More than 20 years after O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife and a friend were stabbed to death, police revealed Friday they are examining a knife that was reportedly found at the home where the former football star was living at the time.
The announcement marked yet another twist in a case that’s had more unexpected turns than television’s best crime shows.
The knife was believed to have been recovered by a construction worker tearing down the house. The worker then gave it to an off-duty police officer who was working as a security guard at a filming location, police said.
It was unclear when the knife was found and how long it was held by the officer, who is now retired. The knife was being analyzed by a Los Angeles Police Department crime lab for DNA or other material that could possibly link it to the killings.
Capt. Andy Neiman stressed that the authenticity of the story was not confirmed and that investigators were looking into whether “this whole story is possibly bogus from the get-go.”
“It’s unusual how this all of a sudden becomes a huge story during this time,” Neiman added, referring to the popular “People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” anthology that is airing on the FX television channel.
Simpson was charged and acquitted in the slayings. Even if the knife is linked to him, legal experts say he could not be criminally charged again because of protections against double jeopardy.
The weapon used in the killings has been a mystery for decades. Other knives have surfaced during the case but were not linked to the crimes.
The bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and friend Ronald Goldman were found stabbed multiple times outside her home on June 12, 1994.
The discovery led to the so-called “Trial of the Century,” in which Simpson was represented by a team of high-profile attorneys led by the flamboyant Johnnie Cochran. A jury acquitted Simpson in 1995 after deliberating only four hours.
In 1997, a civil court jury found him liable for the slayings and awarded $33.5 million in damages to the victims’ families.
Simpson, who has always maintained his innocence in the killings, is now serving a sentence of nine to 33 years in a Nevada prison for a 2007 armed robbery and kidnapping conviction in which he tried to retrieve football memorabilia. He is eligible for parole next year.
His Las Vegas lawyer said he had not talked to Simpson about the knife but questioned who was in possession of it over the years.
“The only thing I’ve heard is that some cop claims some other guy claims he found a knife on some property,” attorney Malcolm LaVergne said. “From what I can see, there’s no chain of custody.”
Simpson becomes eligible for parole in 2017. If the knife turns out to be linked to him, that fact could be raised at his hearing.SHOW MORE