OJ Simpson

When Nicole Brown Simpson, was found dead at her home in Los Angeles, her former husband and famous sports celebrity OJ Simpson was suspected of the murder. It was the night of June 12, 1994 when an Los Angeles Police Department squad car arrived at Nicole's house after midnight; they were lead to the house by a trail of bloody footprints and saw Nicole's body lying on top of a spreading pool of blood. On closer examination, the police noticed that her head and neck had been viciously stabbed by a knife. Nearby, her friend Ronald Goldman was also found dead from knife wounds. Around the murder site, the police found a bloody glove in addition to a hat. The police reported their findings to the homicide detectives and called them over to the murder site. Together, the detectives and the police drove to Simpson’s palatial house, five minutes away on Rockingham Avenue. Upon their arrival, the cops learned from Kato Kaelin, a guest in an adjacent bungalow, that Simpson had taken a night flight to Chicago. While searching Simpson’s bungalow, the detectives noticed trials of blood drips on Simpson’s Ford Bronco leading from the car to the front door of the mansion. The partner of the glove found at Nicole's house was discovered at O.J.'s residence.

The next morning, the LAPD called Simpson at his Chicago hotel and asked to interview him. Simpson agreed to catch a flight back and meet the detectives. While talking to Simpson, the detectives noticed a bandage on his hand. Despite Simpson's claims that he had received it from a broken glass, the detectives photographed his hand and fingerprinted him. They also took his blood for DNA testing, and had the sample kept in a vial containing preservative.

Through genetic fingerprinting, it was determined that the bloodstains collected near the gate at Nicole’s house were Simpson’s blood. Nicole’s blood also matched the bloodstains that were collected at Nicole's house and at O.J Simpson's house. DNA analysis showed that the socks found in Simpson's bedroom also had his and Nicole's blood on it. The glove found at Simpson’s contained the blood of all the people involved: Simpson, his wife, and her friend. There was a total of five sources of blood at Nicole's house that belonged to Simpson. The blood drops on the walkway began near the victims, passed the gate, and continued onto the driveway. This indicated the drops were shed by the killer, who was bleeding as he left the crime scene.

The DNA analysis on the blood drops was conducted by the LAPD lab, Cellmark (a private lab in Maryland), and the California Department of Justice Lab. All three labs independently found that the DNA in the blood drops matched Simpson's DNA. A total of 24 STR loci (11 more than the FBI use) from DNA from the evidence were tested, and all 24 exactly matched those of Simpson. The probability of anyone else having the exact same match was over one in 6 billion (almost more than there are people on this planet!).

However, Simpson's attorneys who specialized in DNA evidence, Barry Scheck and Peter Neufield (who founded the Innocence Project), argued that lab procedures had thoroughly contaminated the blood evidence so that any DNA analysis of the blood would be unreliable. Serious patterns of contamination in the LAPD's PCR analysis were found in other tests. The defendants suggested that certain police procedures had undermined the prosecution case because when the detectives covered Nicole’s corpse with a blanket to hide it from the news cameras, they were adding fiber evidence to the scene. The video captured by the police while investigation revealed more carelessness such as the junior investigator dropping blood swabs and wiping tweezers with soiled hands.

    The defendants also argued that the blood drops from Nicole’s house and from the glove found at O.J.’s were contaminated with Simpson's DNA at the LAPD Laboratory. An LAPD criminalist admitted that he spilled some of Simpson's blood from a reference vial while working in the evidence processing and that shortly thereafter he handled the glove and the cotton swatches containing the blood from Nicole’s house. The defense suggested that some of Simpson's blood was inadvertently transferred to these evidentiary samples. The defense argued that the pattern of the DNA test results fit with the cross-contamination theory and presented evidence of sloppiness in the LAPD's handling of samples prior to DNA testing saying, “The criminalists were poorly trained with respect to sample handling, were not following a written protocol, did not understand the purpose and importance of precautionary measures, such as changing gloves, and made serious errors even when attempting to demonstrate proper sample collection and handling techniques.” Dr. Gerdes also found evidence of cross-contamination in the DNA test results of the Simpson case since it appeared that the sample vials containing Nicole’s and Goldman’s blood were contaminated with the DNA of O.J. Simpson. Defense experts Dr. Henry Lee and Professor Herbert MacDonnell examined the sock and concluded that the blood stain had been pressed onto it while it was lying flat, and not while someone's leg was in the sock. 

Furthermore, blood was missing from Simpson's reference tube because the nurse testified that he had drawn eight milliliters of blood from Simpson however, the records in the LAPD Crime Laboratory indicated that the tube had contained only 6.5 ml when it was received by the laboratory. Thus, on October 3, 1995, the jury returned a verdict that he was not guilty. [20]

The case of O.J. Simpson is important to DNA fingerprinting because it highlighted the importance of standard laboratory procedures. If there are no requirements for actions in a lab, attorneys such as Simpson's could claim contamination and cast doubt on the entire procedure and accuracy of genetic fingerprints. Since this trial, standard lab procedures have been set. [7]


This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to www.yola.com and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola