Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Simpson Trial Set to Begin after Months of Wrangling Los Angeles - Ever since The

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Simpson Trial Set to Begin after Months of Wrangling Los Angeles - Ever since The

Article excerpt

Ever since the bizarre televised car chase three months ago, the nation has been deluged with what seems like every possible detail of the murder case against O.J. Simpson.

And now, this morning, the trial will finally begin with the selection of a jury.

Prosecutors have declined to discuss the particulars of their evidence and strategy publicly, and have tried to minimize the case by saying it is just another of a long series of highly publicized trials in recent years.

Yet, the murder charges against Simpson in the stabbing deaths of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, 35, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, 25, on June 12 have evolved into a factual and legal tangle.

Simpson, 46, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Legal experts say the trial will probably prove to be an important test of the courtroom value of DNA analysis.

In most cases, DNA analysis, which is used to determine whether blood, semen or tissue came from a victim or suspect, has supplemented evidence like fingerprints. But now it may have to stand alone because the case against Simpson is largely circumstantial.

The California courts are sharply divided on the admissibility of DNA analysis. One state appeals court has recently ruled that there was insufficient consensus in the scientific community about the reliability of DNA tests for them to be admitted into evidence.

Furthermore, the prosecution's task may be hindered by what appears to a huge reservoir of public affection for Simpson.

Because of Simpson's fame as a former football star and a television and film celebrity, the jury could treat him more leniently than it would the average defendant.

Prosecutors have apparently decided that they have cornered Simpson with what the police found at the crime scene in front of his former wife's condominium and later at the defendant's Brentwood estate.

Perhaps the most incriminating item involves bloodstains found near the crime scene. These include bloody foot prints leading away from the bodies of the two victims; DNA tests have reportedly determined that blood spots next to them are from Simpson, who was cut on the hand or forearm. …

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