September 21, 1995
Web posted at 3:40 p.m. EDT
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- The O.J. Simpson jury will be allowed to consider both first- and second-degree murder convictions in the death of Ronald Goldman, but only first- degree murder in the death of Nicole Brown Simpson, Judge Lance Ito said Thursday.
Prosecution and defense lawyers both plan to formally rest Friday, when jury instructions are to be made. No further witnesses are planned.
Ito said evidence such as the gloves, knit cap and dark clothing could be argued to indicate premeditation in the killing of Simpson's ex-wife, but evidence indicating Goldman's presence was by chance allowed the jury to consider a second-degree conviction in his murder.
Defense attorney Gerald Uelmen argued against the prosecution's proposal to let the jury consider a second- degree murder conviction. He said there was no evidence in the record for such a finding, only speculation. "It invites the jury to compromise," Uelmen said.
But Deputy District Attorney Brian Kelberg said the jury is given an unjust choice unless it is able to consider second- degree murder. Kelberg said jurors may believe Simpson is guilty of murder, but not believe beyond a reasonable doubt that it was premeditated and deliberate.
With the jury getting the day off, Thursday morning's session was absorbed with defense objections to suggested jury instructions made June 23 by the prosecution at the end of its main case.
The defense dropped plans to recall state criminalist Gary Sims. Ito said Wednesday that Simpson's lawyers could bring back the prosecution witness to answer questions about a blood-stained sock found in Simpson's bedroom. The prosecution threatened to call two more witnesses to rebut Sims if he was recalled.
Closing arguments are expected to begin next Tuesday.
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