When OJ Simpson went to trial for the murder of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, there were mountains of evidence against Simpson: bloody gloves, bloody footprints from a rare shoe that OJ owned, blood in Simpson’s car, and a damning police chase in Simpson’s infamous white Ford Bronco, to name just a few. But the one thing the prosecution didn’t have was the murder weapon. Brown and Goldman had been brutally stabbed dozens of times, but police did not recover the knife.
That all changed this month, when the Los Angeles Police Department announced that it had custody of a knife that was found on Simpson and Brown’s Brentwood property when the building was being razed in 1998. The knife was recovered by a construction worker, who gave it to a policeman. For unknown reasons, the officer did not turn over the knife to the Department for nearly 20 years. The police are running forensic tests on the knife, although the passage of time and murky chain of custody may mean that there is no forensic material left to link the knife to the crimes.
If the knife is indeed the murder weapon, then investigators can conclude that OJ Simpson committed double murder on June 12, 1994. Their theory is that Simpson and Brown, who attended a dance recital for their daughter Sydney, got into an argument. Simpson later went to Brown’s house to continue the argument. He and Brown argued in the kitchen, where Simpson grabbed a knife and chased Brown outside onto a garden path. Simpson had a history of domestic violence against his former wife.
Outside the house, Simpson stabbed Brown. Ron Goldman, who went to the house to return a pair of sunglasses, arrived and witnessed Simpson stabbing Brown. When he tried to intervene, Simpson stabbed him to death. Both bodies were discovered outside on the small garden path. Simpson’s blood was found at the scene. His left hand had a bandage on the next day.
In this scenario, the murder weapon was a knife from Brown’s kitchen. This is the reason that no knives were missing from Simpson’s home. The assumption made at the trial was that he dumped the knife in a trashcan at LAX, since he flew from the airport the next day.
Regardless of the outcome of forensic tests on the knife, Simpson cannot be retried for the same crimes. He was acquitted of the murders. If he stood trial again, that would be “double jeopardy.” Some are wondering why the LAPD is bothering with the knife at all. However, the reason is pretty simple: since Simpson was acquitted, the case remains open. If the police get lucky and there is forensic testing that links it to the murders, they could possibly indict Simpson for other crimes that he did not stand trial on, such as destruction of evidence and obstruction of evidence. Simpson is currently serving a 20 year sentence for robbery in Nevada.