Getting away with murder

Robert Peter Burns rburns at chaph.usc.edu
Tue Oct 3 15:53:23 MDT 1995


Until about half an hour ago, I was convinced that OJ was 
as guilty as sin, and that the jury was "sending a message",
perhaps overdue but in this case inappropriate.  I was amazed
at the verdict, not because it was an acquittal, but because
I could not understand how an acquittal could be related to
the testimony by the limo driver that the jury asked to be
read back to them.  To me it just did not make sense.

Now it does.  The limo driver testified that he looked
for the house number on the kerbside, and that he did
not notice a white bronco car parked there.  He turned
into the driveway with his stretched limo and then 
reversed back out into the street and turned around and
waited.  And waited.  Near 11pm he saw a dark figure
go into the house, and moments later Simpson answered
on the intercom.  

But here's the big, big point the jury was looking for.
Although the Bronco was found at the kerbside the following
morning at a spot that blocked a view of the kerbside house
number, a number that is only a *few feet away* from the 
driveway to Simpson's estate, Park never testified that he
noticed or heard any car, let alone a white Bronco, drive
up and park at that spot.  Surely he would have noticed or
heard it do so, if indeed it had.  The reason, then, that
Park said he didn't notice or hear anything, is that either
the Bronco was there all the time, and so could not have
been used by Simpson to drive to Bundy and back, or else
that the Bronco was *never* there all the time that Park
was waiting at the gate.  But he left with Simpson, so
Simpson could not have parked it there in time for it to
be found at that spot early the next morning.  Either way,
Simpson could not have driven to Bundy and back and then
leave with the limo driver.  

OK, it's *possible* that Simpson drove back, parked the 
Bronco without Park noticing, went round to the other
side of the house, bumped into Kato's wall, dropped the
glove, and cleaned up and disposed of the knife/clothes
etc.  But is it likely that Park, who was waiting anxiously
at the gate, would not have heard or noticed a car pulling
up, and parking just a few feet from the driveway?  No, it's
not, especially because that street is quiet and narrow and
had been visited by the jury.  More likely is that the Bronco was 
always there or never there, in which case Simpson could not have 
used it to drive to Bundy and back.

On this reasoning--why did Park never notice the Bronco's
return--the jury had all the reasonable doubt needed for an
acquittal.  And remember, Marcia Clarke said that Park was
the prosecution's best witness in her closing argument.
That is why the jury asked for his, and only his testimony
to be read back to them.  As soon as it was read back to
them, they realized they had a reasonable doubt at the heart 
of the prosecution's case, and were duty bound to acquit.
Hence the swiftness of the verdict.

OK, who was the man seen entering the house by Park?  That
was Simpson.  He had packed most of his bags earlier, and 
then lain down to rest.  He fell asleep, and didn't hear
the buzzer.  He rushed around in his room when he woke up
shortly before 10.55pm.  He grabbed a bag and rushed downstairs,
and out into the courtyard.  Park did not see him go *out* of 
the house--he was looking the other way/smoking a cigarette,
talking on the phone to his boss--but he saw Simpson go back
into the house.  At this point he buzzed again, and this time
Simpson answered.  He'd be down shortly, and he was, this time
with the rest of his luggage.  Maybe Simpson said something about
taking a shower <had just taken one, or was about to take one, doesn't
matter, since Simpson may just have been unwilling to admit that he'd
fallen asleep.  Anyway who knows for sure what he said, and he was
in a rush.>  He was in a rush, out of breath, and anxious to
leave.  

If Simpson really is innocent then either the police or the real
killers planted evidence or there was a bit of both.  But even
if he isn't, the jury still had enough of a reasonable doubt as
soon as they heard again that Park had not noticed any Bronco
returning from Bundy.

QED

Peter Burns SJ
rburns at scf.usc.edu


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