The lead police detective in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, Tom Lange, testified Tuesday that the single set of shoeprints between the bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman and the similar way in which each had been slashed and stabbed to death had convinced him that a single person had killed them both.
A day earlier, Simpson’s chief trial lawyer, Johnnie Cochran Jr., asked Lange if he had considered any other explanations of the crime that did not implicate Simpson. Tuesday, chief prosecutor Marcia Clark forged through the door Cochran had opened, asking Lange to describe at greater length than before what his own theory of the case was.
Cochran objected, contending that theories were the province of the jury. But Judge Lance Ito overruled him, and Lange replied. “That it was perpetrated by one person,” he said.
“And what is that based on?” she asked.
“I observed one distinct set of bloody shoeprints between both victims, leading away from both victims, away from the location,” he testified.
“Both victims were killed in a similar manner, slashing and stabbing wounds. Both victims had their throats slashed.” And a drop of blood on the sole of Goldman’s shoe, he said, contained the blood of both victims, suggesting it had fallen off the same knife.
Lange also elaborated on observations Monday that the June 12 slayings of Nicole Simpson and her friend were not drug-related, as the defense had hypothesized.
The deaths, he said, bore none of the usual hallmarks of drug killings: use of firearms; close proximity of drugs and drug paraphernalia; Nicole Simpson’s home had not been ransacked, either to find drugs or money or to remove incriminating evidence.
Nor, he said, are drug-related killings generally committed along such well-traveled routes like South Bundy Drive.
“It would be in a secluded area or closed area,” he said. “It’s not going to be in an open area like this.”
“So you found none of those indicators in this case?” Clark asked.
“That is correct,” he replied.
Today, nearly two weeks after it began, the detective’s testimony will surely conclude.
In the meantime, both sides girded themselves for the appearance of Lange’s subordinate, Detective Mark Fuhrman, who is expected to take the stand after an examination of Goldman’s stepmother, Patti Goldman.