July 27, 1995 in Nation/World

Fbi Chemist: No Preservative Found In Bloodstains Simpson Defense Witness Changes Testimony ‘To Be More Truthful’

Associated Press
 
Tags:trial

An FBI chemist accused of bias against O.J. Simpson was declared a hostile witness Wednesday but insisted he was just trying to be truthful when he abruptly changed the tenor of his testimony.

“Did you decide … you had to become an advocate?” defense attorney Robert Blasier asked as he went on the attack.

‘I decided I had to be more truthful,” Roger Martz told jurors. “I was not being entirely truthful with yes and no answers. … I decided I wanted to tell the whole truth.”

The turnaround in Martz’s demeanor on Tuesday came after he had answered questions indicating that evidence bloodstains were “consistent” with the presence of a chemical preservative used in the police crime lab.

The preservative, EDTA, is a key to the theory that Simpson was framed by police who took his blood from a test tube and dropped some of it on the gate at his ex-wife’s condominium and sprinkled his ex-wife’s blood on socks found in his bedroom.

After initial questioning by the defense Tuesday, Martz conferred with prosecutors during a break and returned to aggressively declare that the evidence bloodstains weren’t identified as containing EDTA. He repeated that assertion dozens of times during prosecutor Marcia Clark’s cross-examination and insisted his test results were misinterpreted by another defense expert.

“I was able to determine the bloodstains on the sock and the gate did not come from preserved blood,” Martz said.

Before Blasier’s redirect questioning, Clark asked Martz to explain why he said the evidence stains were consistent with the presence of EDTA.

“When something is consistent with something else, it’s not a positive identification,” he said. “In order to identify something, you have to have something unique.”

He said peaks depicted on a graph show that EDTA “could be present,” but not that it was definitely there.

Outside jurors’ presence, Blasier won permission from Judge Lance Ito to declare Martz a hostile witness based on his demeanor change. Clark opposed the move, which allowed Blasier to ask leading questions and approach the witness as an adversary on redirect examination.

Under Blasier’s questioning, Martz insisted, “I have no bias whatsoever.”

The defense had to call Martz to the stand because he did the actual EDTA tests. The other defense expert, Fredric Rieders, only analyzed Martz’s results.

The chemical, found in food and many household products, is used in police crime labs to prevent clotting of blood samples.

Outside court, the juror who told Ito “I can’t take it anymore” before she was dismissed broke her silence, saying she was ostracized after her complaints led to the reassignment of three deputies and a subsequent revolt by members of the panel.

Tracy Hampton, who was dismissed May 1, said on NBC’s “Today” she’s relieved to be free.

“I felt like a criminal the whole time I was there,” she said.

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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