5: THE PROPER VERDICT
HES GUILTY." Conventional wisdom, June 93 to February, 97,
before the verdict was announced in the civil trial of O.J. Simpson for the double
homicide of which he was acquitted in 1995
After two trials and hundreds of hours
of media commentary on the evidence against O.J. Simpson and its probable meaning, the
second jury was about to deliver its verdict. Everybody who was paying attention to the
facts was supposed to knowunless they were too stupid or too biased to see the
truththat O.J. Simpson butchered two human beings. Never mind the fishy socks, the
sticky glove, the phantom weapon, the missing clothes, the shaky motive, the impossible
timeline or the racist cop....Never mind race, period.
If you had sense, you were supposed to know
that race had absolutely no place in a rational discussion of the O.J. Simpson case.
People who insisted on bringing it up were either racists themselves or con artists, like
Johnnie Cochran and F. Lee Bailey, seeking to turn the issue of one mans guilt into
an irrelevant guilt trip for white people in general. One of Simpsons own lawyers
couldnt stomach that transparent, demagogic, red herring! The shoes, the blood, the
fibers, the photos and the failed lie detector test were more than enough for an honest,
intelligent and conscientious jury to render the proper verdict of guilty.
Unlike the first 12 member group of
citizens pilloried for its decision to free the accused, the members of the civil trial
jury were expected to weigh all of the evidence carefully, for many hoursand then
find O.J. guilty. With no "nonsense" about planted evidence allowed by the judge
to distract them from their duty, they were then expected to come to the only honest,
intelligent, conscientious conclusion possible. It was like an old western movie where
some hapless cowboy is told, "were gonna give you a fair trial, and then
were gonna hang ya." The only real question was whether or not the members of
his new jury were as bright and honest as they appeared to be to Jeffrey Toobin and
This was the intellectual and emotional
environment in which all discussion of the O.J. Simpson case took place on the eve of the
As you read this record of the Court TV
Discussion Groups e-mail correspondence from my perspective, dont be fooled by
the relatively smooth flow of ideas within each letter or the neatly structured flow of
ideas from one letter to the next. That has been edited for your benefit. With e-mail, you
have to read and write with an understanding of what can and cannot be communicated
because of limitations in the medium. For instance, you dont have the option of
using italics or underlines to separate thoughts from spoken words. You cant
italicize or underline to stress certain words or highlight key passages. You have to use
quotes, if anything, or caps. But caps are considered by experienced users to be shouting
and therefore rude, so many times, there is simply no way to express yourself accurately
and succinctly without causing offense.
Other than that, there are few rules to
limit what people can say to each other and how they say it, probably because some of the
best thinkers in cyberspace cant spell or punctuate worth a damn. The free flow of
ideas is crucial, so spelling and punctuation dont count as long as the meaning is
clear. Surprisingly, you learn to read in a different way, so those things become a
problem only when you want them to. In these pages, they could be distracting, so all of
the toos I could find that should have been tos and hinds that should
have been hands have been changed. I hope that you will think of it more as a translation
from one language to another than an editing change, because thats closer to the
Staying as close to the truth as possible
is the object of this entire exercise. The truth is, our correspondence was frequently
chaotic. There again, I had to make some adjustments. E-mail subject lines are sometimes
accidentally attached to messages that have nothing to do with them, and the date a
message was sent can be overwritten by when and how it was copied. For the purpose of
continuity and readability, you wont see much of that, but I never changed anything,
including differences in Canadian and U.S. spelling, at the expense of content. Where I
could keep everything the way it was written, thats what I did.
When O.J.s innocence becomes widely
known, no one is going to believe how bad things really were when he was presumed to be
guilty. This book was written to address both of those issues; to help make the fact of
his innocence widely known, and to make sure that no one forgets how the real killer was
able to get away with setting him up.
In June of 95, after hearing the
coroners testimony about the murder weapon and Nicoles blunt force injury to
the head, my suspicion about a military kill was heightened to a point that I could no
longer shrug it off. If O.J. wasnt the killer, it had to be Fuhrman. If it
couldnt have been Fuhrman, Id know it by his alibi and his shoe size. Surely
that information would be easy to find since he mentioned being in the desert, and the
soles of all the policemen at Bundy were checked to distinguish them from the
killers. Besides, how else could everyone be so sure he didnt do it?
Alas, I got no response in 95 and
96 from my faxes to CNN, Court TV or E! TV. My Internet searches came up empty, as
did the inquiries I made on the CTV boards.
In the discussion group, all messages are
posted on electronic bulletin boards that everyone can read, which is why they are called
"posts" and the forum for the discussion group is sometimes called "the
boards." The abuse I was taking for my MFG posts had gotten to the point were I knew
ahead of time that OJGs would just use them for target practice and no information
about Fuhrmans alibi or shoe size would be forthcoming. No one was even looking at
what I said, only at what they thought my reasons were for saying itwhich they were
sure they knew.
The post-civil-rights-era stereotype of the
so-called liberal who cries "racist!" the way Joe McCarthy cried
"communist!" was being applied to me, and once that became my image in the minds
of people who hadnt read my posts with an open mind, I knew Id had it on the
boards. I could see why the other OJIs didnt even want to think about Fuhrman
as a murder suspect. They were taking enough heat as it was for saying he planted the
Jamal and Trille were being savaged, and my
posts were being paraphrased to mean something other than what I wrote if anything at all,
then passed on as if I had written them that way. In short, the same thing that happened
to Trille was beginning to happen to me. The only chance I had to fight my way out of the
situation I was in, was to do it in a forum that allowed me to limit my correspondence to
individuals of my choice. Thats what the e-mail group did. But I still heard nothing
about Fuhrmans alibi or his shoe size.
Then, shortly before the civil trial
verdict was rendered in February of 97, I got a message telling me that Mark Fuhrman
wore size 12 shoes. The first letter you are going to read is the one I sent back asking
Subj: Size 12s
Date: 97-02-03 22:00:39 EST:
Yes ChameleonVery interesting indeed. But what is the
source? HOW DO WE KNOW FOR SURE that he didnt wear size 14s (size 11 through
12 ½ feet could fit into size 12 shoesmaaaaybe size 13, but I wouldnt have
much confidence in that)? If the shoes really do fit, there has to be a question of who
wore them. Trooper1
I got no answer from anyone. The
OJIs greatest frustration had to do with their inability to follow up on all of the
clues pointing to a drug hit. As a consequence, my greatest frustration was getting them
to look at something else. Its a good thing I didnt know at the time that
Hhhana was a psychologist. I would never have had the nerve to say what I did about
"how the human brain is wired." She was gracious enough not to put me in my
unprofessional place, and thoughtful enough to see that I was only trying to show what
part I thought the science of psychology played in the killing and the setup. I was trying
to show that the killer understood the psychology of the situation he created, and the
drug hit theory was an idea he planted to throw the defense off his trail. I wanted to
show that it was a fatally flawed argument which the killer wanted the defense to make.
Subj: Drug hit theory
Date: 97-02-04 22:23:52 EST
To: Hhhana, Crow, Petlady, Trille, Dorothy
Hhhana This is exactly what the defense team tried to
argue in the criminal case. Im sure thats why they didnt take a hard
look at Fuhrman. Once you see the evidence that says it could have happened that way,
its hard to see it any other way. It is the same phenomenon that makes it difficult
for normal people to proofread their own work (you dont have to be dyslexic like me
to make mistakes you cant see. Everybody does it to some extent). We see what we
expect to see. Its a function of how the human brain is wired. Thats why the
discussion group broke down into OJI vs. OJG camps.
At some point, each of us forms a clear picture of what we
believe the truth to be. After that, something extreme has to happen to change our minds,
because now we have a template for the "truth" against which all other evidence
is judged. It filters what we see and dont see, what we pay attention to, what we
play down and what we ignore.
You can find all kinds of evidence to support a drug hit
theory. The more evidence you find, the more compelling it becomes. But if you start
taking shots at it, which you have to do with any theory at some time, you begin to see
why some sane, reasonable people are OJGs. It leaves too many questions unanswered.
Yes, it could have been drug dealers coming after Faye
Resnick. How many cops, working in concert or individually on their own doing their own
little parthow many of them would have to be involved? Who could they have been? Who
would they have to have been? Where did the gloves come from? What are the odds that the
killer would have the same size shoes as OJs? Did Riske plant the Bundy cap and
glove? What was HIS motive? What makes you think so? Where is the evidence to support it?
Riske was the first cop on the scene. He said he found them. If he didnt plant them,
who did? If he did, why? Was he working with Fuhrman to frame OJ? Was he a rotten cop? Was
he listening in on OJ to know that he didnt have a perfect alibi?
It gets stickier. A lot stickier. For every question there
is a possible answer. But then you have to look at the probabilities. Thats where
the drug hit theory went down for me just as all of the OJG scenarios went down. Too many
improbable things had to happen to support the theory. The more you learn, the more the
probabilities should narrow.
Could say more, but gotta go. Trooper
As I waited for my answer from Hhhana or
any of the others who got a copy of my letter, the world waited for the verdict in the
civil trial. Some of us had more hope for O.J. than others. I didnt know enough
about the jurors to lean one way or another in my expectations. Trille made the mistake of
looking only at the facts that proved O.J.s innocence and hoping the jury would see
what she did. I didnt have the heart to tell her that I didnt see it myself.
Mark Fuhrman was my number one suspect, but O.J. wasnt off my list.
Subj: Jury deliberations
Date: 97-02-04 22:00:39 EST
To: Trooper, Hhhana, Crowe Petlady
JasperWHY OH WHY THE VERY NIGHT OF THE STATE OF THE
UNION? I LOVE PRES. CLINTON BUT I ALSO LOVE OJ. WHY ARE THEY TAKING SO GOD-DAMN LONG. WHY
IS THE JUDGE TORTURING US? WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS? WHY OH WHY? LET US HEAR THE
VERDICT AND LET IT BE FOR OJ. PLEASE GOD, LET OJ WIN! Trille
Then came the verdict. With
it came a new urgency to learn the truth.
Subj: PAINFUL VERDICT
Date: 97-02-04 23:14:22 EST
Hey Jasper Its over for now...Are you getting
tons of e-mail from the gloating OJGs? I sure am. I hope that the investigators
working for OJ will be able to put it all together one day. If we accept the fact that OJ
did not kill anybody, there are certainly a lot of ways to go. Please understand, I
appreciate being able to look at Fuhrman as the number 1 suspect. It sure explains why he
would engineer everything so carefully to shine the light of suspicion directly on OJ
I feel so sorry for Jamal and Trille; they fought such a
good fight. I hope they will take heart and know they stood strong against a tide of hate
that few could. Have a good night and watch your e-mail box... Hhhana
I did get tons of mail from OJGs.
I didnt open any of them. But in the process of zapping them, I accidentally lost
some of the OJI letters I wanted to keep. The letter from Hhhana suggesting how Fuhrman
could have known that he would be called in on the case and how he could have used his
phone to give a false impression of where he was that night is a prime example. Actually,
I would have lost my reply to that letter as well, if Trille hadnt copied it and
included it in her letter to me about the verdict (I hadnt learned how to do that
Subj: Re: Down to business (In the Desert)
Date: 97-02-05 01:00:08 EST
From: Trille (Christine Armas)
"Wow, Paula Thank you. And please thank Joe for
your help in filling in the gaps for me. Pat (Crowe), Chameleon and Christine have also
been a big help to me. Ive got the sharpest people in the world on my side (sure
would like to hear from Jamal). We have to be able to come up with something solid on the
MFG scenario one way or another. Weve got enough to know that we could really have
something here. The object now should be to try to shoot it down with facts that
dont support it. If we cant find those facts, I think that a real
investigation will show that weve got our man.
"It never occurred to me that MF could have answered
phone calls from anywhere, giving the impression that he was somewhere he wasnt,
before and after the murders. Ill keep that in mind.
"I havent had a chance to ask my brother about
whether Fuhrman could have known in advance that he would be called in on the murder of
Nicole Simpson (havent seen him in months). But I didnt think to ask him about
that before because hes a Detroit homicide detective. I thought that different
police departments might handle that kind of thing in different ways. Now, I think
Ill try to catch up to him and see what he can tell me. Maybe they do things the
same way Joes department did. If not, maybe he knows somebody who knows somebody who
"About the desert thing. I mentioned that on page 5 of
my MFG scenario. I heard the same thing you did when MF (what fitting initials) was on the
stand. Lion said he was at a social function far, far away with
200 witnesses. I heard the same thing from somebody at work. But I cant track
down the details and I dont know the source.
"On to your next installment.... Trooper1"
Jasper It is over, there is nothing we can do except
somehow help OJ file an appeal? There must be some way. This whole court case was so
unbelievable; it reminded me of the Medgar Evers case, that is, in contrast to the white
guy. Their case was set for him to get cleared, well, maybe its the other way around
with O.J....Doesnt anyone care? Hell, I am crying my heart out. Dont you
people care, not about me, but about this whole thing! Trille
Did anybody care? You bet we did!
Subj: Feeling the pain/sharing the shame:
Date: 97-02-05 12:01:27 EST
CC: Trooper, Trille, Crowe
Racial divide, racial divide, oh yes, its there,
Peggy. Its mean, its ugly, and its real. Where do we go? I cant
stay home, unfortunately. I have to go to work and face people every day that I dont
know; who dont know me. Do I have credibility when meeting black clients? I
dont think so. In fact, I find myself oozing guilt because of the great injustice
weve watched. I want to tell them, Im not a racist, I believe in the American
justice system, of course OJ did not commit this terrible crime; that this action
weve watched being handled so poorly, was purposely engineered to get
"vengeance" for people who dont deserve it. I dont feel any pride
Hug the pets for me. I would have loved to get a little
loving from my zoo this morning, but Im too stuffed up and feverish to get near the
Youre a cool lady. I like thinking I know you and the
others who will receive this note....later. Hhhana
Date: 97-02-05 13:37:48 EST
Peggy & Dianne Good afternoon. I actually slept
for 9 hours last night (3:30 AM to 12:30 PM) and awoke with the same outlook that I have
had since these murders occurred.
Many do not understand my interest in this double murder
case. It is not the victims, the murderer, or the ineptitudes involved. It is not
others reactions to step by step dissection of all aspects of the environment
surrounding "that pebble dropped into the water"...watching those circles
reverberate and envelope the surface. My interest is the reverberation "beneath the
surface." The concepts I have witnessed the formation of, are all in some form of
truth...however, not the complete truth. I wish to have the knowledge of "truth to
completion," with "no doubt."...i.e.; the old saying when all knows the
total facts are there. (Witness, I saw the sun arise and the sun is up....to which you
would say, "No doubt.")
This million-piece puzzle we have been given the
opportunity to "put together," is not complete. It is a microcosm of each of our
lives that I "would love to finish" with that last piece. As my husband often
says, when he no longer follows what I am saying, "Youve lost it." This is
the result of loss of interest.
Losing interest in this case is probably the best
"thing" for each of us to do, at this point...for we have the means, the mode,
the medium that survived the "hassle" of lady justice. We cannot apply logic
here as A= not guilty, B= liable, C= not guilty, but liable. (My search was for the logic,
which I have not found!) Please do not remind me that murder is not logical, for if you
do, you are telling me that I am stupid. To which I will say, "Im just out of
my mind, back in 5 minutes." Chameleon
"Peggy, I returned home Monday to a computer that was
going bonkers with my Internet browser and spent a couple of days getting it back and
running. Last night I watched the verdict coverage, one that I expected, and then turned
everything off. The way so many people have behaved since the criminal trial has left me
with a deep sadness and concern for the lack of understanding of how our judicial system
works. But I wont go into that.
"This verdict was expected, and I am glad they took
the time to really examine the evidence in order to satisfy those who complained about the
four-hour deliberation of the first trial. I cant help but wonder if those same
people who complained about the four-hour deliberation of the first trial will also
complain about the four-hour deliberation of the jury in the Texas case where the young
mother was convicted of killing her son. Or do they only complain when the defendant is
found not guilty?
"I sincerely hope that Mr. Goldman is satisfied now,
and will get on with his life. Losing a loved one is hard, I know for I lost my husband,
but acceptance of the loss is the first step in healing. I hope Mr. Goldman can heal now.
One of the phases you go through in losing a loved one is anger; normally directed at the
one who died but in Mr. Goldmans case apparently (and understandably) directed at
the one he blames for Rons death. If he can now get past that anger, then healing
can take place.
"As for me, nothing is changed; I still have my
questions; still believe the LAPD botched the investigation and this remains an unsolved
mystery. ...Boy, being out of the loop for a while and I really can run on!!
Here is one of the OJG letters I
didnt zap. I guess I wanted to see how my expectation matched reality. Then again, I
may have picked Lion because she was the most widely respected OJG on the boards and once
I knew what she had to say, thats all I needed to known about the other OJGs.
Another reason I saved her letter may have been because she had the good habit of
including the letters she was responding to and I might have found a lost one from Hhhana,
Crowe or Petlady tacked onto it. Anyhow, it paid off. And since her letter was to Petlady,
whom everyone adored, she would be on her best behavior and sound reasonable and tolerant
regardless of what she was actually saying.
Date: 97-02-05 14:44:07 EST
"I believe this is the first time since I have been
communicating with everyone in this e-mail group that I did not look forward to my mail
this morning. Not because of the verdict. I have read nearly all the evidence, and read
the arguments at the bench with regard to evidence being let in, kept out, questions that
were allowed to be asked, etc., and was not at all surprised at the verdict. Preponderance
of the evidence was truly considered in this case. The jury did their job. It was just
that I was still reeling from the news of losing Sarah, and then the reaction of the crowd
when the verdict was read, and the reaction of the crowd when O.J. left the courthouse was
so disheartening that I was, at that time, ashamed of my race.
"It just seems so sad to me that this man who was
acquitted of these murders had to go through another trial that was just a rerun of the
criminal trial, with new players, to be found responsible for these murders. And now, when
Sydney and Justin go to school, they will have to face the ridicule and taunting of the
children and will also be held liable. Believe me, there can be no one crueler than some
children who have listened to their parents and have not necessarily formed their own
opinions, but are parroting their parents in their jeering and taunting of these children.
My heart goes out to them, just as my heart goes out to O.J.
"This trial was not about justice, it was about
revenge and money. And the reactions of the crowd just said to me that for some reason or
the other, over the years, we have lost a lot of graciousness, dignity and compassion, and
our main sense now is "get the bastard, no matter the cost."
"This all should have ended with the criminal trial,
but it didnt, and it wont end with this verdict. There will always be those of
us who believe that someone else did this heinous crime, just as there will always be
those who believe that O.J. did it. O.J. is finished in this country. He can find no peace
here, and now his children can find no peace here. The Browns will undoubtedly jump on
this verdict like white on rice (old Southern saying) and push for the custody of his
children. They may even succeed now. I mean, thats all he has left, lets take
"Im sorry if I sound cynical, but I feel cynical
this morning. Anyhow, Im glad the OJGs will sleep better now. Personally,
Im going to go over all of this in my mind for a few days and try to make some sense
of it, the verdict, the reaction and the animus.
"My husband has often remarked, jokingly, that I would
make a good hermit. Hes right. The more I watch my fellow man (woman) the more I
become that hermit. Conversing through the wires of my computer, and watching the world go
by without the slightest desire to be caught up in the throng. Think Ill go hug all
my puppies and kittens and bake something. Talk to you all later. Peggy
Peggy I understand your disappointment. I know what
you are feeling at this moment. I know because when the verdict was read at the criminal
trial I felt the same disappointment.
I must tell you that your comment about feeling ashamed of
your own race was a bit disturbing to me. You show so much compassion and understanding
for O.J. Simpson, but cant understand those who believe in their hearts that Simpson
took the lives of two young beautiful people.
You call it "get the bastard." Why? Do you not
believe there were those of us who cheered because we felt that justice was finally done
to some small degree. When this case started it wasnt about money, Peggy, it was
about the murders of two people. And whether or not attorneys from both sides, jurors,
friends and relatives wrote books really doesnt mean squat as to who killed these
Yes, many made many dollars, but it doesnt matter. It
doesnt change anything. If one book wasnt written, if one story wasnt
sold, if all the people involved gave up there 15 minutes of fame, would it have made
Simpson LESS guilty? Would it have made a difference in the blood evidence, the hair and
fiber evidence the photos, the testimony of Allan Park?
You see Peggy, everything would be just as it is today...
Allan Parks testimony would still be evidence that Simpson wasnt home, A.C.
Cowlings testimony about the 1989 incident which Simpson denied would still be the same.
The lack of credibility in Simpsons testimony would still exist. Peggy, these two
people were slaughtered. This wasnt done by some drug hit man. If it were, Nicole
would not have been nearly decapitated! You dont have to butcher someone to make
them dead! It was done by someone who was totally out of control. Totally out of his mind
with rage and anger.
My heart goes out to those two children, too. They will
never feel the comfort of their mothers arms, or hear her voice, or know her love.
And many, many people hold Simpson responsible for that and didnt take a dollar! I
hope we can all put this behind us, say a prayer for the children now and then and hope
that they will get through their lives with as little pain as possible. Lion
How did you like that part about
Lions concern for the children? Kinda made you feel warm all over, didnt it? I
wont tell you how it made me feel. Instead, Ill tell you what she carved in
stone for the children to read at their first opportunity to find it for themselves in the
Court TV archives. Then, youll know how I felt....These are the words she put in
8-year-old Justins mouth in a big bold headline that couldnt be missed:
JUSTIN: MY DAD MURDERED MY MOM!
If it were up to the OJGs, that would
have been the last word on the matter. It wasnt up to them. It was up to us.
Subj: Where are you?
Date: 97-02-05 17:18:42 EST
Hi Jasper I was expecting to hear something after the
verdict last night. Im not going to get ugly about it, but its not justice. No
justice in trying a man for a crime, finding him not guilty and putting him back in
jeopardy because it wasnt a popular verdict. I know the civil action was legal, but
it doesnt make it right. Anyway, Jasper, guess Ill chat with you later. Still
thinking about the MF (yeah, like the letters for him) thing. The only way this mess will
ever end right will be for somebody to prove who did it. You know that, dont you...
Date: 97-02-05 01:00:08 EST
From: Trille (Christine Armas)
Hello, Jasper Its all over. They won! Is there
anything we can do? Do you care enough to really help? ...I am not giving up. The bastards
have won this skirmish. We will win the war. Right, Trooper, and Jamal, and all you
OJIs? ....I am so upset; I cried for 2 hours, but I am not crying anymore. NOW I
WILL FIGHT. Trille
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