May 3, 1995 in Nation/World

Nicole’s Blood On O.J.’S Sock? Police Chemist Says Tests Show Connection Is Very Probable

Newsday
 

O.J. Simpson’s eyes brimmed with tears Tuesday as jurors studied a bloody crime scene photograph of his ex-wife’s body displayed on an overhead screen.

Simpson became emotional, wiping his eyes, during the testimony of a chief forensic chemist who reported on test results that police say link the former football great to the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

In his second day on the stand, the witness, Gregory Matheson, an assistant director of the Los Angeles Police Department crime lab, said conventional serology tests showed that blood found on socks in Simpson’s bedroom was consistent with his ex-wife’s and that blood consistent with Simpson’s was found in the trail of blood leading away from the bodies.

He acknowledged that those tests are valued more for their ability to exclude suspects and are not capable of the exact identification possible with DNA fingerprinting. More definitive tests on some of the evidence were done by a private laboratory.

Using oversized exhibits and Matheson’s expertise, Deputy District Attorney Hank Goldberg gave the jury a crash course on the chemical makeup of blood in an effort to explain how test results were evaluated and why in certain cases Matheson and others came up with findings that were inconclusive.

Matheson acknowledged that he didn’t see any blood when he first inspected Simpson’s navy knee-high socks June 29. But on closer inspection Sept. 18, he said, he saw stained areas on what he described as a “dress sock.”

He said tests on blood collected at the Bundy Drive crime scene showed that blood consistent with Goldman’s was on the leather glove and fence near Goldman’s body and on his left shoe. He said a blood drop in the trail was consistent with Simpson’s blood and that while only one enzyme test was done on that drop, the genetic markers identified in that test are shared by only 0.43 percent of the population, or one in 233 people.

“Does that mean that 99 percent of the population can be excluded from donating that sample?” Goldberg asked.

“Yes,” Matheson said.

Much time was spent trying to explain blood found under Nicole Simpson’s fingernails, on which police tests were inconclusive. In his opening statement, lead defense lawyer Johnnie Cochran said that blood could be a clue to the identity of the killer. The prosecution has maintained that the blood had degraded, giving an initial misleading test result, and that more definitive tests showed it was Nicole Simpson’s own blood.

In another development Tuesday, Tracy Hampton, the flight attendant who told Judge Lance Ito she couldn’t take it anymore and was removed from the jury Monday, was rushed to a hospital by ambulance. Paramedics responded to a call that she was having a seizure. A police officer at her home told reporters that she wasn’t feeling well.

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