THE 911 BEEF
THE LOCALE: When Nicole separated from Simpson in January 1992 she rented a house (for $6,000 a month, I have heard) and moved there with the kids; she continued to live there until January 1994 when she moved to the Bundy condo where she was killed six months later. The house Nicole occupied in '92 and '93 was big, comfortable, and gracious; it was on a street with a romantic name, Gretna Green. ("Gretna Green" is a border village in Scotland where eloping English couples at one time went to be married. In fact, the Brentwood Gretna Green does remind one of a fairy tale ideal, somewhat.)
Like so many older but improved houses in Brentwood, that one displayed an open accessibility on the street: bright blossomed coral trees in the parkway, uncluttered well-tended front lawn, and spotless wide driveway. But at the building line the security of wrought iron gates limited a stranger's real access.
The house was on the west side of Gretna Green, just one door up from Shetland Lane. Thereby, it was just one block west of the local north-south thoroughfare, Bundy Drive, and within an easy walk to the fancy shops and boutiques of Brentwood Village to the south. The accompanying map [BRENTW'D.JPG] shows this location in relationship to Simpson's estate, and Nicole's later home, the condo on Bundy. Also shown (in magenta) is the most practical route between Rockingham and the Bundy condo.
THE INCIDENT: At about 10:00 pm on October 25, 1993, Nicole called the police dispatcher at 911 from her rented house at 325 S. Gretna Green Way, Brentwood, complaining that her ex-husband was there, he was "ranting and raving," and she was afraid he was going to "beat the (expletive) out of" her. There were two calls; in the first, Nicole simply asked that a policeman come, and the dispatcher said it would be done. Shortly later there was a second call in which Nicole was more clearly distraught, the situation had become urgent, and the dispatcher had her stay on the line.
NICOLE'S VERSION TO 911 DISPATCHER: Apparently from the conversation, Simpson had come once, kicked the back door in, and confronted Nicole on some issue, then gone back to his own home and returned to Nicole's place. Nicole said that he was not drunk or on drugs, and he was not armed. Kato, who lived in a detached room in back, was present outside during Simpson's second visit, and interacted with him some. During the phone conversation, Simpson can be heard raging in the background, and occasionally specific words can be made out.
The dispatcher asked what the beef was, and Nicole said Simpson had originally confronted her upstairs in her bedroom, and demanded a phone number; they went down to the kitchen where her personal phone book was, and in the course of that "...he took my phone book with all my stuff in it." Simpson can be heard disparaging "Keith," an apparent reference to Keith Zlomsowitch, a man Nicole had dated for about a month, half a year earlier, but continued to know. Then the dispatcher asks, "Is he upset with something that you did?" and Nicole answers, "A long time ago. It always comes back. (Simpson yelling in background)". A couple of comments from Simpson can be made out, but have no significance to the context of the conversation with the dispatcher.
The dispatcher continues on the phone with Nicole for awhile longer, Nicole eventually feels more comfortable and tells the dispatcher she is going to hang up. The police did come. The appearance of this house during the daytime from across the street is shown in Figure 1. [GRETNA_1.JPG]
SIMPSON'S OWN INDICATIONS: Insofar as Simpson kicked in the French doors at the back of Nicole's house it is implied that he came to her place in an angry mood, looking for a confrontation; the dispute did not begin after he was already there and then escalate. Part of his motive may have been to get her phone book -- to see who she was associating with -- since that is one of the actual results of his visit. It is also interesting that during the trial many instances of Simpson in a rage (and years earlier his physical violence) were described, but all of them involved situations where Simpson was drunk or had been drinking. However, in this case the dispatcher asks specifically, "Has he been drinking?" and Nicole says, "No." So, this 911 call seems to be an incident of Simpson in a rage different than all of the others that have been described.
Now, Simpson himself can be heard to say several things in his background rage...
1.) SIMPSON: Do you understand me? (inaudible) Keith is a nothing. A skunk, and he still calls me (inaudible)
2.) SIMPSON: I don't give a (expletive) anymore... That wife of his, she took so much for this (expletive) (inaudible)
3.) SIMPSON (After Nicole asks him to "Please leave"): I'm leaving with my two (expletive) fists is when I'm leaving. You ain't got to worry about me anymore.
4.) SIMPSON: You're not leaving when I'm gone. Hey! I have to read this (expletive) all week in the National Enquirer. Her words exactly. What, who got that, who? (inaudible)
LAPD OFFICER ROBERT LERNER: (Feb. 3, 1995 testimony). He, his partner Spencer Marks, and his supervisor, Sergeant Craig Lally, responded; and stayed for about an hour and a half. During that time, unknown to Lerner, a 30-minute audio tape was being made by Lally. (Tape played in the civil trial, but no transcript available to us.) Upon arrival they saw that Simpson's Bronco was stopped in the street, 4 to 6 feet from the curb, headlights and flashers on, ignition off. The substance of the conversations was solicited by the defense, but prevented by prosecution objections.
From the civil trial (Nov. 19, 1996), Atty. Baker to witness Lerner...
Q. Now, in terms of your conversations with O.J. Simpson, Mr. Simpson was upset about the people -- and he informed you of this -- that his wife was running around with, correct? A. Correct.
Q. And he was upset about the fact that she was, in fact, in his view and from his information, running -- having people in the house who were hookers, correct? A: He was concerned.
Q. And he was concerned that there was one person that he thought was bad for his kids and that his wife shouldn't associate with, and he didn't want him around the house; isn't that true?
Q. And that was a gentleman with the first name of Keith, correct? A. Yes.
Q. And he expressed that to you, that in fact, these people that were around the house had some sort of dealings with Heidi Fleiss, correct? A: That's what he indicated.
Q: And he was upset about that, those people being around his house where his kids were; he informed you of that, didn't he? A. Yes.
Q. And he also indicated to you, sir, that he never had intended, nor was he ever considering any physical violence to Nicole Brown Simpson that evening, correct? A. Correct.
Q. And he also indicated to you that the door that she said was broken, before that, she told you he broke -- it was broken before he ever went to the house; isn't that correct? A. That's what he claimed. [Contradicted by Kato elsewhere.]
KATO'S VERSION: Kato testified in the criminal trial (3/21-3/23, 3/27-3/28). Nothing about the content of the argument in the criminal trial testimony. In the civil trail testimony (11/19) Kato says that the oral sex incident between Keith and Nicole was "part of that" (part of the 10/25/93 argument). Also, Kato says that in the middle of the police interview at Gretna Green, Simpson asked him to go park the Bronco in the street correctly; Kato did. Eventually, Simpson left Gretna Green shortly before the police did.
Kato made several statements about the contents of the argument in his civil trial depositions... "and it was a lot of shouting about the National Enquirer, that there was some kind of article printed in the National Enquirer. 'They're always picking on me'."
"And then there was a picture -- there was a lot of shouting about some picture that Nicole had up in the house of an ex-boyfriend, and then I just remember Nicole on the phone crying and calling 911, and then the police came."
"And then he was just talking about some picture she had up, that he doesn't have pictures at his house up. The National Enquirer had put some bad article about him, and I believe it was about [Name Deleted]. I didn't understand that whole dialogue going on about having oral sex in the living room."
"She was talking about what the yelling was all about, about some picture. That's what I thought it was, some picture of a guy she had up there, just a friend that she used to date or -- and that O.J. she said had blown up over that."
Q: Did [Simpson] say anything to you about [Name Deleted]? A: He didn't like [Name Deleted]
Note: in his grand jury testimony, Keith Zlomsowitch described receiving oral sex from Nicole at the Gretna Green house one night when he said Simpson was spying on them. Simpson confronted Zlomsowitch the next day on the subject. From this, it appears that "[name deleted]" in the foregoing was Keith Zlomsowitch. The front entrance to the house and the front windows through which Simpson reputedly "spied on" Nicole and Keith is shown in Figure 2. [GRETNA_2.JPG]
A LATER INCIDENT: Goldberg (p. 34) mentions an incident at about the time Nicole moved to Bundy:
Elizabeth Holmes was the personal trainer for Simpson's next-door neighbors, the Salingers. She told us [the prosecutors] that in January 1994 she saw Nicole Brown pull into Simpson's driveway in a Ferrari. Then she saw Simpson yelling and screaming at Nicole. He was ranting about photographs taken of Nicole in Aspen.
Then Simpson shoved Nicole against his Bentley. Ms. Holmes heard a loud "thud" as Nicole struck the vehicle.
Considering the lay of the land at the Salingers' house and Simpson's it is somewhat doubtful that Holmes could have been in a position to witness the event she describes in the detail she recounts. And, if the incident did happen it is more an example of impatience than "violence." Nonetheless, I recount it for thoroughness.
FAYE RESNICK: In her book (p. 118), "...Life Interrupted," Faye gives her take of the 911 call. The following incident begins as she and Nicole are en route to LAX to go to the opening of the Harley-Davidson Cafe in Manhattan on October 15, 1993.
Nicole and I were in a limousine on the way to the L.A. airport when the driver told us he had a message from O.J. Nicole was to pick up the Enquirer at the airport, so we grabbed a copy and read the story after take-off. We were stunned! The details about the [May '93 OJ/Nicole] reconciliation were so accurate a member of the inner circle must have leaked them.
I said, "Nicole, all this stuff is coming from someone really close to you. They even use your exact words here."
Nicole was stupefied. "Yeah, somebody's giving them information, somebody really close. It's got to be from the inner circle itself."
The Enquirer story mentioned the 1989 battering charge against O.J., the one O.J. screamed about in the famed 911 tape -- the one that was played on TV and radio stations after the murders. In that tape, O.J. raged about the oral sex Nicole had performed on Keith Zlomsowitch -- and the fact that Joseph Perrulli's number was still on her telephone speed-dialing button. He also kept demanding to know how the Enquirer was able to quote her exact words so accurately. An interesting detail, shown from a different perspective in Faye's book, on the north wall of the second floor of Nicole's home is shown in Figure 3. [GRETNA_3.JPG]
ANALYSIS: Insofar as the record from all other sources quite accurately agrees with Faye Resnick's account, I accept her version in those few specifics that are not otherwise corroborated. Taking all of the foregoing together with other information known about the Simpson case, the following emerges...
* Unlike the other occasions when Simpson rages, he was not drunk this time. (Nicole specifically said this.). This leads to the idea that the cause of Simpson's rage was something rational, not just the acting out of an impulse.
* This was the only occasion from January, 1989 until the murders when Simpson became so enraged that the police were called, so it seems as though there was something extremely important to him in the issue that brought him to Gretna Green.
* Because he kicked in the back door to get in, and he parked in the middle of the street, this was not an argument that escalated from mild beginnings when Simpson was already at Nicole's house. Simpson came there loaded for bear and specifically looking for a confrontation.
* Simpson had made one (apparently brief) appearance at Nicole's house, went away, then came back shortly later. It was during Simpson's second visit that the police arrived.
* Simpson handled most issues on the telephone (much in Weller's book and elsewhere on this), but on this occasion he resorted to a personal visit -- and apparently a hasty one.
* The topics admitted to in the record are...
-- Simpson's lingering anger over the Zlomsowitch oral sex. (Six-month-old news by then.)
-- The fact that Keith's picture was still on Nicole's wall.
-- The fact that Perulli's number was still on Nicole's speed dialer (Resnick says).
-- A National Enquirer article about their reconciliation that was so accurate and detailed it must have come from one of Nicole's confidants.
-- He (fancifully, I think) accused Nicole of running around with friends of Heidi Fleiss, and having prostitutes in the house.
-- BUT not one of these was a new subject at the time Simpson pulled up in front of Nicole's house. What set him off? (And, where did he get the crazy Heidi Fleiss/prostitutes idea?)
* The one tangible result of the blowup was that Simpson got Nicole's personal phonebook with the names and numbers of all her contacts.
It has always been assumed that Simpson's dislike for Zlomsowitch was because of the sex act that he had witnessed between Keith and Nicole, and no doubt Simpson did dislike him for that reason alone. But that was "old news," and no cause for a rage on October 25th. It is possible that there was some new, additional reason that Simpson disliked Zlomsowitch, and that may have been along the lines of his strange speculation about "hookers" and Heidi Fleiss, and his very clear anxiety that Nicole was associating with unsavory characters. (Simpson's mistrust of Nicole's associates is consistent with his later statement after Faye Resnick published her book. At that time he said he thought the source of Nicole's murder lay "in the world of Faye Resnick.")
Finally, this may have been somewhat prescient, insofar as Zlomsowitch actually did have a connection with the restaurant where Nicole had dined just two hours before she was killed, and from which Goldman had come just minutes before -- Zlomsowitch was Director of Operations for Mezzaluna restaurant chain.
CONCLUSION: For all of the information available about this incident, there is too little to form a positive conclusion about the reason that Simpson went into a rage that night. But, it is almost certain that there was more than has been publicly portrayed. The purported causes had all been known and argued about earlier, and yet Simpson went to Gretna Green in such a rush that he left his car in the middle of the street, and broke in Nicole's back door.
And, any such reason was a secret between Nicole and OJ; Simpson did not mention it to the police in justifying his rage at her, or to Kato in casual conversation.
Dick Wagner Van Nuys, CA (2/09/02) "911_tape.txt"