February 22, 1995 in Nation/World

Nicole Died First, Officer Testifies Prosecution Unveils Theory On Double-Murder

Chicago Tribune
 
Tags:trial

Nicole Brown Simpson died in a pool of blood but her feet were clean, giving police a crucial clue that she was murdered before Ronald Goldman, the investigating detective testified Tuesday.

In his interpretation of the bloody crime-scene evidence, Detective Tom Lange proposed an answer to the question of how one assailant could kill two people in a short period of time.

O.J. Simpson has been charged as the sole killer of his ex-wife and her friend, Ron Goldman, outside her Brentwood condominium last June 12.

Although Nicole Brown Simpson was found lying in her walkway in a pool of her own blood, her feet were unsullied. The bottoms of Goldman’s shoes, by contrast, were stained with blood.

“… The victim (Nicole Brown Simpson) was more than likely struck before there was any blood that flowed,” Lange testified about his observations. “And perhaps (she) went down initially before a fight really ensued with the other victim.”

She “obviously didn’t walk through the blood during the struggle,” the detective said.

Still wearing her earrings, thumb ring and wristwatch, she was found on her left side, her right hand clutching her throat and her left arm extended in what the detective referred to as a “death grip” convulsion.

Though her body showed no signs of struggle, Goldman’s face, hands and side were scratched and bruised. He most likely had just arrived at the condominium, still holding his keys, which were found near his body, Lange testified.

Goldman put up a fight that may have ripped from his finger a white metal ring found lying underneath his body. His shirt had been pulled up his back and there was a fresh mark in the dirt near his body, Lange said.

“It would mean to me that there was probably a struggle in that immediate area, and perhaps this was done with the flailing of feet or movement within that area between the suspect and the victim,” he said.

The strength of Goldman’s death struggle is emerging as a key point of contention that defense lawyer Johnnie Cochran Jr. alluded to as soon as he began cross-examining Lange. Defense lawyers have characterized the struggle as too fierce not to leave bruises on his assailant.

The day after the murders, O.J. Simpson appeared uninjured except for a cut on his left middle finger, which prosecutors charge he slashed while committing the homicides.

Lange also recounted how detectives went to O.J. Simpson’s house to tell him of the murders. He said he decided to let a subordinate scale the wall around the Simpson estate because he feared other crime victims might have been inside.

He noted that no one answered the gate buzzer although a light was on in the house and that Simpson’s car was nearby with apparent bloodstains on one side.

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