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Simpson: 'No feeling' about demolition of Rockingham estate

Brentwood estate
CNN's Anne McDermott reports from Los Angeles
Windows Media 28K 56K

New owner bulldozes O.J.'s mansion, Kato's guest house

July 29, 1998
Web posted at: 6:14 p.m. EDT (2214 GMT)

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- O.J. Simpson says he has "no feeling" about Wednesday's demolition of his former home in Los Angeles, the infamous "Rockingham house" from the former football star's sensational 1995 murder trial.

"Basically, I am not emotionally attached. I have some great memories of it, but I would have great memories of the L.A. Coliseum. And if they tore that down, I would still have great memories of it," Simpson told CNN's Greta Van Susteren in a telephone interview. "When I left it, I left it."

At the direction of the property's new owner, bulldozers on Wednesday demolished Simpson's former estate at 360 North Rockingham in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles. The tennis court was spared, but everything else -- including the 6,000-square-foot house where Simpson lived and the pool -- were demolished, said Laura Pfeiffer, a spokeswoman for the demolition company hired to do the work.

That includes the guest house where Brian "Kato" Kaelin heard a bump in the night shortly after Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman were stabbed to death in June 1994.

While some onlookers joked that perhaps police might find new evidence in the rubble, the police officers on hand were there only to control traffic. Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Eduardo Sunes said police aren't concerned about the possibility of finding any new evidence.

"What good would it be now?" Sunes said.

The new owner, an unnamed investment banker who bought the property for nearly $4 million, plans to build a new house in its place. He was recently quoted as saying that the house needed so many improvements that it was cheaper to demolish and rebuild.

Reporters once again converge on the Rockingham estate  

Simpson, who bought the house in the late '70s and lost it when a bank foreclosed on it in 1997, said he, too, might have torn down the house and rebuilt had he kept the property. However, he said at the time of his former wife's death that he was planning to leave the house and move to Florida.

As the walls fell, dust rose and at times obscured the mansion's rooms -- much to the approval of neighbors who said they were tired of the notoriety the mansion, which became a macabre tourist attraction, brought to their upscale neighborhood.

"This is what it takes to slow down the insane circus that Brentwood has been for the last 4 1/2 years. To the new owner, I say good luck. I hope the ghost of Nicole doesn't haunt you," said a Brentwood resident who would only identify herself as Elf.

"It makes me feel good because of my feelings of [Simpson.] It's the only retribution that he's getting -- if it even means anything to him," said a neighbor who identified herself as Betty.

After Simpson was charged with the murders of Brown and Goldman, the Rockingham property became a focus of his trial. Police found a bloody glove and other evidence on the property. Simpson claimed he was at the house at the time of the slayings.

The Rockingham estate was also where a slow-speed police chase of Simpson and friend Al Cowlings, driving a white Ford Bronco, ended with Simpson's arrest, before a live nationwide TV audience.

Simpson was acquitted of the murder charges. But a civil jury later found him liable for the slayings and ordered him to pay $33.5 million in damages. He is appealing that decision.

CNN's Greta Van Susteren and Reuters contributed to this report.
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