CNN O.J. Simpson Trial

Simple as DNA

September 25, 1995

From 'CNN Presents' and Correspondent Art Harris


The Simpson trial was billed as "High Noon" for DNA. Faced with two murders no witnesses, and no weapons, prosecutor were banking on blood to tell the story through DNA tests pointing to one man, damning O.J. Simpson with his genetic fingerprints. But Simpson's lawyers had other suspects in mind.

With hired guns blazing, Simpson's lawyers tried to shoot down damning DNA evidence by targeting the police.

T. Lange

Detective Tom Lange of the Los Angeles Police Department, a lead investigator, was accused of bungling by Simpson lawyers. Lange found himself in the line of fire for eight days on the witness stand. With 27 years on the force and almost 300 homicides behind him, Lange told CNN in a rare interview he has never seen police work come under attack the way it has in this case.

"The defense is going to play whatever they can to achieve their end. I think that this more or less takes the onus off of their client and puts it on the police and essentially puts the police on trial," said Lange. (213K AIFF sound or 213K WAV sound)

On the stand in March, Lange described for jurors the scene of the crime: a river of blood, two bodies butchered beyond belief, and a curious trail of blood drops leading away from Nicole Brown Simpson's condo to O.J. Simpson's estate. They found blood on her back gate, blood in his driveway, blood in his front hall. And when they checked, they found blood in his white Bronco. Lab tests show the blood was O.J. Simpson's.

But blood matching O.J. Simpson wasn't the only blood found in places hard to explain. Blood consistent with the two victims was on the telltale glove behind Simpson's house and in his Ford Bronco. And blood matching his ex-wife's was on socks on his bedroom floor.

"That trail of blood from Bundy through his own Ford Bronco and into his house on Rockingham is devastating proof of his guilt."

-- Marcia Clark, Los Angeles County prosecutor

On top of that, prosecutors argued the gloves in question matched gloves Simpson had worn before, gloves they said Nicole bought him for Christmas. But the defense argued the gloves didn't fit.

Tom Lange said he's made murder stick with far less evidence than he's got on O.J. Simpson. "Evidence-wise, if I were to take my last 10 homicides and combine them, I didn't have as much evidence as we have in this one case."

Scientists say blood doesn't lie, and one prosecution expert told the jury blood drops near the victims had to be Simpson's, that the blood could have come only from one person, black or white, out of 170 million. Facing those odds, the defense went after the people who handled the blood -- police and lab technicians -- in a double-barreled attack that evidence was contaminated by bungling and a racist cop may have planted evidence to frame O.J. Simpson.

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