where are your fuckin balls?" (Stab, stab, stab.... )
The Akita, drawn from across the street by the smell of blood, starts barking frantically. When the barking goes on for over 5 minutes, Roberts, who has not gotten the call he was supposed to get from Fuhrman, drives to the gate on his own. With two plastic bags in hand, one holding the cap, the other empty, he approaches the dog. The Akita steps back, thinking the man has come to help, as the little dog across the street begins to bark. Roberts uses the key to open the gate and slides in quickly, leaving the Akita frightened and confused outside.
Fuhrman, who has lost track of time, is startled and angered by his partners sudden appearanceand the fact that he is stepping in blood. He calls out, "Hey! Hey! Hey!"
They argue as Ron slumps to the ground in a sitting position, mortally wounded. Roberts steps on his leg trying to get past him as Fuhrman darts to the stairs, where Nicoles upper body is resting. Her lower body is on the ground on her right side. Fuhrman begins making non-fatal "rage cuts" and "defensive cuts" on Nicoles unconscious body. Both men are now watching their steps closely. Fuhrman smashes the crystal of Nicoles watch with the heel of the Stiletto. He manually sets the minute hand of her man-sized watch back to 10:03, makes more "rage cuts," turns her over on her left side and positions her left hand so the face of the watch is against the cement. Then, calculating the blood flow to cover the most obvious second set of bloody shoeprints, and the picture it will make in his book, he slits her throat. Total elapsed time from Roberts entry: 1 1/2 minutes.
Roberts plants the cap while Fuhrman folds the knives and puts them in his pockets. Fuhrman then takes off Ron Shipps X-L, Aris Light gloves and gives them to Roberts, who plants the left one near the cap and drops the right one in a plastic bag. Fuhrman directs Roberts to check the envelope to see if it contains the glasses, vital to conveying the idea that Ron, who would have been a surprise to O.J., was a surprise to the killer. Satisfied that they can make the glasses work, Fuhrman tracks a slow, bloody, Silga shoeprint path back to the garage with his toes pointed straight in front the way he normally walks, and gets the stick. He brings it back and passes it to his partner who doesnt have to worry about getting cleaned up or having two light-colored SUVs seen at Rockingham at the same time.
Roberts leaves. As an afterthought, Fuhrman takes the Swiss Army knife out of his pocket, unfolds the saw-blade, and scrapes Goldmans cheek just to see what the so-called "elite" Robbery/Homicide guys do with it. He feels good again; real good. He switches to the knife-blade, stands his unresponsive victim up and delivers the death thrust to his chest.
Fuhrman lowers the body to where it was, in a sitting position against the tree, and surveys the terrain. He plants a clear heal print as close as he can to the cap and glove. He soaks up some of Nicoles blood with a dressing from his first aid kit and makes some practice drops in the same area. Then, holding it in his left hand, he tracks another shoeprint path toward the alley and stops to squeeze blood drips as close as he can to the outside of the left shoeprints with each left step. At one point, while he is trying to make his straight steps toe inward a bit and aim the blood-drops at the same time, he loses his balance. One shoeprint lands at a right angle to the others. He smiles, thinking of what Robbery/ Homicide will make of that, and plants another footprint in the opposite direction for the fun of it before continuing. No one can say that Mark Fuhrman doesnt have a sense of humor.
Nicoles blood on the left of the shoeprints will be identified as O.J.s. Nobody will be able to tell what really happened. The lab results will be the last word. They always are.
When Fuhrman calls Roberts and tells him hes ready to leave, Roberts opens the front gate all the way. The dog looks back and forth from the bodies to the nice man who had let him out as the dog across the street continues to bark. Haltingly, the Akita enters the gate. When Roberts drives away, the dog follows him. By the time Roberts gets to Dorothy, Fuhrman is already at the intersection waiting to turn right onto Bundy. They have planned to meet at Rockingham when Fuhrman can get cleaned up and return in his old Ford pickup. Roberts will plant the stick and come in through the front while Fuhrman will come in through the back, both on the Salingers side of the fence. They will meet between the houses where they believe no one can see or hear them.
Around midnight, they meet, as planned, between Katos air conditioner and Rosa Lopezs roomonly they dont know that it is her room. Did Kato come back this far? Hell, who would have figured hed do it at all? And what about Shipp? Did the nigger really do everything he was supposed to? Is this the right spot to plant the glove? Maybe we should wait to hear what Kato has to say? Cant trust a nigger to do a mans job....
That brings us back the Rockingham observer, Ron Shipp.
What might Shipps assignment have entailed besides watching the Bronco, monitoring O.J.s calls and shaking Katos wall? How about making a dry run along his route by the south path to the wall, stealing the spare key to the Bronco, unlocking the Bronco and removing the interior light bulb so O.J. couldnt turn it on? For O.J. to have been framed, all of those things would have had to happen that evening. The missing key and the footsteps heard in the right places at the right times make it more likely than not that they did.
Rosa Lopez, answering Johnnie Cochrans question about what she heard after O.J. and Kato left for McDonalds at 9:15, said this: "Well, around 9:30 or before, I heard steps and I was in my bedroom and I don't know which way they were going. I don't know if they were on the Salingers side of the property or on Mr. Simpson's."
Could those footsteps have been related to the thumps that would be heard later on, or the stolen spare key to O.J.s Bronco when no one was home and the alarm was off? What are the odds that they werent, and that the Salingers maid would be frightened by innocent footsteps in that area at those fleetingly opportune minutes?
If all those things are related, so is Mark Fuhrman. His discovery of the damp glove that should have been dry, the socks on the rug that should have been in the hamper, the not-so-odd parking angle that led to the illegal search, and the very odd stick that could only have been left by the killers, add up to one thinga murder/frame-up conspiracy.
While the bloody glove could have been found at Bundy by Fuhrman and transported to Rockingham after he was called in on the case, the stick could only have been put there by someone involved in the murders. We know where it came from. We know that Mark Fuhrman was there. We know that a witness described a light-blue sports utility vehicle that was there "within the proper time frame." Fuhrman theorized that O.J.s white Bronco may have only looked blue in the bad light.
Why, you ask, do I trust that story if Fuhrman is such a liar? Because it fits the facts we can trust. Either a light-colored sports utility vehicle was reported in that place to Robbery/Homicide or it wasnt. If it was, there should have been an official police record that Fuhrman would have had to take into account, whether he was lying or telling the truth about his own alibi. If there was no such report, why would he say it was a light-colored SUV like Heidstra described instead of a white Bronco?
It would not have been because Lange and Vannatter would have called him a liar. They were bound to do that anyway. Absent good reason to believe that such a call was on record as he described it in his book, he could only have been drawing attention to his pea-green and white International Scout.
That, however, may not have been easy to do. The last Scout ever made rolled off the assembly line in 1980, and there werent that many to begin with. Few people would have been able to identify it. If someone stuck a big, blue, Ford oval in the middle of the grill, one might think he was seeing a Bronco. The closest most of us would have been able to come with a brief view of it unaltered at night would have been a Jeep, a Blazer or a Bronco, something we were familiar with. Thats all the killer would have needed.
Two pieces of testimony argue in favor of the notion that the killer and one of his lookouts met face-to-face at Rockingham sometime between O.J.s departure for LAX at 11:10 and Arnelles return from the movies at 12:35:
1). Without knowing how far back Kato went to check the thumps, it would have been wise to look over the scene before deciding when and how to plant the glove.
2). The men Rosa Lopez heard talking "in the back yard" between 11:30 and 12:30, fit into the only time slot open for the men who would have had to deal with the evidence to make their final adjustment to the plan.
Question: How could Rosa Lopez have heard two mens voices in the back yard when Kato couldnt? Not enough relevant testimony is on record to say for sure if or how it was possible. Youd have to know whether Katos inside or outside environment was noisier, and exactly where the men were. They may have been closer to her room than Katos but since she wasnt used to hearing voices between the houses, she may have assumed that they were coming from O.J.s back yard where she was used to hearing voices. If we knew whether or not Kato was playing loud music while talking on the phone to Rachel Ferrara, there would be no mystery. But the million-dollar question is why they thought they could speak freely. They may have been closer to Rosa Lopezs room than Katos or speaking louder than they thought. But the fact that Rachel didnt hear the thumps that shook Katos wall suggests that the volume of his audio system might have been cranked up pretty high.
Putting yourself in the killers place at that time, you would know that you are not in the clear and wont be until you can get into the house and find one or both of the knives that could have made the wounds. The glove is your ticket to the whole house.
You dont know or care when the bodies will be found. You do know, by way of your network of police scanners and cell phones, that no officers have been dispatched. Your only concern is when a police officer reports them to the watch commander. Your radio channel open to his frequency will let you know when that happens. Thats when your 30-minute clock starts ticking toward a call from your boss.
With your cell phone, you can claim to be anywhere when that call comes. You live in Redondo Beach, 17 miles from the murder scene via the Pacific Coast Highway, and 22 miles by way of the San Diego Freeway. By either route, you can be home in less than 25 minutes, less time than it takes for a working detective to be summoned after a reported homicide in West LA. Thats if the call comes right away. The closer you get to home without hearing that report, the more time you have to prepare for your role as super-detective. While driving, you can strip and wash in stages with a body cloth and soapy water from a canteen. You have everything laid out the way you need it to change into clean clothes and bag the bloody ones along with the plastic seat cover. Youve done this before. Youve got it down to a science.
Now youre home. Your wife, who wasnt at home before you left, thinks youve been at a super-secret white supremacist meeting. You give her a detailed story of how it went. If she wants to know more about it, she can ask Brad. Speaking of Brad, you tell her, theres something you forgot to give him. You take your 1970 Ford pickup to Rockingham...
When Rossi called Phillips, Fuhrman and Roberts were automatically the first lead detectives on the case. But why would Ron Phillips and Marcia Clark go through so much trouble to hide the fact that Roberts was Fuhrmans partner if all the conspiracy bases were covered? And what are the chances that Mark Fuhrman would pick up the phone when Ron Shipp called O.J.s house at 10:00 a.m. on the 13th? Is it more probable that he said, "Did O.J. kill Nicole?" or "Howd it go? Did you find the knife?"
In Mark Fuhrmans Murder in Brentwood, he suggests that the German Stiletto in the envelope handed to Judge Ito but never brought into evidence, was planted by one of O.J.s attorneys. He said that the place the lawyer claimed to have found it had been searched on June 13 with no results. That, like many of Fuhrmans other anti-O.J. statements, is finely-crafted horse pucky. The Stiletto was found by a detective from Robbery/Homicide and not collected as evidence because it was obviously unused. The Swiss Army knife box that Fuhrman claimed was found on the bathtub was not overlooked. It, too, was found in the master bedroom by another Robbery/Homicide detective and dismissed for what it was, a knickknack box, too small to have contained the murder weapon.
Remember the long distance, fuzzy photo of the out-of-place box on the rim of O.J.s bathtub that was supposed to have had a depression which fit the missing weapon? Hasnt it struck you as the tiniest bit strange that all of the evidence "found" or noted by Fuhrman was out of place, out of focus, out of scale, out of proportion or out of sight of anyone but him and his partner? How can that be in the case of a star as big as O.J. Simpson accused of a double homicide? How can that be in any case? How could all of those wrong or misleading connections between Fuhrman and the evidence work against O.J. Simpson and for Mark Fuhrman without Fuhrmans guiding hand? Ask yourself:
Who advanced the bleeding killer theory?
Who planted the idea of O.J. as a wife-beater before the detectives went to see him?
Who planted the idea that O.J.s Bronco was parked "haphazardly," at an odd angle?
Who found the blood that led to the "people in danger" rationale for vaulting the wall?
Who questioned the man who told of the thumps that led to the glove?
Who found the glove that turned Rockingham into a murder scene?
Who first noticed blood-drops going into the driveway and pointed them out to others?
Who discovered the origin of the painted stick?
Who found the socks?
Who discovered the box with the missing knife?
Who took the sharp-corner corroboration of O.J.s story that his last trip in the Bronco was around his driveway, and replaced it with a bogus observation implying a wild flight from Bundy?
Why did Sgt. Rossi, the watch commander, plan to call Phillips and Fuhrman right after the murders were confirmed (around 12:17) and the area was secure (12:40)? Why would he treat them as though they were joined at the hip if Roberts was Fuhrmans partner, if Phillips did no investigating, and if Fuhrman ended up on the case by chance?
If the killer was bleeding, why not assume that he accidentally cut himself with the sharp instrument that was used on the victims? Why speculate about a dog bite? Moreover, what is the rational basis for assuming that the killer was bleeding? Why infer that he was dripping his own blood from a wound to his left hand when the most likely source of the blood on the left side of the shoeprints was a dripping knife or straight razor held in the left hand? Why was there no thought that the killer might be left-handed? Marcia Clark is left-handed.
When Fuhrman was in charge of the Bundy crime scene, why didnt he ask for a good, close-up photograph of the fingerprint he and Roberts say was on the lock of the Bundy gate? As a fingerprint expert who knew that such a photo would have told all, what was the point in looking at anything else without making sure that the best possible record of that print was made and identified? Only the killer could have left it. Thus, no need to tie O.J. to the distinctive Silga shoeprints or the blood-drops next to them. No need to link O.J. to the cap or the gloves. No need for Vannatter to read Fuhrmans notes. Picture taken; print identified; murders solved. Besides, there was another fingerprint noted by Dr. Wolf and Dr. Lee. What happened to the lens it was found on? And why didnt Fuhrman mention that?
What was the point of Fuhrman getting the #10 envelope in the picture with him, the glove, the cap, three blood-drops, and a bloody Silga heelprint? The envelope, in which Goldman carried Juditha Browns glasses, was definitely moved into that frame and it does serve a useful function for the prosecution. It reinforces the idea that Goldman was a victim of bad timing, that the killer didnt know he was coming, that he would not have been in the killing cage if Juditha Brown hadnt left her glasses at Mezzalunas. The envelope lies.
Why, other than to hide the exculpatory nature of how the Bronco was parked, would Fuhrman lie about the parking angle? Why take the chance?
Why did Fuhrman say the small gate closest to the glove on the south path next to Katos bungalow was open when Kato found it closed and left it closed?
Whatever kind of mountain of evidence this is, it couldnt exist without the mind, body and spirit of Mark Fuhrman.
Then, there are the opportunists. Like looters on the scene of a natural disaster, taking what they could get from someone elses misery, the O.J. case had its share. One group of such criminals give us another way of looking at the O.J. frame-up and who might have done itfrom the perspective of whats missing.
For instance: There are no photos of O.J. wearing Bruno Maglis taken by anyone without Scull and Flammers publicity agent or the motive, means, and opportunity to fake them. Why are there no amateur photos? Why an agentthe same agentwhose first line of work is a professional photographer?
To satisfy the requirements of a forgery, someone like a publicity agent and a PR representative for the Buffalo Bills would have to be involved. He would need contacts in all the right places to review every relevant film, photo and video tape that might have shown the shoes O.J. was actually wearing or anyone in the crowd who might have taken a picture of them. Hed have to find days when no TV cameraman, newspaper or sports magazine photographer, friend or spectator, could have taken a picture that would show what O.J. was really wearing. That onerous requirement was met with two men, agent/ photographer Rob McCelroy and Buffalo Bills PR representative Denny Lynch.
What other things that matter are missing?
PDF version of Chapters 31-35
Contact the author: Jasper Garrison