DAY INTO NIGHT

It has been said that the Bundy murders could not take place as I have presented in "IT AIN'T THE ASTORODOME" because that scenario requires that Goldman be attacked and killed on the front walk, and the objection is that such a place is too conspicuous a work space for shrewd professional killers. They would not expose themselves to a chance encounter by a passerby. In support of this idea, Ron Egan has commended "Nicole4.jpg" as showing how obvious and exposed Nicole's front walk is to observation. I show that same picture here to illustrate his point.nicole4.jpg (124845 bytes)

LIGHTING: However, that photograph was taken at about the time the crime scene was broken down -- in the afternoon -- and of course the lighting at the time of the crime was much different. The sources of lighting then were 1) a (yellowish) incandescent light in the ceiling of Nicole's porch, 18 feet west of the gate and at a (presumed) height of 8 feet above the porch, 2) an (orangish-pink) sodium vapor street light on the north east corner of Dorothy and Bundy, about 200 feet away, and 3) stray (white) light from nearby houses and passing automobiles. There was also a streetlight nearly in front of the condo, but according to witnesses, it was ineffective on the west side of the street because of unpruned trees.

(Three witnesses, Sukru Boztgepe, Bettina Rasmussen, and Steven Schwab all commented on the fact that it was "very dark" at the sidewalk in front of the condo, and from the configuration of foliage near the front path, it can be presumed that it was even darker as one went toward the condo itself. In fact, even though Boztepe's attention was directed very pointedly to the path by the dog's behavior, he did not become aware of a body at the bottom of the steps until he got as far up the path as the open gate -- about four feet from the body.)

In the article "Agapanthus Illumination" I analyzed the geometry of the porch light and found that the shadow of the steps would put the ground in shadow all the way to within a few inches of the gate threshold. That is, the ground itself would be unilluminated west of the threshold, but objects sticking up above the ground (like the agapanthus plant) would be illuminated by the porch light, except in their lowermost portions.

With this in mind, I altered "Nicole4.jpg" to show the foreground in deep shadow, and then also changed the fence, walk, sheet, and foreground plants to show how they would look from the top of the steps if they were only illuminated by the porch light. I have shown the people on the sidewalk as though they were illuminated by a pink light on the north WEST corner of the intersection, thereby increasing their visibility. Under the actual conditions, they would become black silhouettes against a nearly black background, and would be unrecognizable.

The result of these changes is "Nicole6.jpg" which shows the same scene as "Nicole4.jpg" but as closely as I can simulate under the night time lighting conditions. Quite obviously, objects at the location of Goldman's attack (the front walk near the end of the open gate) are not nearly as conspicuous at night as they are in the day time. nicole6.jpg (80974 bytes)

EFFECT OF THE GATE: And, under the conditions of the scenario, the gate was not opened until the last 25 seconds of the crime. While the gate is closed, there is even less illumination on the walk east of it, since the gate consists of 9 vertical members with a semi-opaque covering of expanded metal lath. I think that it is fair to say that if Goldman could be held motionless for the period, even if a pedestrian walked by during the time he was being attacked, and before the gate was opened, the stroller would not notice. And, of course, before the gate is opened, Gus' actions on the west side of it would be obscured from the street both by the poor lighting and the intervening gate. (It is also fair to assume, I think, that if this was a premeditated murder --whether by Simpson or professional killers -- the assailant(s) would wear dark clothing, and perhaps ski masks.)

The actual risk of detection, under the conditions of "Nicole6.jpg" is virtually zero, and requires that a pedestrian pass during a particular 25 second period, spontaneously look up the path, recognize movement of the shadows there, and be foolish enough to do something to investigate the cause. Considering that there are only about three or four people (or couples) that pass by there in an hour on Sunday night, there is only about a 3% probability that a person will be in a position to see during the critical interval. Professional killers may be happy with these odds, and be willing to improvise a solution if the unexpected happens.

It has been said that professional killers would not commit the crime in the way I have depicted, but would instead do it in some way in which the risk of detection was even smaller. I suppose that a professional killer has a particular purpose in mind, and that he will do the crime in the way that he thinks best accomplishes his objective. We know from the result that if this crime was intended to kill Nicole and blame Simpson, then it succeeded in that. If it was also intended to "send a message" that the people who did this are not to be toyed with, it has probably accomplished that result, too. And it has done that more convincingly than by murdering Nicole in some tidy way in a closet.

Dick Wagner • Van Nuys, CA (4/09/99) NG_539

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