July 6, 1995 in Nation/World

Expert: Carpet Fibers On Glove, Cap Match But Ruling Keeps Specialist From Discussing Details

New York Times
 
Tags:trail

Carpet fibers found on the bloody leather glove picked up behind O.J. Simpson’s house and on a knit cap found at the crime scene match the extremely unusual fibers lifted off the floor of Simpson’s Ford Bronco, a prosecution expert testified Wednesday.

Because of a ruling last week by Judge Lance Ito, the witness, Douglas Deedrick, a specialist from the FBI’s division on hair and trace evidence, was not permitted to say just how distinctive the fibers were: that they appeared in only a limited number of Broncos made in late 1993 and 1994.

Those Broncos included Simpson’s, which prosecutors say he drove to the scene of the murders with which he is charged and then back home.

Whenever Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark steered Deedrick near the distinctiveness of the Bronco carpet, Simpson’s lawyer-for-the-day, F. Lee Bailey, thundered an objection.

But Deedrick did manage to say that two rose-beige-colored fibers - one, invisible to the unaided eye, that he picked off the cap containing hairs similar to Simpson’s, the other found in the paper evidence bag containing the right-hand glove - resembled nothing he had seen in 17 years spent peering into laboratory microscopes.

Deedrick said he had used a polarizing microscope, a fluorescent microscope, a scanning electronic microscope and a comparison microscope to inspect the fibers.

What he saw - and what he showed the jurors - were shafts, enlarged many times, that feature three-pronged, propeller-like tips. He described them as “three-lobe nylon fibers with knobs at the end of each lobe,” and likened their appearance to a child’s set of jacks.

“I’d not seen it before,” he testified. Nor, he said, did he see it subsequently when shown fibers taken from the white Bronco belonging to Simpson’s friend A.C. Cowlings. That carpeting, he noted, was blue.

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