Nation/World

Simpson’s Defense Continues Arguing Murders Drug-Related

O.J. Simpson’s chief trial lawyer elaborated Wednesday on his assertion that Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald L. Goldman were not the victims of a jealous former husband but of irate drug dealers who had really set out last June to kill one of Nicole Simpson’s friends - and one of their customers - instead.

Continuing his effort to offer some plausible alternative to the prosecution’s case, the lawyer, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., suggested that the very brutality of the killings suggested that the perpetrators were drug dealers out to collect a debt, and that the real target was Faye Resnick, who was living with Nicole Simpson, and taking drugs, around the same time.

In yet another round of questions for Tom Lange, the lead detective in the case, Cochran implied that police had turned a “blind eye” to any theories that would have cleared Simpson of the crimes. He also hinted that Lange implicated Simpson last June because Marcia Clark, the chief prosecutor in the case, already had.

Cochran’s most graphic questions, concerning the brutal techniques used by Colombian drug lords, were intended to challenge an assertion by Lange that most drug-related murders do not involve knives.

Cochran asked Lange whether he had ever heard of two ways drug dealers disposed of drug users in arrears: a “Colombian necklace” - slang for murder by slashed throat - and a “Colombian necktie” - a variation in which the victim’s tongue is pulled through the slit.

In a series of thinly veiled “hypothetical” questions, he then asked the detective if his views would have changed had it turned out that Resnick, who had lived briefly with Nicole Simpson shortly before the killings, had been “freebasing cocaine on a daily basis” while there, and had been too broke to pay for her habit.

“If I felt this was a drug-related murder, certainly,” Lange said. “But that wasn’t the evidence that I had and that wasn’t the path that I pursued. I had nothing to lead me in that direction.”

Cochran then asked why, if the investigation is ongoing, Lange had still not pursued the matter. “You don’t turn a blind eye on evidence just because it might point toward Mr. Simpson’s innocence, do you?” he asked. “The fact that a victim’s friend uses drugs is of very little consequence to me,” the detective replied.

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