To court watchers, Juror No. 6 has always seemed part of the O.J. Simpson camp.
The 43-year-old marketing manager, one of seven African Americans on Simpson’s jury, has stared unblinking at even the most grisly crime-scene photographs.
He listened with folded arms when a sobbing Denise Brown described the years of the jealous rages and physical abuse that she said Simpson inflicted on her sister Nicole before her June 12 murder.
And he looked deeply skeptical when white Detective Mark Fuhrman denied planting a bloody glove behind Simpson’s mansion and coolly insisted that he had not referred to black people as “niggers” in the last 10 years.
But last week, No. 6 looked like a changed man.
He appeared shaken and sagged in his seat as prosecutors introduced a second wave of DNA tests linking Simpson to the murders of his ex-wife and her friend Ronald Lyle Goldman.
Several times, he looked searchingly at Simpson and then at Goldman’s sister, whose faithful presence on the front row has served as a haunting reminder of the case’s largely forgotten victims. Tears rolled down Kim Goldman’s cheeks, and No. 6 looked away.
A prosecution convert? An omen of the verdict to come? It’s impossible to know.
But prosecutors have long said that DNA would turn the tide in this celebrated, surrealistic trial and that defense complaints of police bungling, laboratory contamination - and even frame-up allegations - would be buried under a mountain of genetic evidence pointing to Simpson’s guilt.
If that prediction comes true, last week might well be seen as the turning point.
For three days, California state DNA analyst Gary Sims calmly laid out the most damaging evidence to date against Simpson, matching the defendant’s genetic type to blood at the murder scene and linking the victims’ DNA to blood found inside Simpson’s Ford Bronco and on a bloody glove recovered behind his mansion.
With each new result, Sims offered odds to support his lab’s conclusions, none of them favoring Simpson.
The chance that someone other than Nicole Simpson was the source of bloodstains on a pair of socks found in Simpson’s bedroom was 1 in at least 7.7 billion, based on the rare set of genetic markers found in both samples, Sims told jurors.
Only 1 in 240,000 people, including Simpson, could have left the blood drops found leading from the murder victims, Sims said.
As for the blood caked under Nicole Simpson’s fingernails - which defense attorneys contend came from an unknown assailant - Sims said the odds were at least 50,000 to 1 that the blood was her own.
Worst of all for Simpson, the new DNA results seemed to undermine defense allegations that police had conspired to frame the popular former football star.
Sims said last week that the glove at Simpson’s house revealed “genetic markers” not only matching the victims’ DNA but also matching Simpson’s type.