Thursday, June 30, 2022
On Tuesday, October 3, 1995, the verdict in the O. J. Simpson murder case was announced and Simpson was acquitted on both counts of murder. Although the nation observed the same evidence presented at trial, a division along racial lines emerged in observers opinion of the verdict, which the media dubbed the "racial gap". Polling showed that most African Americans believed Simpson was innocent and justice had been served, while most White Americans felt he was guilty and the verdict was a racially motivated jury nullification by a mostly African-American jury. Current polling shows the gap has narrowed since the trial, with the majority of black respondents in 2016 stating they believed Simpson was guilty. The narrowing racial gap is primarily attributed to several factors: Daniel Petrocelli disproving all of the blood planting claims at the wrongful death civil trial, defense witness Henry Lee published a peer review study in 1996 that effectively refuted the contamination claim that disputed the validity of the states DNA evidence, and the fading of Simpson's celebrity status since the trial. Most African Americans believed Simpson was innocent, but that changed one year later after the civil trial when Barry Scheck's contamination claim and all of his blood planting claims were disproven. Without either of them, defending Simpson's innocence became increasingly untenable as there was no justification for doubting the DNA evidence against him. The television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation popularized the reliability of DNA matching with the public as well. Simpson's celebrity status faded among Africans Americans after he relocated to Florida and disappeared from the public eye. His arrest and conviction in 2008 for armed robbery brought him back into the public spot light, especially after he received a disproportionately higher prison sentence than his co-conspirators, which generated controversy even from his detractors, but the response from African Americans was relatively muted, and pundits opined this demonstrated how much the conscience of Black America has evolved since the time the verdict was announced. The trial and verdict had an historic impact on American culture. It is credited with transforming public opinion about domestic abuse from being considered a private familial matter to a serious crime. The trial is also credited with raising awareness about the stigma that Interracial couples still face from both white and African Americans. The passage of California Proposition 209 in 1996 that ended affirmative action in the state is also attributed to the verdict as well because it resulted in declining empathy towards issues of racial discrimination and civil rights among White Americans. A historic drop in diversity in the University of California and California State University education systems followed which later led to a similar lack of diversity seen in the state's White-collar job market, particularly the high tech area of Silicon Valley since most of the early pioneers of the Dot.com boom of the late 1990s were graduates from the UC and CSU systems. In The Race Card: How Bluffing About Bias Makes Race Relations Worse, African American Stanford Law Professor Richard Thompson Ford wrote that the two most important race trials of the 20th century were that of Emmett Till and O.J. Simpson. These national trials are often seen as a test of the nations conscience. The outcome is often disappointing and that is what motivates positive change. The murder of Till shocked the nation for its brutality, which then turned into outrage after the defendants were speedily acquitted by an all white jury, despite strong evidence of guilt. The outrage then mobilized into the civil rights movement of th 1960s after the defendants' brazen admission one year later. The event was a moment of clarity for white Americans as they were forced to confront the realities of racial injustice in America as the admitted murderers of Till, protected by double jeopardy, remained free for the rest of their lives. Ford believes that the Simpson trial had a similar legacy for African Americans because they saw the same evidence presented as white Americans yet many still believed he was innocent. The fact that belief in Simpson's guilt or innocence depended on the race of the individual being polled, not on the evidence against them, demonstrates that the justice system is still compromised by race but the narrowing racial gap demonstrates just the opposite as well because both sides are seeing the same evidence and reaching the same conclusion concerning Simpson's guilt regardless of their race. Simpson, also protected by double jeopardy, would himself later imply in many ways that he was guilty of the murders, such as willingly participating in the publication of the book If I Did It and doing an interview with Judith Regan on television in which he described his version of events, which included a supposed accomplice named Charlie but in which he also admitted he was present at the crime scene holding the knife but could not remember crucial details. These elements directly contradicted all of Johnnie Cochran's conspiracy theories at the criminal trial, and also led to outrage and fuelled the public's belief that Simpson was indeed guilty of the murders as they were perceived as Simpson's confession. Journalists opined that empathy has recovered among white Americans for issues of racial injustice since the trial and point to the response by White Americans to the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin, polling that shows strong support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and the attempt, though unsuccessful, to repeal prop Criticism of the Jury:Jurors Amanda Cooley, Carrie Bess and Marsha Rubin-Jackson published Madame Foreman: A Rush to Judgement? They describe why they felt there was reasonable doubt despite personally believing Simpson might be guilty. Because it was published only a few months after the verdict and before the other attorneys and detectives published their books, it is considered an accurate picture of what the jury believed when they acquitted Simpson. Critics panned the book, and it became a source of embarrassment for the authors as critics claim it proves many of their claims about the jury. Misunderstanding of DNA evidence: Toobin, Rantala, and Bugliosi all claim the jurors misunderstood the DNA evidence in the case. Rantala based this on the claims they made in Madame Foreman. Bess wrote she thought the blood at the crime scene belonged to Simpson's children while Cooley wrote she thought the blood actually belonged to criminalist Andrea Mazzola. In Outrage, Bugliosi opined they misunderstood the defense's argument because "contamination cannot change someone's DNA into someone else's" which is what the jurors apparently believed. Toobin wrote they misunderstood the facts of the case regarding the DNA evidence. Jackson wrote she thought Simpson's blood at the crime scene was there before the murders happened. Bess also admitted to not knowing that Simpson's blood was on the glove found at his home that Fuhrman allegedly planted. Cooley admitted to discarding blood evidence without any justification at all. The Juror Beatrice Wilson admitted that "I didn't understand the DNA stuff at all. To me, it was a waste of time. It was way out there and carried absolutely no weight with me." The jurors stopped claiming there was reasonable doubt about the DNA evidence after learning that both of the forensic DNA experts for the defense, Henry Lee and Edward Blake, had rejected the contamination claim that Scheck and Neufeld argued. Blake also admitted that was the reason why he was dropped from the witness list. Cochran mentioned Blake in opening statements but never produced him as a witness, and in closing arguments, Clark had mentioned Blake's absence as proof the results were reliable. Dismissal of domestic violence being racially motivated: Clark wrote that she believed the jury dismissed Simpson's abuse of Nicole for racial reasons. She wrote that "race trumped gender" and that they identified with the abuser rather than the victim due to race. Shapiro, Dershowitz, and Uelman also agreed with Clark. Dershowitz stated: "the jurors were black first, women second". Uelman stated their research suggested that black women typically are opposed to interracial marriage and would be hostile to Brown. Detective Mark Fuhrman was also accused of opposing interracial couples, but he was labeled a racist for this and many other reasons, while the African-American jurors who felt the same way were not. The jurors called the domestic violence argument a "waste of time," and juror Brenda Moran said "this is a murder trial, not a domestic violence trial". They claim they discarded it because there were no new incidents of abuse since 1989 but a 911 call of an incident eight months before Brown's death was presented at trial and again during summation. The jurors also claimed that they did not believe Brown thought her life was seriously in danger, but one of the documents they saw at trial was a will stating her wishes in the event of her death. In 2016, Carrie Bess's statement regarding Nicole continuing her marriage to Simpson despite the abuse was consistent with victim blaming: "I lose respect for any woman who takes an ass-whoopin' when she don't have to. Don't stay under the water if it's over your head, you'll drown". Writing for Bustle, Caitlin Gallagher criticized Bess and labelled her comment as "unsettling" and "wholly intolerable". Very notably, Bess would later claim that acquitting Simpson was revenge for the Rodney King beating, a case in which she sympathized with King, the African-American victim, in stark contrast to the white Nicole, who she blamed for being beaten by Simpson, implying that her motives were based on racism rather than principles: "Back then, we took care of our own, but now, you're on your own". Bill Hodgman concluded that the black jurors were not able to connect the domestic abuse with the murder, while Clark claimed that they understood it fully but simply did not care about Nicole. In O.J.: Made in America, African-American journalist Sylvester Monroe addressed the racial issues involved in the trial and claimed that his mother had said that had Simpson been accused of beating and murdering his first wife, Marguerite L. Whitley, who was African-American, "this would not have been the trial of the century, and his black ass would be in jail". Shapiro wrote that the jury consultants stated that "black women often will be defensive and even protective of black men who are accused of such behavior by white women." Dismissed juror Jeanette Harris was cited as an example of this. She concealed her domestic abuse so she could be on the jury but then denied it so she could stay on the jury and then minimized it after being dismissed in order to protect Simpson, even after his domestic abuse had been proven. Darnel Hunt opines that the worst part of the prosecution's case was the indifference by contemporary African Americans to the domestic violence. The revelation of the abuse had turned public opinion against Simpson, but his support among African Americans remained relatively unchanged. The tension over Interracial marriage in the United States stems from it once being criminalized. These laws were created by the white majority and were indisputably motivated by racism. All of the jurors were raised at a time when those laws were still in place in some parts of the country before finally being ruled unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia in 1967. The son of the first interracial couple married in Virginia after that ruling was Ezra Edelman, the director of O.J.: Made in America. The jurors stopped claiming the abuse was irrelevant after Lenore E. Walker revealed that she was dropped from the witness list by the defense because her research concluded that over 80% of murdered spouses who are victims of abuse are killed by their abusers. Rubin-Jackson later apologized to Denise Brown, who became an advocate for survivors of domestic violence, for calling it a waste of time. The strong public reaction to Brown's letters and statements that were later ruled inadmissible as hearsay spurred passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, which Clark and Douglas referred to as the "O.J. rule". The act was a direct response to the Simpson case and included provisions that required mandatory arrests in domestic violence situations, allowed prosecution of abusers even if the victim doesn't testify, and provided hearsay exceptions in domestic violence situations so statements made by the victim are admissible even if they are unavailable for cross-examination. After the trial, researchers reported increased reporting, arrests, and harsher sentences for those convicted of domestic violence. Bias against the prosecution: Bugliosi wrote that "there can be little question - though no one could expect any of the Simpson jurors to admit it - that most members of the jury was biased against the prosecution and in favor of Simpson." and that "Other than when a killer is apprehended in the act, I have never seen a more obvious case of guilt. All of the evidence - not some or most of it - points irresistibly to Simpsons guilt and his guilt alone" and claims the jury was biased against the prosecution and the police and made absurd arguments for discarding evidence and specifically cites the bloody footprint in Simpson's Bronco as proof of this. Police found a trail of bloody footprints in Browns blood made by the killer leading from the crime scene to the alleyway where cars are usually parked and a faint one inside Simpson's Bronco. Bugliosi said they could have convicted Simpson based solely on that but they discarded it and claimed absurdly that Fuhrman could have planted it there. Alan Dershowitz stated the jury "wanted to let Simpson go" and cited their dismissal of Allan Park's testimony for "trivial" reasons as evidence of this. Park testified that Simpson's Bronco wasn't there when he arrived that night at Rockingham and no one answered the intercom or appeared to be home and presumably saw Simpson arrive that night at his house but Bess said she dismissed Park's testimony because he didn't know how many cars were parked in Simpson's driveway, which had nothing to do with his testimony. Bess also said she discarded the evidence of Simpson's blood at the crime scene because she believed Vannatter could have planted it there when he returned to Simpson's home that evening even though the crime scene wasn't even there. Shelia Woods discarded all of the DNA evidence at the crime because she incorrectly thought all of it was found on the back gate, and she found that suspicious. Cooley admitted to discarding blood evidence without any justification at all. In Ezra Edelman's 2016 documentary O.J.: Made in America, Carrie Bess said she believed "90% of the jury" actually decided to acquit Simpson as payback for the Rodney King incident, not because they believed in his innocence, and when asked if she believed the decision was correct, she merely shrugged indifferently. Following the acquittal, Bill Hodgman claimed that in conversation with the deputy sheriff who had released the jurors, the sheriff had witnessed reunions and celebrations between the jurors and their families and heard numerous times that the acquittal was indeed revenge for Rodney King. Juror Yolanda Crawford, however, denied Bess's claim, and said that the verdict was due to the prosecution's mistakes, such as presenting Fuhrman as a witness and having Simpson don the gloves, while also voicing her displeasure at what she perceived as Cochran's attempts to sway the jury with racial hints such as wearing an African-style tie. In an interview with Meredith Vieira, she said the verdict may have been different had they seen the photos of Simpson wearing the Bruno Magli shoes that he denied owning. However, the sole black juror in the civil case that was dismissed stated afterwards that she would have hung the jury had she stayed because she thought all 31 photos of Simpson wearing those shoes were forgeries. All of the jurors expressed a belief that fraud had taken place, but during the subsequent civil trial, Daniel M. Petrocelli had deductively disproven all of the blood planting conspiracy claims made at the criminal trial by Scheck. Petrocelli noted that the evidence used to disprove those claims was available at the criminal trial which led to further criticism that the jury discarded evidence and that the verdict was a racially-motivated jury nullification. The only fraud claim that could not be deductively disproven was Fuhrman planting the glove at Simpson's home, but there was no physical or eyewitness evidence to support this. Jeffrey Toobin wrote that the defense was planning on making that claim months before the trial began because that was the only explanation for why that glove was found at Simpson's home. The only two arguments made to support that claim were Simpson's struggling to put on the gloves and the Fuhrman tapes which suggested he was capable of such conduct. The investigation into the Fuhrman tapes found no evidence of wrongdoing and instead found evidence that he was playacting for the Hollywood screenwriter like he later claimed, and Shapiro admitted that Simpson was acting (as the prosecution claimed) when he appeared to struggle to put on the gloves. Vincent Bugliosi wrote that the conspiracy allegations were designed to explain incriminating evidence that the defense couldn't refute. Simpson's blood on the Bundy back gate, Brown's blood on the sock, the bloody footprint in Simpson's Bronco and the location of one of the bloody gloves (Simpson's home) couldn't be explained by either contamination or incompetence so the defense made conspiracy claims of fraud instead. When the prosecution began offering evidence refuting the contamination claim and demonstrating the irrelevance of the mistakes made, the conspiracy allegation expanded to claim that all of the evidence was planted, including the blood which Simpson himself had already admitted on tape to Lange and Vanatter he had bled in his home, driveway and Bronco after cutting himself the same night Nicole and Ron were killed. Bugliosi also pointed out in Outrage that Simpson himself never once accused the police of conspiring to frame him or pursuing the wrong man, he and his team gave conflicting alibis to the public (Simpson told Alan Park that he overslept and had a shower, while Robert Shapiro claimed that Simpson was playing golf in Chicago), he apologized to Lange and the police over the telephone during the Bronco chase and conceded that the police were "just doing their job", and that the racism-based conspiracy allegations were something that Shapiro, Cochran and Scheck thought up themselves after the trial had begun. Bugliosi added that though the LAPD had a reputation for brutality against African Americans, they had never once been accused of framing or attempting to frame any suspects, proven when nobody came forward to back the defense's conspiracy claims up, and pointed out that Simpson deliberately chose to waive his right to testify on the witness stand in front of the jury (who Bugliosi cited specifically as the twelve people who could have sent him to prison for life) to proclaim his innocence during the trial, since it would have involved being cross-examined by Clark and Darden, and only decided to tell his version of events following his acquittal due to double jeopardy laws that protected him from being prosecuted again. In O.J.: Made in America, Carl E. Douglas admitted that after the final jury had been selected, Simpson whispered in Cochran's ear, "If this jury convicts me, then maybe I did do it." Bugliosi has cited Daniel Petrocelli's cross-examination of Simpson during the civil trial in which Simpson denied ever beating Nicole or owning the Bruno Magli shoes despite evidence proving that he was lying as one of the main reasons that Simpson was found liable for both deaths. Darnel Hunt wrote that African American distrust of the police is not unfounded, but the claim of a wide-ranging police conspiracy was entirely implausible. Hunt said the jury accepted every fraud claim the defense made without question, and that is what later led to their criticism after those claims were refuted. Years later, some of the jurors still reiterate those claims. In 2016, juror Shelia Woods stated she still thinks that Simpson's blood on the back gate at Bundy was planted by the police despite the blood being photographed there prior to Simpson's blood being drawn from his arm. Prosecutor William Hodgman was supposed to be Clark's co-counsel but was replaced with Darden after he became hospitalized. During a press conference, Johnnie Cochran claimed that the prosecution were merely using Darden as a black man to boost their case, which caused the jury to consider Darden a token black assigned to the case. Mark Fuhrman wrote feeling the same way about Darden. Jeffrey Toobin claimed that everything Cochran was saying about Darden was basically "Uncle Tom" and expressed his disgust at Cochran's behavior. Reversal of opinion by some jurors and defense attorneys: Several jurors have reversed their previous opinions of Simpson's innocence. In 2016, Carrie Bess admitted that while she still believes that acquitting Simpson as payback for Rodney King was the correct decision in the atmosphere of the 1990s, she regrets the not guilty verdict following Simpson's arrest in Las Vegas, and labelled Simpson as "stupid" for getting himself into more trouble. Juror number nine, Lionel Cryer, a former member of the Black Panther Party who notably gave Simpson a black power raised fist after the verdict, said that in retrospect, he would render a guilty verdict. Juror Anise Aschenbach, who initially voted guilty before changing her vote, stated she regrets the decision and believes Simpson is guilty because he is not looking for the "real killer" like he promised he would. As of 2021, Carrie Bess remains the only author of Madame Foreman who has not apologized to either the Browns or Goldmans for the verdict, the book or her comments about Nicole, and who continues to assert that acquitting Simpson as payback for Rodney King was not an incorrect decision. In Outrage, Bugliosi pointed out that after the verdict was read, while Johnnie Cochran was the only one who appeared happy to the point that he hugged Simpson from behind, Shapiro and Kardashian both looked rather shocked, while Bailey looked indifferent, the latter three which Bugliosi cited was uncommon for defense attorneys who had successfully acquitted a client they truly believed to be innocent. In O.J.: Made in America, film director Peter Hyams, who had worked with Simpson in Capricorn One, claimed that he had discussed the possibility of Simpson's guilt with a friend, who had admitted that in order for Mark Fuhrman to successfully frame Simpson, he would have to know that Simpson had no alibi whatsoever and that he was not risking his own job or life as well, since Fuhrman would have been facing the death penalty himself if he had attempted to manufacture or plant evidence in a double homicide case which itself warranted capital punishment (as this preceded Gil Garcetti's decision to reduce Simpson's maximum possible sentence from execution to life without parole), and went on to admit that he believed Simpson was the killer. Scheck refused to give a definitive answer as to whether or not he truly believed all the evidence against Simpson had been planted as he had claimed at the trial, claiming that it was not his place to believe and that he is not omniscient. Bailey, who had since been disbarred for attorney misconduct and was the only one allowed to express his personal opinion, continued to assert without any valid explanation or proof that Fuhrman single-handedly planted the glove to frame Simpson, and when asked what motive Fuhrman would have, Bailey merely responded that Simpson had married a white woman, which he described as a "capital offense in Fuhrman's eyes". In an interview with Barbara Walters, Robert Kardashian admitted that he had doubts about Simpson's innocence due to the blood evidence. Kardashian, who was close friends with Nicole, would later sever his ties with Simpson. Criticism of the prosecution: Prosecutor Hank Goldberg published The Prosecution Responds: An O.J. Simpson Trial Prosecutor Reveals what Really Happened (1999) and wrote that the verdict was the result of a "perfect storm" of mistakes by investigators, prosecutors, and the court, all taking place in the aftermath of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi published Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O. J. Simpson Got Away with Murder. Bugliosi primarily attributes the verdict to poor decisions by the prosecutors but added that poor stewardship by Judge Lance Ito and the change of venue that he claims resulted in a jury that was hostile to the prosecution contributed as well. Inaccurate estimate of Simpson's blood draw: According to Goldberg, Hodgman, Darden and Marcia Clark, the principal mistake made in the case was during the preliminary phase when Thano Peratis incorrectly estimated how much blood he drew from Simpson. He estimated initially that he withdrew 8 mLs from Simpson, but the records show that only 6.5 mLs was accounted for, and the defense alleged that 1.5 mLs of Simpson's blood was missing. That mistake threw the prosecution on the defensive as Scheck claimed it was missing due to fraud. Peratis was scheduled to testify again early in the trial to clarify, but he became hospitalized, and the jury never heard him correct his estimate until the rebuttal stage of the trial, after Scheck had already made all of his blood planting claims. The glove demonstration: It was prosecutor Christopher Darden who asked to have Simpson try on the gloves at trial. In O.J.: Made in America, Marcia Clark claimed that she had implored Darden not to have Simpson try the gloves on, and they had fought many times about it. Though Darden accepted, Bailey fooled him into having Simpson try them on, stating that if he didn't, the defense would. The gloves not fitting was national news because of the perceived impact it had on the jurors and also universally recognized as a prosecutorial blunder. Bugliosi was very critical of Darden and wrote that asking Simpson to don the gloves was akin to asking Simpson if he was guilty and expecting him to reply affirmatively. Juror Brenda Moran said she acquitted Simpson because the gloves didn't fit, but juror Lionel Cryer said the glove demonstration was pointless because it was obvious they had changed from their original condition because Darden produced a new pair of the same type gloves, and they fit Simpson just fine. In O.J.: Made in America, Simpson's sports agent, Mike Gilbert, claimed that before the glove demonstration, he advised Simpson to stop taking his arthritis medication so that his hands would swell and not fit the gloves. On The Rich Eisen Show, however, defense attorney Carl E. Douglas disputed Gilbert's claim as preposterous, and said that the defense team was unaware that there would be a glove demonstration at all, even though Bailey had already admitted in O.J.: Made in America that they were aware of the coming demonstration and that he had fooled Darden into having Simpson try the gloves on so that it would be seen as a mistake on the prosecution's part and not the defense's. Failure to introduce incriminating evidence: Prosecutor William Hodgman, prior to being replaced as Clark's co-counsel, decided not to introduce the evidence of the Bronco chase, the suicide note, the items found inside the Bronco and the video of Simpson's police interview. Clark agreed and chose not to present it after Hodgman was replaced. Bugliosi was very critical of Clark's decision because that evidence was very incriminating - Simpson admitted in the police interview that he cut his finger and bled all over his house, driveway and Bronco the same day as the murders, he gave conflicting alibis to the public (he told Alan Park the limo driver that he overslept and then had a shower when Park testified that he had seen Simpson dressed in black clothes enter his house moments earlier, and Robert Shapiro claimed that Simpson was in Chicago at a golf conference the night of the murders), he apologized in his letter (which Robert Kardashian read to the press on live television) to the family of Ron Goldman for what could only be his murder because they had never even met, he took his passport with him when he fled implying he intended to leave the country and brought a disguise kit so he wouldn't be recognized. Bugliosi stated that after both Simpson and Al Cowlings were arrested, Cowlings was asked if he believed Simpson committed the murders, and Cowlings conceded that the physical evidence spoke for itself. Clark agreed with Bugliosi that the evidence was incriminating yet defended her decision and noted the public was aware that his actions implied guilt yet thousands of people were supporting his attempt to flee prosecution and were sympathetic to his feelings of guilt. Jeffrey Toobin added that the jury was already aware of the Bronco chase, the suicide note and the items found in the Bronco because they had watched the event on TV and decided to discard it nonetheless. Dropping the domestic violence portion of the case: Prosecutor Marcia Clark was the one who decided to drop the domestic violence portion of the case halfway through presenting it. Darden wrote that the domestic violence was the motive for the murders. Vincent Bugliosi wrote he would have gone into more detail about it and noted that the abuse had turned public opinion against Simpson and opined that it would have also turned the jury against him as well if Clark and Darden had presented it better, writing that juror Brenda Moran claiming that domestic abuse being irrelevant to murder was the same as claiming that overeating was irrelevant to obesity. Daniel M. Petrocelli credited the difference in the outcome in civil trial to the jury being receptive to the argument that domestic abuse is a prelude to murder. Darden wrote that the presentation of that part of the case was hampered by Judge Ito ruling the letters and statements by Nicole inadmissible as hearsay. Witness accounts were admissible, but Ito again delayed the prosecution from calling them until after all the forensic evidence had been presented. By then, Darden wrote, the jury was exhausted and appeared disinterested in hearing anymore about the abuse. Clark claimed she dropped it because she felt the DNA evidence in the case was insurmountable, but the media speculated it was due to the comments by dismissed juror Jeanette Harris, and Darden confirmed that to be true. Harris was a victim of domestic violence but failed to disclose it and was dismissed as a result. But afterwards, she gave an interview and called Simpson's abuse of Brown "a whole lot of nothing" and said other jurors on the panel felt the same way. In Evidence Dismissed and Murder in Brentwood, Detectives Lange, Vannatter and Fuhrman all wrote that they considered the history of domestic violence to be a weak motive for murder as well. Changing the venue: In Outrage, Bugliosi criticized the prosecution for holding the trial in downtown Los Angeles rather than Santa Monica where the murders took place. Alan Dershowitz stated the prosecution did this intentionally, but Toobin wrote that changing the venue is the domain of the courts, not the district attorney, and the trial "could never have been held anywhere except the criminal courts building in downtown Los Angeles" because that was the only area at the time that could accommodate it. Darden wrote in In Contempt that it was hypocritical to criticize the defense for allegedly trying to seat black jurors while also criticizing the prosecution for not wanting to hold the trial in Santa Monica so there would be fewer black jurors. During the jury selection process, both the defense and the prosecution were accused of intentionally trying to seat or exclude black jurors respectively which was illegal because California courts barred peremptory challenges to jurors based on race in People v. Wheeler. Mark Fuhrman: In Outrage, Bugliosi criticized Marcia Clark and Chris Darden for their remarks about Mark Fuhrman in their closing arguments, in which Clark referred to him as a racist, "the worst the LAPD has to offer" and essentially wishing a person like him never born, and Darden claiming that he would never again refer to him as "Detective Fuhrman" on the basis that he did not warrant the title, both of them essentially strengthening the defense's claims about race. Bugliosi cited a case which Fuhrman had worked on in October 1994, in which Arrick Harris, an African-American male narcotics dealer, had been falsely accused of murdering a white male who he had previously threatened to kill, but had later been freed based on evidence that Fuhrman himself had discovered, and criticized Clark for not bringing it up to refute the defense's claim that Fuhrman was racist. Detectives Lange and Vanatter agreed with Bugliosi, stating that Clark went too far and her closing argument actually did more to damage the LAPD's credibility in the eyes of the jury, while Bugliosi also criticized Clark and Darden for not confronting Fuhrman about his history of using racial epithets from the beginning and instructing him to tell the truth on the witness stand if asked about it by the defense in order to portray himself as an honest witness. Vannatter conceded in an interview that the LAPD contacted the wrong prosecutor. Lange and Vannatter also criticized Fuhrman for committing perjury and then pleading the fifth. Lange in particular criticized Fuhrman for using racial epithets in such a disparaging way on tape without expecting any possible future consequences. In Outrage, Bugliosi also cited that following the trial, co-prosecutor Bill Hodgman had claimed that he had evidence of Fuhrman working hard to exonerate more African-Americans, and criticized him for not producing it. Bugliosi also pointed out that fourteen uniformed officers, most of whom had never met Fuhrman, arrived at the crime scene and saw only one glove before Fuhrman arrived, and faulted Clark and Darden for producing only two of them instead of all fourteen to clarify that there was only one glove, and thus it would have been impossible for Fuhrman to plant a second glove or for Lange, Vannatter or Fung to plant any evidence at Simpson's estate without being seen, only unless it was a conspiracy between several different unconnected divisions of the LAPD, the LAPD crime lab, and the two private crime labs which also received the blood samples, which Bugliosi dismissed as an impossibility. Fuhrman himself claimed that to believe that he planted the second glove would be as absurd as believing that he planted Kato Kaelin, Simpson's friend who was sleeping at Simpson's guesthouse on the night of the murders and who testified that he heard three loud thumps like an earthquake coming from the same area where Fuhrman found the second glove, and pointed out that while Johnnie Cochran and F. Lee Bailey were accusing him of planting the glove by placing it in a plastic bag and stuffing it in his sock so it would not be seen, they did not once subpoena his clothes from the night of the murders to look for any actual physical proof of their allegations, which proved that both Cochran and Bailey knew that Fuhrman was innocent of any crimes but were deliberately lying to the predominantly-black jury to play on their emotions and get a racially-motivated jury nullification. In 2006, one year after Cochran died, in an interview with Judith Regan for If I Did It, Simpson conceded that he "must have" dropped one glove at the crime scene because that was where the police found it, directly contradicting Cochran and Bailey's claims that a different killer had left two gloves at the crime scene and Fuhrman had planted one of them on Simpson's property to frame him. Though the interview was not broadcast until 2018, the book was published in 2007, and even though the book included Simpson's concession, Bailey continued to assert until his passing in June 2021 that Fuhrman planted the glove. In O.J.: Made in America, Fuhrman claimed that in 1985, he had responded to a 911 call from Nicole and witnessed Simpson threatening Nicole with a baseball bat, and had to threaten Simpson with physical violence to make him drop the bat, but Nicole declined to press charges. During the trial, both Cochran and Bailey cited this encounter as Fuhrman's motive to frame Simpson, but claimed that it was based on his dislike for interracial couples, conveniently omitting that Fuhrman had stopped Simpson from potentially murdering Nicole in 1985. After the trial, pressure was put on district attorney Gil Garcetti by the African American community to prosecute Fuhrman, which resulted in Fuhrman pleading no contest to a felony perjury charge and being fired from the LAPD, which angered Bugliosi among others, since the same had not been applied to the defense witnesses and experts who later admitted that they had deliberately committed perjury in Simpson's favor about facts which actually were relevant to the case. Ironically, Fuhrman, who was the prosecution's star witness, was the only one who was convicted on charges stemming from the Simpson trial, which led to Bugliosi referring to him as a "victim". Both Bugliosi and Fuhrman asserted Section 128 of the California Penal Code that states that planting evidence in a capital offense warrants the death penalty, but in a televised debate between Bugliosi and Dershowitz on a June 11, 1996 edition of Larry King Live, Dershowitz dismissed Section 128 as a lie and continued to assert that Fuhrman and Vannatter had planted evidence and lied on the witness stand. Writer Dominick Dunne was quoted as saying that it seemed as if using racial epithets had briefly become a worse crime than murder, and criticized Johnnie Cochran for repeatedly describing his defense as a "search for truth" while he himself was knowingly lying and manipulating the jury based on facts irrelevant to the case itself. Fuhrman compared his situation to that of Joseph Wambaugh, a former LAPD detective who had written a semi-fictional novel, The Choirboys, in which the same racial epithets were uttered by the main characters, and pointed out the hypocrisy that nobody had accused Wambaugh of racism or white supremacy while he had been condemned by the public for doing the same for a fictional screenplay, and criticized the prosecution for abandoning him instead of presenting the screenplay or any witnesses who would prove its fictitious nature, such as the agent in charge of its publication or the screenplay's producers. Criticism of the defense- "Race Card": "It will upset the black jurors; it will issue a test and the test will be: Whose side are you on? The side of the white policeman or the side of the black defendant and his very prominent and black lawyer." — Christopher Darden, arguing against allowing the defense to ask questions about using the word “Nigger”., In Contempt In July, polling suggested that 90% of African Americans did not believe that race was a factor in the murders of Brown and Goldman. The controversy of the June 27 Time Magazine cover, which had a darkened mugshot of Simpson, seemed to have generated sympathy for Simpson due to allegations of racism, even though he had been accused of a double murder. Shapiro admitted the defense played the "race card from the bottom of the deck". Dershowitz, who later criticized Cochran for introducing race into the trial, later wrote in Reasonable Doubts: The Criminal Justice System and the O.J. Simpson Case that "we played the only card we could". In O.J.: Made in America, Jeffrey Toobin agreed with Darden's initial request of banning racial issues from the trial because they were irrelevant and "would blind the jury...and cause extreme prejudice to the prosecutions case" as Darden stated. Toobin opines that while Cochran's closing statement is best known for his phrase, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit", the question that Cochran was truly putting to the jury was "Whose side are you on?" Dismissed juror Jeanette Harris confirmed that the jury was dividing themselves along racial lines as a result of race being introduced into the trial. Cochran's statements during his summation also suggest this as well: "If you grew up in this country, then you know there are Fuhrmans out there" was a naked appeal to racial solidarity to the black jurors according to Toobin and his statement "acquit Simpson and send the police a message" was an appeal for a jury nullification for the murders according to Alan Dershowitz. After the verdict was read, juror Lionel Cryer gave Simpson a Raised fist black power salute. Though Robert Shapiro was the attorney who introduced race into the trial through an interview with Jeffrey Toobin, he clashed with Johnnie Cochran several times over the extent of racial issues in the case. "My position was always the same, that race would not and should not be a part of this case. I was wrong. Not only did we play the race card, we dealt it from the bottom of the deck." — Robert Shapiro, Interview with Barbara Walters Robert Shapiro wrote in The Search for Justice: A Defense Attorney's Brief on the O.J. Simpson Case that Cochran introducing race into the trial is the primary factor that drove the dream team apart: "Race is not the issue...A defense built on race will never help us." Shapiro wrote that Cochran used race to argue for a jury nullification in his summations, Bailey used it to argue that Fuhrman planted the glove, Scheck used it to argue his blood planting claims, and Dershowitz used it to support his police conspiracy allegation. Regarding Bailey, Scheck and Dershowitz's conspiracy claims, Shapiro wrote he doesn't believe that Simpson was framed by the police. After his closing argument, in which he openly compared Fuhrman to Adolf Hitler, Cochran received numerous death threats, and hired bodyguards from Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, which particularly angered Shapiro, who is Jewish, as Farrakhan was famous for his black supremacist and anti-Semitic views. Fred Goldman, Ron Goldman's father and also Jewish, was also angered by Cochran's comments and referred to him as a "sick man" and "the worst kind of racist himself" for speaking about racism and associating himself with Farrakhan at the same time. After the verdict, Shapiro stated in an interview with Barbara Walters that he would never work with Cochran or speak with Bailey again, though he would still be open to working with Scheck. Sociology professor Harry Edwards stated that "Simpson's sentiments were, 'I'm not black, I'm O.J.'" regarding his apathy towards racial issues. Vincent Bugliosi criticized the prosecution in Outrage for not using aspects of Simpson's personal life to refute the defense's claim that he was a hero of the black community - he left his black wife for a white woman, had affairs only with white women, had two biracial children, moved into a white neighborhood and after divorcing had a white girlfriend. The defense was aware of all of this and made attempts to conceal it. Robert Kardashian admitted during an interview with Barbara Walters that, prior to the jurors visiting Simpson's home, the defense had staged his home and switched out his photos of white women for black women and children, including switching a picture of a nude Paula Barbieri (Simpson's girlfriend at the time, who was white) for a Norman Rockwell painting from Cochran's office. In O.J.: Made in America, Carl E. Douglas defended the decision to redecorate Simpson's home to manipulate the jury, and stated that had the jury been predominantly Latin, they would have had placed pictures of Simpson wearing a sombrero, hired a mariachi band to perform outside his house, and placed a piñata at the top of the staircase. In Outrage, Bugliosi pointed out that instead of defending Simpson or attacking the physical evidence that implicated him for the murders, Cochran and Scheck dedicated their entire closing summations to attacking the LAPD, in stark contrast to normal criminal trial procedures, accusing Lange, Vannatter, Fuhrman and the LAPD crime labs of conspiring to frame Simpson for the two murders and lying in court without providing any evidence. While many accused the defense of using the race card to play on the jury's emotions and manipulate them into distrusting the LAPD in order to get a "not guilty" verdict, both Cochran and Douglas disputed it, claiming that they played the "credibility card", even though they had put particular emphasis on Fuhrman's past of using racial epithets instead of finding actual evidence to prove he may have been a dishonest cop in general. In O.J.: Made in America, while Douglas continued to claim that they played the credibility card instead of the race card, he also claimed that it was hypocritical of Robert Shapiro to decry the defense for playing the race card and that to not do so would have been contrary to their oaths as advocates for Simpson. In an interview about Outrage, radio host Larry Elder claimed that he had spoken with his friend, Barbara Berry Cochran, Johnnie Cochran's ex-wife who Cochran himself had physically abused numerous times during their marriage, and asked her if she believed Cochran truly believed in Simpson's innocence, but Barbara responded that Cochran did not concern himself with his clients' guilt or innocence and the only thing he was interested in when taking a case was his fee. Unethical behavior: Jurors Cooley, Bess and Rubin-Jackson wrote in A Rush to Judgement? that Barry Scheck was the most persuasive attorney at the trial. Vincent Bugliosi, Darnel M. Hunt, Daniel M. Petrocelli, and defense witness Henry Lee all wrote that Scheck made many misleading claims in trying to convince the jury there was reasonable doubt about the physical evidence. Hunt wrote in O. J. Simpson Facts and Fictions: News Rituals in the Construction of Reality that Scheck "floated ridiculous conspiracy theories to the jury". Jeffrey Toobin wrote in The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson that "the most remarkable thing was that Scheck actually accomplished this goal...Schecks arguments presupposed a conspiracy so immense within the LAPD that, analyzed objectively, it seemed a practical impossibility but Scheck made his theories real for the jury and for that reason he was primarily responsible for that verdict." In Triumph of Justice: Closing the Book on the O.J. Simpson Saga, Petrocelli explains how he disproved all of Scheck's blood planting claims. Scheck implied that Vannatter could have planted Simpson's blood at the crime scene when he returned later that evening to Simpson's home to deliver his blood reference vial to Dennis Fung, but the crime scene was actually at Nicole Brown's home. Scheck then suggested that another police officer could have "sprinkled Simpson's blood at the crime scene" but the prosecution demonstrated that the blood was photographed being there prior to Simpson's blood being drawn by the nurse. Scheck then implied that Vannatter could have planted the victims blood in the Bronco when he returned to Simpson's home, but the Bronco had been impounded prior to his arrival and wasn't even there. Scheck then suggested that the victims' blood in the Bronco could be the result of contamination in the LAPD crime lab, but defense witness Lee wrote in Blood Evidence: How Dna Is Revolutionizing the Way We Solve Crimes the prosecution disproved that claim when the second collection from the Bronco returned the same matches as the first collection, proving they weren't contaminates. Scheck then produced two witnesses who claimed there was no blood in the impounded Bronco implying the blood was planted by the police afterwards, but the prosecution produced photographs of the blood in the impounded Bronco which disproved that fraud claim as well. The New York Times reported that "Mr. Simpson's "dream team" has fostered public mistrust of defense lawyers in general because of their 'shotgun approach' of attempting to shoot down every scrap of evidence against Mr. Simpson with a barrage of alternative (i.e., conspiracy) explanations" and in 2014, Scheck acknowledged that public perception of defense attorneys changed as a result of his blood planting claims at the trial. Darden wrote in In Contempt that nearly all of Scheck's blood planting claims were originally made by Stephen Singular in his book proposal for Legacy of Deception: An Investigation of Mark Fuhrman and Racism in the L.A.P.D. The key difference is that he claimed that Fuhrman, not Vannatter, planted all of the blood evidence. Singular cited an unnamed source in the LAPD but both Johnnie Cochran and Carl Douglas dismissed Singulars claims because Fuhrman never had access to Simpson's reference vial. Reporters Philip Bosco and Tracie Savage both reported that another unnamed source in the LAPD had told them the match of Nicole Brown's blood on the socks in September and allegedly before the test was even done. The defense argued this meant the blood was planted because the source already knew what the result would be and wanted Savage testify to that. Like Singular, neither reporter revealed who the source was, and Ito ruled it was irrelevant for them to do so because the claim was "bogus": the test was actually done on August 4, a month before not after, the source revealed the match. Savage has since then disowned that claim entirely. Other members of the dream team produced witnesses that gave misleading testimony. Cochran produced LAPD videographer Willie Ford who showed a video of Simpson's bedroom without the socks present which Cochran implied proves they were planted, but Ford admitted the video was made after the Socks had already been collected. Blood spatter expert Herbert MacDonell stated that the only way the stains observed on the socks could be made was if the blood was planted on the sock after it had been taken off but admitted that the same pattern can be produced if Simpson simply touched the socks after removing them. Willie L. Williams, the LAPD police chief at the time who himself was African-American, stated regarding the defense's conspiracy claims: "It is unconscionable that you would paint a picture where you would have detectives, police officers, civilian laboratory people and others decide to plot against Mr. Simpson, carry it out, all keep quiet and not have anyone break it,” Williams said. “It’s too fanciful to imagine. . . . It’s something that belongs down in Disneyland.” Witness perjury: Sylvia Guerra, a housekeeper for Simpson's neighbor claimed that she and another housekeeper, Rosa Lopez, were both offered $5,000 to lie and say that they saw Simpson's Bronco parked in front of his house on the night of the murders. The tow truck driver John Meraz and William Blasini Jr both testified that there was no blood in the impounded Bronco despite photographs of the blood that clearly demonstrate they were lying. None of the perjurers for the defense, however, were punished for their crimes, which angered many, since Mark Fuhrman, the prosecution's star witness, was prosecuted and fired from the LAPD after much pressure from the African-American community for his perjury about facts irrelevant to the case, making his conviction the only one as a result of the case. In Outrage, Bugliosi claimed that Fuhrman was a victim in the case and that his lying under oath about racial epithets did not rise to the level of indictable perjury because it was immaterial to the actual facts of the case. Unreliable Expert Testimony: Simpson's Dream Team retained many high-profile experts. Many of them were initially approached by the prosecution but decided to represent Simpson instead because of the larger retainers. The conventional wisdom at the time is that experts can only truthfully represent one side of a case because it is presumed that their interpretation of the facts would be the same regardless of who retains them. The Simpson case challenged that belief because experts in this case gave testimony that favored Simpson but contradicted many of their claims they had made in previous cases. In the aftermath of the verdict, many of the experts began walking back their claims due to the negative impact the case had had on their careers. Lenore Walker: The defense retained renowned advocate for victims of domestic abuse, Lenore E. Walker. Cochran said she would testify that Simpson doesn't fit the profile of an abuser that would murder his spouse, but she was dropped from the witness list for "tactical reasons" after her report on the case concluded that "80.3% of murdered spouses who were also victims of abuse were in fact killed by their current or ex-husband." Walker's colleagues were appalled by her decision to defend Simpson and accused her of betraying her advocacy for a $250,000 retainer by knowingly giving testimony that contradicted her own research as her report demonstrated. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence wrote of Walker's assessment of Simpson "it is absolutely the opposite of the assessment of most battered women’s advocates in this country.” During the civil trial, Walker dropped Simpson as a client and testified against him instead for the Goldmans. Walker would later write that “After the O.J. Simpson trial, I was dismissed from a position on the national crisis helpline advisory board of directors, my theories were openly denigrated…and I was disinvited to participate in many conferences with funding from the same government sources that previously invited me along with others who continued to participate. Michael Baden: Michael Baden, a forensic pathologist, testified that the murders happened closer to 11:00pm, which is when Simpson has an alibi and stated that Brown was still conscious, standing, and took a step after her throat was cut and that Goldman was standing and fighting his assailant for ten minutes with a lacerated jugular vein. Daniel M. Petrocelli wrote in Triumph of Justice: Closing the Book on the Simpson Saga that Baden's claims were nonsensical and he tried to avoid making them again at the civil trial. The claim that Brown was standing and conscious after her throat was slashed was untenable because the injury severed her cervical spinal cord which would have paralyzed her from the neck down. His claim of Goldman's ten minute struggle was also untenable as well because it only takes five minutes for someone to completely exsanguinate from such an injury. Baden admitted his claim of Goldman's long struggle was inaccurate at the civil trial and would later say that testifying for Simpson was a mistake because he was consistently being discredited for the claims that he made at the trial that he later admitted were not true. Vincent Bugliosi wrote in Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O. J. Simpson Got Away with Murder that Baden's claims were "silly" and claimed that he knowingly gave false testimony in order to collect a $100,000 retainer because the week before he testified, Gerdes admitted that Goldman's blood was in Simpson's Bronco despite Goldman never having an opportunity within his lifetime to be in the Bronco. Christopher Darden opined in In Contempt that prosecutor Brian Kelberg irritated Baden when he implied that he was being "rented out" by Simpson and he responded by making those absurd claims to get back at him. Fredrich Rieders: In Blood Evidence: How DNA is revolutionizing the way we solve crimes, Lee writes that Fredric Rieders was initially approached by the prosecution to interpret the results from the EDTA testing, but he chose to represent Simpson instead. His decision ended up being a mistake because the defense ultimately withheld key details that would have resulted in him not testifying. His testimony that the presence of EDTA suggested the blood was planted from the reference vials gave the appearance of scientific credence to the defense's fraud claims. However, the defense neglected to mention to Rieders that one of those blood drops had been photographed being there prior to the reference vial existing, proving it couldn't have come from there. Furthermore, Detective Vannatter, who was accused of planting the other blood drop on the sock never went inside the evidence van where the socks were stored which proves he didn't plant that blood either. FBI special agent Roger Martz later demonstrated that the results were actually false positives from having tested the reference vials first before the evidence samples. Thomas Lambert accused Rieders of knowingly giving false testimony at the criminal trial in exchange for a $46,000 retainer because there was clear evidence then the results were not reliable: the blood on the back tested positive for the presence of EDTA despite it being impossible to have come from the reference vial, the substrate control for that blood drop tested positive for EDTA despite having no blood on it at all, the results for the two evidence samples and Agent Martz's unpreserved blood were exactly the same and nowhere near the levels seen in the reference vials, and Rieders himself said that it was impossible for Agent Martz to have that much EDTA in his unpreserved blood. In Triumph of Justice, Petrocelli wrote that Robbin Cotton had conclusively proven at the civil trial that it was impossible for the blood on the socks to have come from Brown's reference vial by showing that the blood in the reference vial was more degraded than the blood on the sock, which is impossible if that was its source. Afterwards, Rieders conceded "this might not be blood from a purple top test tube". In Outrage, Bugliosi opined if the tests had been done correctly, they would have conclusively disproven the blood planting claims. In Run of his Life, Toobin wrote that the prosecution did prove that no EDTA was present, but the testimony was "highly technical". Lee in Blood Evidence wrote that the testimony of Rieders and Agent Martz was almost incomprehensible and opines that the jury believed Rieders over Martz because he was a renowned scholar even though Martz had evidence and literature to backup his conclusions. Henry Lee: Bugliosi in Outrage wrote that Lee knowingly gave misleading testimony and allowed Scheck to imply he supported the fraud claims. Lee's "somethings wrong" claim implying the police planted one of the blood swatches at the crime scene because it had a wet transfer stain on it was nonsensical because that swatch doesn't incriminate Simpson: the blood belonged to Brown and was found at the crime scene next to her body. Furthermore, Bugliosi wrote that Lee was aware that Scheck was arguing that Dennis Fung had tampered with the swatches and seriously doubted that the Chinese-born scientist really believed that the Chinese-American criminalist would participate in a racially-motivated conspiracy to frame Simpson. In Triumph of Justice, Petrocelli wrote that Henry Lee clarified his statements and said "I never meant to imply there was scientific fact to show that any LA police officer planted or did anything, cheating, with any evidence when I said "somethings wrong". I did not testify to that." Regarding the wet transfer stain, the prosecution said the wet stain was simply due to one of the swatches still being wet and Lee admitted "I offered that same explanation since day one". John Gerdes: According to Dr. Henry Lee in Blood Evidence: How DNA is revolutionizing the way we solve crimes, Gerdes "had no experience whatsoever in forensic DNA matching" and made more factually inaccurate claims than any other witness at the criminal trial. Darden wrote in In Contempt that all of Gerdes's claims were misleading conjecture. None of the defense attorneys in their books about the trial - Shapiro, Dershowitz, Cochran, or Uelman - mention Gerdes even though the jurors in A Rush to Judgement? specifically cite him as the one who raised what they believed to be reasonable doubt about the DNA evidence. In Outrage, Bugliosi opines the reason why is because "contamination cannot change someone's DNA into someone else's" which is what the jurors believed to be true Howard Coleman, president of GeneLex, a Seattle-based forensic DNA laboratory called the contamination claim "smoke and mirrors" and said "everything we get in the lab is contaminated to some degree. What contamination and degradation will lead you to is an inconclusive result. It doesn't lead you to a false positive." Lee explained in Blood Evidence why he rejected Gerdes's claims. Gerdes claimed that contamination could happen from repeated use of the reagents used for Amplification but neglected to mention that all the reagents tested negative for contamination. Petrocelli wrote in Triumph of Justice that Gerdes lied when he said that Collin Yamauchi spilled Simpson's blood in the lab. Gerdes claimed that the results from the second Bronco collection were unreliable because the car had been burglarized but admitted the DNA matches are the same before and afterwards, disproving that claim. Rantala wrote that Gerdes most misleading claim came when he implied that the evidence locker was in the PCR amplification room when he said that Yamauchi took the PCR extraction product back to "the same location". Rantala wrote that Gerdes said that so his contamination claim would be plausible but was being openly dishonest because he toured the lab and knew that wasn't true. Lee wrote in Blood Evidence that "Gerdes conceded the PCR extraction product was not returned to the specific area near the extraction room or evidence-handling area but was taken to a completely separate area located a comfortable distance away making a contamination scenario highly improbable". Pundits were skeptical of Gerdes claims too because he was not the defense's first choice: renowned forensic DNA expert, Edward Blake, was supposed to be making the case for contamination but was dropped from the witness list after rejecting it. They also noted that Gerdes claimed it was impossible to distinguish blood from the reference vials from blood from the body despite Rieders demonstrating just that the week prior using EDTA. That false claim notwithstanding, his testimony wasn't reliable they said because he was clearly pandering to the defense: all of his contamination occurred through random carelessness in the lab yet the only three matches he said were valid were the same three the defense claimed were planted while the remaining 58 matches were all false positives despite admitting that has never happened before. The substrate controls that are used to determine if contamination like he was suggesting occurred were also coincidentally all false negatives. So Gerdes was claiming that the contamination only got on the evidence items despite they and the substrate controls all being handled interchangeably at the same time. Clinical molecular geneticist Brad Popovich called Gerdes's claims "ridiculous". Thomas Lambert was given high marks for his cross-examination of Gerdes forcing him to admit "there's no direct evidence of contamination in any of the test results that I looked at in this case." Prosecutor and DNA expert George "Woody" Clarke wrote in Justice and Science: Trials and Triumphs of DNA Evidence that Gerdes's contamination claim was rejected by every DNA expert at the criminal trial. The only reason it appeared convincing to the jury is because Judge Lance Ito allowed Gerdes to testify for six hours about contamination that occurred years ago in other cases instead of narrowing his testimony to only incidents in this case of which there were none. Criticism of the court: Judge Lance Ito was criticized by Marcia Clark, Christopher Darden, Vincent Bugliosi, Daniel Petrocelli, Darnel Hunt, and Jeffrey Toobin for his alleged poor stewardship of the trial. The criticism focused on allegations that he failed to control the court room and was unduly influenced by the media. Critics often compare his stewardship to Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki who presided over the civil trial against Simpson. Failure to control the courtroom: Defense attorney Robert Shapiro wrote in The Search for Justice that Ito gave Scheck and Cochran more latitude than what was normally permitted. For instance, he allowed Johnnie Cochran and Barry Scheck to interrupt Marcia Clark's summation sixty-one times. Out of courtesy and as a matter of legal strategy, legal teams generally avoid interrupting opposing counsel's closing statements. Bugliosi wrote in Outrage that "Cochran and Scheck were deliberately making frivolous objections (the proof is that Ito sustained only two out of the seventy-one objections)...yet Judge Ito did not once hold Cochran or Scheck in contempt of court or even once admonish them to discontinue their outrageous, unprofessional, and yes, dishonorable conduct." Bugliosi added that had he been the one prosecuting Simpson, he would have said the following to Ito: "Judge Ito, you know, everyone in this courtroom knows that all of these objections, particularly those by Mr. Scheck, are completely frivolous, and designed solely to destroy the effectiveness of my final address to the jury. In all deference to you, Judge Ito, I'm not asking you, I'm demanding that the next time Mr. Scheck interrupts me with a silly objection, you hold him in contempt of court, and if he continues after that, I want Scheck in lockup. If either Mr. Cochran or Mr. Scheck continues to object and you let them get by with it, again in all deference to you, my remarks to you as well as to them will not be made here at the bench, but in open court, before the jury and the millions of people who are watching. I can assure these defense attorneys that they are not going to get by with this." Bugliosi criticized Ito for allowing the defense to argue that evidence was tampered with despite him ruling "there is no concrete evidence of tampering". Fuhrman criticized Ito for allowing Cochran to say during summations that "he lied when he said he didn't plant the glove" despite Ito ruling "It is a theory without factual support." Prosecutor and DNA expert George "Woody" Clarke in Justice and Science: Trials and Triumphs of DNA Evidence criticized Ito because the only reason Gerdes' contamination claim appeared convincing to the jury was because Ito allowed him to testify for six hours about contaminations that occurred years ago in other cases instead of narrowing his testimony to only incidents in the Simpson case, of which there were none. Petrocelli opined in Triumph of Justice that "Ito had given the defense lawyers an astonishing amount of leeway...Ito did so because he believed, beyond any doubt...that Simpson would be found guilty so he gave the defense every break and benefit so that when the inevitable appeal was filed, the verdict would be bulletproof." Comparisons with Hiroshi Fujisaki: Superior Court Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki presided over the wrongful death civil trial and was praised for his stewardship as compared to Ito's at the criminal trial. Fujisaki gave neither Daniel M. Petrocelli, the plaintiff's attorney, nor Robert Baker, Simpson's attorney, any leeway beyond the scope of his rulings. Fujisaki prohibited all conspiracy claims because the defense could not provide any evidence supporting them and from attacking the LAPD, saying "attack the evidence, not the LAPD". Fujisaki only allowed Gerdes to testify about contamination only in the Simpson case, because the other cases were "irrelevant because it did not address the actual DNA test results in Mr. Simpson's case." Gerdes later admitted there was no contamination in the Simpson case. Fujisaki also prohibited the defense from referencing Fuhrman's racism or perjury at the civil trial because the defense could not "show it had anything directly to do with this case" and the perjury "was not material to any facts in this case". Fuhrman did not testify at the civil trial after invoking his Fifth Amendment rights, but Fujisaki ruled that the evidence that Fuhrman found was admissible because it was witnessed by the other officers present. Toobin wrote in Run of his Life that Fujisaki was given high marks for his stewardship of the civil trial. Robert Baker later said of Fujisaki, "He’s just a good judge, unbiased and fair." Criticism of the public's sympathy for Simpson- Influence on the court: Ito's decision to allow the trial to be televised was widely criticized. In 1998, Christopher Darden published his book, In Contempt, in which he criticized Ito as a "starstruck" judge who allowed the trial to turn into a media circus and the defense to control the court room while he collected hourglasses from fans and invited celebrities into his chambers. In an interview with Barbara Walters, Darden asserted his view that Johnnie Cochran was the one controlling the courtroom, not Ito. Media manufactured reality: Bugliosi also criticized the media for sympathizing with Simpson throughout the entire trial, specifically for referring to his lawyers as the "Dream Team" or "the best defense money can buy" and for ridiculing Marcia Clark for her private life and appearance to the point that the National Enquirer printed nude pictures of her provided by her first husband's mother, and referring to Chris Darden as an "Uncle Tom" following an interview with Johnnie Cochran for helping to prosecute an African-American celebrity, which Bugliosi claims increased the defense's credibility in the jury's eyes while pointing out that Robert Shapiro was actually famous as a plea bargain lawyer who had never once tried a murder case, Johnnie Cochran as a civil rights lawyer who also had never tried a murder case (although the Cochran firm claimed that they had tried and won many criminal cases, Playboy magazine contacted them to name one such case, but never received an answer), Alan Dershowitz as an appeal lawyer (most notably enabling Claus von Bülow to have a second trial following his conviction for attempting to murder his wife, Sunny), and that though F. Lee Bailey was in fact a notable criminal trial lawyer, he himself was a convicted felon of DUI and had actually lost his most recent major criminal case, the Patty Hearst bank robbery, which was almost twenty years before the Simpson trial. Damage to race relations: The public was aware of incriminating evidence that had been ruled inadmissible that the jurors never heard, yet African Americans were observed celebrating Simpson's acquittal despite this evidence never having been refuted at trial because it was never introduced. This led to a White backlash response to the acquittal that was later credited with why voters in California passed Proposition 209 that ended Affirmative Action the following year. The political impact the acquittal had on White Americans perception of issues of racism in the United States was summarized as thus: "What was different and disturbing about the racial talk last week was that so many white liberals sounded fed up. Many middle class professionals who have always supported integration, maintained office and social friendships with African Americans, and resisted the backlash against affirmative action, were appalled by what black novelist Dennis Williams called the "end zone dance" over the Simpson acquittal. It made them wonder aloud whether they really knew African Americans as well as they thought they did, and whether the racial gap wasn't much wider than they had believed." — Newsweek, October 16, 1995 If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer: If I Did It is a book written by Simpson and Pablo Fenjves, in which Simpson puts forth a hypothetical description of the murders. The book was written in conjunction with a 2006 interview between Simpson and Judith Regan. In both the book and interview, Simpson told his version of events on the night of the murders, where he initially admitted that he was present at the crime scene with an accomplice named Charlie, but later claimed that he had indeed been holding a knife and that he could not remember crucial details, claiming instead that he had lost consciousness and then seen Nicole and Ron's bodies, and very notably conceded to Regan that he had dropped one of the gloves there because the police found it. Since Simpson opened up the interview with the words, "No one knows this story the way I know it, because I know the facts better than anyone," his words were a direct contradiction of what Johnnie Cochran and Robert Shapiro had claimed at the criminal trial, that Simpson was in Chicago on the night of the murders and would not be able to know what happened. Though both the book and interview were cancelled due to public outrage, the publication rights of the book were awarded to the Goldman family to partially satisfy the civil trial judgment and was retitled If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer. In 2018, Fox aired a special entitled O.J. Simpson: The Lost Confession? which featured footage from the interview, as well as analysis and discussion by host Soledad O'Brien, Regan, Darden, Nicole's friend Eve Shakti Chen, anti-domestic violence advocate Rita Smith, and retired FBI profiler Jim Clemente. It aired with limited commercial time, which was used to broadcast public service announcements addressing domestic violence. In the decade-old interview, Simpson initially used phrases like "I would" and "I'd think" in his hypothetical description of the event, but later moved to using first-person phrasing with sentences like "I remember I grabbed the knife", "I don't remember except I'm standing there", "I don't recall", and "I must have." The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story: In 2016, FX developed and aired the first season of American Crime Story, which focused on the Simpson trial. Though the series was met with wide acclaim and won nine Emmy Awards, it was not without controversy, particularly for what was perceived as its sympathetic portrayals of Simpson and Kardashian and its unfairly maligned portrayal of Fuhrman.
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
In August 2021, Gabby Petito, an American woman, was killed by her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, while they were traveling together on a van life journey across the United States. The trip began on July 2, 2021, and was planned to last four months; however, Petito disappeared in late August. After Petito went missing, Laundrie raised suspicion when he drove Petito's van from Wyoming back to his parents' house in North Port, Florida, and refused to talk about her whereabouts. He was deemed a person of interest in the case, and an arrest warrant was issued on charges of making withdrawals using Petito's debit card. Laundrie departed his home in Florida on September 13 and was reported missing on September 17. On September 19, Petito's remains were found at Bridger–Teton National Forest in Wyoming. An autopsy found she was killed by manual strangulation. After a month of speculation around Laundrie's whereabouts, and an extended search of the area around his Florida home, his skeletal remains were discovered in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on October 20. On November 23, it was announced that Laundrie died due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The FBI later announced that Laundrie admitted to killing Petito in his notebook, which was found near his remains. The Petito case gained national attention due to the couple's social media activity, police body camera video footage, 9-1-1 emergency dispatch call recordings, and eyewitness accounts. Gabby Petito: Gabrielle Venora Petito was born and raised in Blue Point, New York. She was the eldest of six siblings and half-siblings. In 2013, Petito and her step-brothers appeared in a music video to raise awareness about gun violence, in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. She graduated in 2017 from Bayport-Blue Point High School in Bayport, New York, where she had met Brian Christopher Laundrie. From September 2017 to January 2019, she lived in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, and worked as a hostess and in the kitchen of a restaurant in Wilmington. She applied to Cape Fear Community College, but did not attend. In March 2019, Petito began dating Laundrie and moved in with him and his parents in North Port, Florida. Petito and Laundrie worked at a Publix location in North Port, she as a pharmacy technician, and he in the grocery department. Both Petito and Laundrie quit their jobs at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In late 2019 and early 2020, the couple embarked on a cross-country drive from New York State to California, and along the journey visited Las Vegas, Yosemite National Park, Pismo Beach and other points of interest. In March 2020, Petito celebrated her 21st birthday in Nokomis, Florida. She and Laundrie visited Sope Creek, Georgia, in June 2020, and the two were engaged the following month. In December 2020, Petito purchased a 2012 Ford Transit Connect van converted into a camper, in which to take their next cross-country trip. She then worked fifty hours per week at Taco Bell and as a nutritionist, while Laundrie worked at an organic juice bar. Petito documented her life and travels on social media sites, including YouTube and Instagram, where she described her interests as "art, yoga, and veggies". Disappearance- Road trip: On June 17, 2021, Petito and Laundrie visited Blue Point, New York, for her brother's graduation ceremony. From there, on July 2, 2021, they departed in the Ford Transit van for their trip. That month, they visited Monument Rocks, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Mystic Hot Springs, and Canyonlands National Park. Domestic disturbance incident: On August 12, 2021, a witness called 9-1-1 claiming that a couple, later identified as Laundrie and Petito, was fighting in front of the Moonflower Community Cooperative in Moab, Utah. The caller told the dispatcher they saw a man slap a woman, and after the two ran up and down the sidewalk, the man hit the woman again, and then drove off. Another witness described the incident to police, saying that Petito and Laundrie were talking "aggressively", and that Petito "was punching him in the arm." The witness said it looked like Laundrie was trying to leave Petito and take her phone with him, before she eventually climbed into the driver's seat, moved over into the passenger's seat, and asked, "Why do you have to be so mean?" before they drove off. Officers from the Moab City Police Department (MCPD) identified the van near the entrance to Arches National Park, and conducted a traffic stop. They found Petito crying heavily in the passenger seat, where she told officers, captured on police body camera footage: Yeah, I don't know if some days, I have really bad OCD. I was just cleaning and straightening up, back in the ... I was apologizing to him and saying, "I'm sorry, that I'm so mean," because sometimes I have OCD and sometimes I can get really frustrated. Not like mean towards him. I just like, I just, my vibe is, I'm in a bad mood. And, I was just saying I'm sorry if I'm in a bad mood. I just ... I had so much work I was doing on my computer this morning. ... And, I just now quit my job to travel across the country and I'm trying to start a blog. I have a blog. So I've been building my website. I've been really stressed and he doesn't really believe that I could do any of it, so, we just been fighting all morning and he wouldn't let me in the car before. Petito first downplayed the physical altercation, but after the officer pointed out marks on her arm and face, and told her to "just be honest," she told him that Laundrie "kept telling me to shut up", and "grabbed my face," which had produced an injury. Laundrie told the officer: I said, let's just take a breather and let's not go anywhere, and just calm down for a minute, she was getting worked up. And, then she had her phone and was trying to get the keys from me. I was just trying to, I know I shouldn't push her. I was just trying to push her away to go, let's take a minute and step back and breathe and see, she got me with her phone. Petito told the officer that she hit Laundrie first, and asked the officers to not separate them. In their report, the officers wrote: At no point in my investigation did Gabrielle stop crying, breathing heavily, or compose a sentence without needing to wipe away tears, wipe her nose, or rub her knees with her hands... The male tried to create distance by telling Gabby to take a walk to calm down ... She did not want to be separated from the male and began slapping him. He grabbed her face and pushed her back as she pressed upon him and the van. Neither Petito nor Laundrie wanted to press charges as a result of the incident, which was characterized by police as a mental breakdown rather than as domestic violence, which would have required an arrest. The police separated the couple, arranging for Laundrie to spend a night at the Bowen Motel in Moab, and for Petito to stay in the van. The MCPD is currently investigating whether or not its officers handled the case in accordance with the department's policies. Its chief of police took a leave of absence amid the investigation. Last reported activities and sightings: On August 17, Laundrie took a flight from Salt Lake City to Tampa, Florida, leaving Petito to herself. Petito stayed several days at a Fairfield Inn and Suites hotel near Salt Lake City International Airport, according to staff, checking out on August 24. It was later explained by the Laundrie family attorney that he made the trip to "obtain some items and empty and close the storage unit to save money as they contemplated extending the road trip." Laundrie returned on August 23 to rejoin Petito and continue the trip. Petito's mother said that she last spoke to her daughter on August 25 and had been told that the couple were traveling from Utah to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. On August 25, the final post was made on Petito's Instagram account, which consisted of photos of herself taken in front of a butterfly mural outside of a restaurant in Ogden, Utah. Eyewitness accounts of the couple thereafter were as follows: -A witness claimed that, on August 27 between 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm, she saw Laundrie and Petito together at Merry Piglets, a Tex-Mex restaurant in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Per the witness, Laundrie had an argument with the manager, waitress, and hostess, apparently about money, and was "aggressive." The witness said she later saw Petito return to the restaurant, crying and apologizing for Laundrie's behavior. Restaurant staff confirmed via Instagram that the couple were indeed at the restaurant. -Another witness reportedly contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to report the activities and coordinates of a slow-moving white van and a "generic" young white man "acting weird" near the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping area on August 26, 27 and possibly 28. She posted a video to TikTok with her observations. According to the witness, an FBI agent said that her account, with regard to finding Petito's body, "tipped us off to the right place." -A woman claimed in a TikTok video that on August 29, she and her boyfriend gave Laundrie a lift from an area near Colter Bay Village, after seeing him hitchhiking alone. She reported that Laundrie "freaked out" upon learning that they were going to Jackson Hole instead of Jackson, Wyoming, disembarking the vehicle at 6:09 pm near the Jackson Lake Dam, less than thirty minutes after being picked up. The witness found it "weird" that Laundrie offered $200 for the 10 mi (16 km) ride and did not appear to be very dirty, despite claiming that he had been camping for days. -Another witness stated that she picked up Laundrie from the Jackson Lake Dam area at 6:20 or 6:30 pm on August 29, dropping him off at the entrance to the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping area. Laundrie offered gas money for the twenty minute ride, but did not want to be taken further than the entrance of the campground, which was several miles from the van. According to the witness, Laundrie acted "antsy" about getting out of the vehicle before it got closer to the campsite. -On August 27, a text from Petito's phone was sent to her mother which read, "Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls." The message raised concerns for Petito's mother, who said Stan was Petito's grandfather and that she never referred to him by his first name. The last message, sent on August 30, said, "No service in Yosemite." Her mother expressed uncertainty about who sent these messages. On September 1, 2021, Laundrie returned alone to his parents' home in North Port, Florida, in the Ford Transit. On September 6 and 7, 2021, Laundrie and his parents went camping at Fort De Soto Park in Pinellas County. Investigation- Petito and Laundrie reported missing: On September 11, after not hearing from her daughter since late August, Petito's mother filed a missing person report. Four days later, Laundrie was named a person of interest. Laundrie's parents hired a lawyer, and based on his advice, remained silent, refusing to talk to anyone about the case. Police surveilled the Laundrie home and saw him leave on September 13. On September 15, they saw his car return; police believed the person who exited the car and entered the home was Laundrie. The following day, North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison told reporters, "All I'm going to say is we know where Brian Laundrie is at". On September 17, Laundrie was reported missing by his parents, who claimed not to have seen him since September 13. It was at this time that police realized that they had mistaken Laundrie's mother for Laundrie himself on September 15. After obtaining search warrants, police seized the Ford Transit, an external hard drive, and the Laundrie family's Ford Mustang from the North Port residence. Discovery of Petito's remains: On September 19, human remains matching the description of Petito were found at the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping area in Wyoming, not far from where the Ford Transit was previously observed. Her identity was confirmed and an autopsy determined that the manner of death was homicide by "blunt-force injuries to the head and neck, with manual strangulation", which occurred three to four weeks before the body was found. Search for Laundrie and discovery of remains: On September 23, the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming issued an arrest warrant for Laundrie due to his unauthorized use of Petito's debit card to obtain $1,000 or more between August 30 and September 1. The FBI took material to match Laundrie's DNA from his home. On October 5, in an interview with ABC News, Laundrie's sister encouraged him to turn himself in to authorities. Two days later, Laundrie's father joined investigators in searching for Laundrie at the T. Mabry Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County, Florida, focusing on areas he used to frequent in the reserve and the adjacent Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park. On October 20, Laundrie's skeletal remains, confirmed by forensic dentistry, and some of his belongings were found in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in an area that had recently been underwater due to flooding. His cause of death could not be determined by an autopsy, and his remains were given to an anthropologist for further examination. On November 23, it was announced that the anthropologist concluded that Laundrie died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and that the manner of death was suicide. Laundrie's admission: On January 21, 2022, the FBI revealed that after examining Laundrie's notebook, they found he admitted to killing Petito, then deceiving people through text message that she was still alive. He was officially blamed for Petito's death by authorities afterwards. The FBI Denver Division closed out the investigation, stating that "The investigation did not identify any other individuals other than Brian Laundrie directly involved in the tragic death of Gabby Petito. The FBI’s primary focus throughout the investigation was to bring justice to Gabby and her family." The text of the note was later released by the Laundrie family lawyer. The note contains an account where he says he killed Petito after she had fallen and injured herself saying "I ended her life. I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but now I see all the mistake I made.". The note ends with his plans for suicide saying “I am ending my life not because of a fear of punishment but rather because I can’t stand to live another day without her.” Experts however, contend that Laundrie's account doesn't line up with investigator's findings. Michael Alcazar of John Jay College of Criminal Justice believed Laundrie was "Someone who doesn't want to own up to what he did. He's trying to find justification for the actions he did." Public interest:The case sparked more public interest and coverage on news and social media than other missing persons and murder cases. This heightened interest was attributed to several factors including: the refusal by Laundrie and his parents to comment on Petito's whereabouts; the amount of content on social media documenting their lifestyle; the video footage of the Utah traffic stop; the audio recording of the 9-1-1 call; the video posts by witnesses which provided a lot of publicly available evidence; the idea that the couple was young and attractive and in a romantic excursion gone wrong; the domestic violence incidents in their relationship; an increase in interest in cross-country van-dwelling trips due to the COVID-19 pandemic; as well as the general increase in interest in true crime-related entertainment in the preceding decade. There was speculation that the case is linked to the murders of Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner, which occurred in Moab around the same time Laundrie and Petito were there. Public involvement in the case included witnesses and others posting their observations and theories on social media, protests outside the Laundrie home demanding answers, a candlelight vigil for Petito in her hometown, and donations to the Gabby Petito Foundation established by her parents to support searches for other missing persons. The increased interest in the search for Laundrie and Petito led to the discovery of five bodies of other missing persons. While some posts on social media regarding the case were helpful in the investigation, many of them have been characterized as insensitive, unhelpful, monetized, motivated by increased exposure, or outright misinformation. The high volume of media coverage in the case was cited among some commentators as an example of missing white woman syndrome, or the over-emphasis of news about individuals based on their race, gender, age, or appearance. In comparing Petito's case to others, several outlets noted the relative lack of media attention towards the roughly 710 indigenous people that were reported missing in Wyoming between 2011 and 2020.
Saturday, June 18, 2022
Carl Junior Isaacs Jr. was a formerly unidentified man from Delavan, Wisconsin whose skeletal remains were found alongside Turtle Creek in Bradford, near Clinton, Rock County, Wisconsin on November 26, 1995. He remained unidentified until February 2019, when the DNA Doe Project announced they had made a tentative identification, but his name was withheld until June 14th, 2022. Prior to his 2022 identification, Isaacs was known as the Rock County John Doe and John Clinton Doe. Discovery: His nearly complete skeleton was found by a hunting party at approximately 9:00 AM within private property alongside the creek, in a remote, densely wooded 100-acre area owned by the hunters. His skeleton was mostly complete and articulated, lying on his belly, with his hands over his head, while his head and back were partially covered by a denim jacket. He still wore age-fitting clothes, save for a shoe, and was located on a steep embankment, ten feet from the creek and four feet from the barbed wire fence of the property. It was initially estimated that the deceased died in the fall or winter of 1994, about one year before he was found, but later comparisons with more modern forensic facility research suggested that he may have died in the summer of 1995, around five months before his discovery. The cause of death is currently unknown, as no signs of trauma were found on the decedent: a homicide was deemed unlikely, and no other causes could be determined. Analysis of his hair found no conclusive traces of cocaine, codeine or morphine, making it unlikely that he had a long-term opioid addiction; however, this does not exclude the possibility that he was intoxicated or that he took hallucinogenic drugs before his death. It was commonly believed that he died from hypothermia from getting soaked in the creek, perhaps after getting intoxicated and becoming disoriented as a result. His skull was cremated while the rest of his skeleton was buried in Johnstown Center Cemetery, Rock County, Wisconsin. His DNA and dental records were available. Physical description: The Caucasian male stood approximately 66'', or between 5 feet 4 inches or (1.65 m) and 5 feet 6 inches (1.70 m). His weight was estimated to be approximately 140 lb (64 kg). He was estimated to be between 17 and 20 years old. He had straight teeth and seemed to have received good dental care with only one or two fillings, and still had his wisdom teeth, with two having partially erupted and one being impacted. The decedent wore a T-shirt with the trademarked logo of the British heavy metal group Venom on the back, which contained a golden five-pointed star surrounded by a circle with a goat head at the center and the caption "Welcome to hell" (the shirt was a model sold at their 1987 tour); gray urban camouflage fatigues of small/medium size; a lined flannel red and green jacket with a plaid design; size medium/34 boxer underwear with a Bart Simpson design; and a 1993 size 9-1/2 Black Nike Air Bound basketball shoe. Only one of the shoes were found at the site, lying near the skeleton. The young man carried a distinctive pendant made from a dinner fork, shaped like the head of a goat. Other items found with the body were cigarette butts, a Budweiser disposable butane lighter with the caption "Proud to be Your Bud" printed on it, a tube of Carmex lip balm, and a black Aquatech watch. His clothes, pendant and hair suggest that he was a heavy metal music aficionado and, as such, familiar with metal subculture, but investigations in the local metal circles did not bring conclusive results about his identity. Several facial approximations were publicly released over time. The first reconstruction released by Project Edan in 2013 was considered to be inaccurate by authorities. The second reconstruction released in 2014 by the FBI was considered by official agencies to be the most accurate to date, depicting a 20-year-old youth with collar long, dark feathery hair and high cheek bones. A third, colored and age-regressed version of the FBI approximation, regressed to approximately age 16, was released to the public in February 2016 to help identification. Investigation- "River Guy": Several witnesses remember seeing, on October 16, 1994 around 5:30 PM, a young man in his early twenties near the same area where the body was found. The man, who was wearing similar clothing as found with John Clinton Doe, was seen running and stumbling in Turtle Creek, visibly intoxicated and distraught. Dubbed "River Guy" by local investigators, he was reported by witnesses to have fallen in the water two or three times, trying to climb up the embankment and yelling at bystanders, telling them to get away from him. He also mentioned being wronged by a woman named Mary and being a fugitive. He was then seen sitting on the creek bank after his ramblings. Contrary to the FBI approximation of JCD, the 1994 police artist facial composite of "River Guy" shows him as having a light beard. It was commonly believed by those close to the case that River Guy and John Clinton Doe were the same person. However, this hypothesis was challenged by the later forensic estimations based on body decomposition rates that JCD may have died later than originally determined, as late as May, 1995. As such this new range of the possible time of death (as late as the spring of 1995) did not correspond as closely with the date of "River Guy" sightings. The pendant: In 2010, the distinctive goat pendant was traced by the Rock County Sheriff's detective working the case to a Janesville area craftsman. Active in the local metal scene, the man claimed to have made the pendant as well as sold or given similar items to a dozen people. However none of these people could be traced back as John Clinton Doe. Isotopic analysis: Isotopic analysis of the bones conducted in 2014 with the help of Smithsonian Institution scientists showed that the young man was from or had spent a significant amount of time in the Midwestern area, around the Great Lakes, which includes the states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan. This, with the provenance of the goat pendant leads investigators to believe that the decedent was not living very far from where he was found. DNA Genealogy: At the request of the local law enforcement, in 2018 the DNA Doe Project took on case in collaboration with NCMEC, Fulgent Genetics, Aerodyne Research Inc., and Full Genomes Corporation and attempted to identify the body by using autosomal DNA, the web site GEDmatch and genetic genealogy to trace relatives. In February 2019, the DNA Doe Project announced they had tentatively identified John Clinton Doe. His name was not released immediately pending announcement by the Rock County Sheriff's office. Identification: On June 14, 2022 at 13:30 PM CST, the Rock County Sheriff's office held a press conference led by Sheriff Troy Knudson, in which the deceased individual was identified as Carl Junior Isaacs, Jr. Isaacs lived in Delavan, Walworth County prior to his death. He had a criminal history of burglary, petty theft, and destruction of property. In March 1992, Isaacs was sentenced to 5 years in prison for burglary and vandalism of golf carts and other property at the Delbrook Golf Course in Delavan. He was at three different prisons beginning in April of 1992. By the fall of 1993, Isaacs was imprisoned at the Oakhill Correctional Institute in Oregon, Wiscosin. There were periods of time in which he was released to house arrest and to a halfway house on Odana Road in Madison. In April 1995, Isaacs was at his mother's home in Walworth under house arrest. He disappeared from home on April 16, 1995 and was never seen or heard from again. A judge in Walworth County immediately signed an arrest warrant for Isaacs for probation violation. The warrant was renewed up through April 2018. The investigation into the manner and circumstances surrounding Isaacs' death was declared to be ongoing. According to Sheriff Knudson, Isaacs had not been reported missing prior to his death. When asked about a photograph of Isaacs displayed at the press conference, Sheriff Knudson said that Isaacs had contact with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, where the photo had potentially been taken.