Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Police Concede Several Errors in Simpson Case

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Police Concede Several Errors in Simpson Case

Article excerpt

A police criminalist conceded Wednesday that covering Nicole Brown Simpson's body with a blanket from her home was "a terrible mistake" that could have been the source of trace evidence linking O.J. Simpson to the murder of his ex-wife and her friend Ronald Goldman last June.

The use of the blanket was one of several mistakes or errors in judgment - including moving the bodies before evidence was collected - that criminalist Dennis Fung testified were made by one of the lead detectives investigating the June 12 slayings.

Fung, whose own actions were the subject of grueling questions Tuesday by defense attorney Barry Scheck, was reluctant to characterize the actions of others. But with an easy-going style, Scheck continually stalked him into one corner and then another.

Scheck contended that crucial items of evidence - including the leather glove found near the bodies - were moved and shifted around at the Bundy Drive crime scene because of police negligence. He ended the day with a videotape that appeared to show the glove lying on the blood-stained blanket that was left behind by coroners after the bodies were removed.

Prosecutors, who asked for time to study the images, appeared surprised by the videotape, which was shown in the courtroom but was not seen by Fung or the jury. Defense lawyers Robert Shapiro and Johnnie Cochran erupted in laughter when they spotted the object on the screen, drawing a reprimand from Ito.

Under cross-examination Wednesday, Fung admitted that errors were made at the crime scene and that it was what the defense called "a terrible mistake" to use the blanket from the house rather than a sterile sheet because it could carry trace evidence into the area.

Fung also agreed that it was "an error of judgment" for co-lead detective Tom Lange to insist that a bloody glove that had been found at O.J. Simpson's estate be brought into the area where the bodies were, because of the threat of contamination. He also said he was "concerned" that the bodies were removed before the evidence in the area was thoroughly examined. …

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