LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The revelation that the LAPD is examining a knife allegedly recovered at O.J. Simpson’s former Brentwood estate has shocked many of the key players from the former football star’s decades-ago murder trial.
Police on Friday said they have within the past month begun testing a knife believed to have been recovered nearly two decades ago by a construction worker working on the demolition of Simpson’s Brentwood house. The knife was allegedly handed over to a motorcycle cop working on a film site and only came into the LAPD’s possession recently.
Key players in the trial said the knife could contain crucial evidence. The weapon used in the 1994 stabbing murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman was never recovered by police.
Simpson was acquitted of the slayings in his criminal trial, but found liable in a 1997 civil trial that awarded $33.5 million in damages to the victims’ families.
Kato Kaelin, who was Simpson’s houseguest at the time of the murders, told CBS2 exclusively that he was shocked that an officer could be holding a crucial piece of untested evidence.
“You’d think in the police handbook 101, you’d turn in any kind of evidence,” Kaelin said. “To think someone wanted to keep something that’s possibly the knife, the weapon used in this heinous crime, why keep it? That makes absolutely no sense.”
The knife is just the latest twist in the saga, Kaelin said, and proof that the public’s fascination with the case is as strong as ever.
“It’s like what’s next?” Kaelin said. “What will happen next?”
Prosecutor Marcia Clark said although the knife is many years old, it could still contain crucial DNA evidence.
“It’s a remarkable development, if it does turn out to be connected to the murders of Ron and Nicole,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “I mean, they recover DNA on mummies in Egypt. So it’s entirely possible that if there is some DNA to be recovered that it could be found, especially with today’s technology, which is much more sensitive.”
However, police sources told CBS News Correspondent Steve Futterman the weapon was a small utility buck knife, which would be inconsistent with what the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s office said at the time was a bigger knife used for the murders, CBS news reported.
A Simpson defense attorney was dismissive of the knife, calling the frenzy surrounding its discovery “ridiculous.”
“I was dumbfounded by the media frenzy that follows what i think is a very ridiculous story,” attorney Carl Douglas said. “Fair-minded citizens of Los Angeles … should be offended by this waste of resources … It’s a folding buck knife inconsistent with the [victims’] knife wounds … It defies any credible discussion.”
A spokesman for Ron Goldman’s parents, Fred and Kim Goldman, said they were waiting for the LAPD’s conclusions on the knife before weighing in.
“Until the LAPD completes its investigation of the recovered knife, the validity of the knife as it relates to Ron and Nicole’s murder is purely speculative,” they said in the statement. “It is not a shock to our family that stories like this are making headlines again.”
CBS2’s Greg Mills on Saturday spoke to Trent Copeland, an attorney representing the retired LAPD officer who was in possession of the knife.
He said his client tried to give the knife to the LAPD in 2003, he knife was turned over about two months ago. He told investigators he thought the case was closed.
And Copeland said not to expect the officer to appear on camera any time soon.
“He’s not that kind of guy, ” Copeland told Mills.