March 7, 1995 in Nation/World

Police Discounted Drug Tie In Simpson Case

New York Daily News

O.J. Simpson’s lawyers hinted Monday that drugs may have been involved in the slayings of his ex-wife and her pal - but the lead cop on the case said there was no link.

Detective Tom Lange said cops had “superficially” probed a possible drug tie in the slayings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, but found no evidence.

“We looked at the possibility of drugs,” he said, adding that his partner, Detective Philip Vannatter, had interviewed Nicole’s friend, Faye Resnick, an admitted drug user.

As defense attorney Johnnie Cochran suggested that Goldman was targeted by an “assassin or assassins,” Lange conceded he never considered the possibility of a suspect other than O.J.

“I had absolutely no other evidence that would point me in the other direction,” he said.

Returning to the stand after a 10-day absence, the veteran gumshoe was hammered by Cochran, who demanded to know why he hadn’t investigated Goldman’s past.

“There was nothing to pursue,” Lange said.

But the cop admitted that he never learned where or when Goldman ate his last meal. The waiter’s co-workers at the Mezzaluna restaurant have testified that they did not see him eat dinner that night.

Cochran said undigested food in Goldman’s stomach indicated he had just eaten - suggesting he may have stopped for dinner before going to Nicole’s condo.

That could push the slayings past 10:15 p.m., the time prosecutors allege Simpson committed the murders.

But Lange countered that Goldman’s digestion may have been “retarded” by the overwhelming fear he experienced while being attacked.

“That’s my opinion, that both of these victims would be under a great deal of stress,” he said.

Cochran mysteriously asked Lange twice about Goldman’s links to a business called Design Wraps - but the cop said he knew of none.

Earlier in the day, a neighbor of Nicole’s testified that he heard a dog barking about 10:20 p.m. the night of the slayings. That’s similar to Pablo Fenjves’ testimony that he heard a dog’s “plaintive wail” about 10:15 p.m.

Meanwhile, Rosa Lopez, the defense alibi witness whose testimony kept jurors out of court for more than a week, returned to El Salvador. “Please leave me alone,” Lopez begged reporters.

Asked if she was a victim of racism, Lopez told them: “Of course. Do you (Salvadorans) all think the Americans like you up there?”

In Los Angeles, another supposed alibi witness, Mary Anne Gerchas, spoke for the first time about seeing four “hoodlum-type” men fleeing the crime scene.

“These four guys were booking” and hopped into a sedan between 10:30 p.m. and 10:45 p.m., she told KCAL-TV.

Prosecutors have branded Gerchas a “liar.”

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