BLOOD DROPS AT ROCKINGHAM

JASPER:

               In a recent letter (2/12/03) to Rose you mentioned that you did not have photographs showing the location of all the blood drops on Simpson's Rockingham driveway (and related).  You also objected to my placement of some objects in my Rockingham Layout drawing (Figure 26 of "Rockingham Layout"). 

               Herewith I show you the photographs on which I made my own determinations, and expect that you will make your own interpretations of them.  As a result of your objections I have gone back and reviewed my work; I think it was substantially correct, but I agree with you that there are a few details that could be improved.  I have posted a revised version of Figure 26b on our site as a result of your suggestions.  Thanks for taking the trouble, and letting us know.  Also, this exercise has caused me to look again at the aerial perspective, and because of that to 1) move the light pole at Rockingham & Ashford, 2) to show Nebeker's driveway apron, and 3) refine the depiction of the landscaping.  This allows me to also do an analysis of the lighting of the Bronco parking place.

               The issues you raised that I have now revised include...

               * Move the Bronco, the "360" curb marker, and the first blood drop back closer to the Rockingham driveway apron.

               * Move the first blood drop closer to the curb.

               * Soften the curve in the street-side profile of the driveway where the Rockingham driveway turns into the Ashford driveway, and make some discontinuity of this at the east end of the parking niche.

               BLOOD DROPS ONLY SAMPLED:  I am sure you understand, but for other readers let me point out that there were more blood drops identified in the Rockingham trail than were collected in evidence.  The issue of whether all of the blood drops in the Rockingham trail were collected was discussed during the testimony of Criminalist Fung on April 17th...

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MR. GOLDBERG: All right. Can you tell us not counting the stain on the Bronco, on the Bronco handle, how many stains were there?

MR. FUNG: Eight stains altogether.

MR. GOLDBERG: Now, you also--you have on your diagram as well on the photos some stains that are labeled a, b and c; is that correct?

MR. FUNG: Yes.

MR. GOLDBERG: Now, you said that it was your--your custom and your practice to take representative samples?

MR. FUNG: Yes.

MR. GOLDBERG: In the case of a trail, what does that generally mean?

MR. FUNG: In the case of a trail, a representative sample would be one from the beginning, one or two depending on the length from the middle and one at the end of the trail.

MR. GOLDBERG: And this particular case, did you and criminalist Mazzola collect more stains than would customarily be done in this kind of a situation?

MR. FUNG: Yes.

MR. GOLDBERG: Were there certain stains which you did not collect in conformity with the representative sample approach?

MR. FUNG: There were stains that I did not collect along this trail, yes.

MR. GOLDBERG: And which ones were those?

MR. FUNG: That would be the ones with letters on them, a, b and C.

MR. GOLDBERG: Okay. But you did cause those to be documented with photography?

MR. FUNG: Yes.

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               That is, in addition to the five exterior Rockingham blood drops most often described, there were three others which were not collected, for which no evidence number was assigned, but for which markers were put down and photographed.  The entire collection of eight stains is thus...

               Stain #a: By Bronco back bumper (not collected).

               Item #4: Near center of driveway, just outside gate.

               Item #5: Inside gate, north side of driveway.

               Item #6: Inside gate, south side of driveway.

               Stain #b: Between back of Bentley and front of Saab, left of both (not collected).

               Item #7: In driveway near north-west corner of garage.

               Item #8: In driveway, beyond kitchen doors, near front porch.

               Stain #c: On front porch, near dog bowls (not collected).

               (This is in contrast to the Bundy blood trail, in which all five blood drops were collected.)

               PHOTOGRAPHS:  The evidence markers showing the location of the Rockingham blood drops are depicted in the following prosecution photographs, most of which are from prosecution exhibit #6.

               Blood Drop “a” -- Figure 1 [360.JPG]360.jpg (30959 bytes) shows an evidence marker at the location of the first drop, just farther into the street than the concrete gutter, and about at the north edge of the Rockingham driveway apron.  The location for the blood drop of evidence item #4 is also shown in this photo, but that item is better depicted in another photo.  The position of the Bronco and the location of the “360” curb marking are also well depicted in Figure 1.

               Blood Drops at Rockingham Gate -- Figure 2 [GATEDROP.JPG]gatedrop.jpg (36016 bytes) shows the location of the three blood drops at the Rockingham gate.  One of them (#4) was on the outside of the closed gate position, and the other two (#5 and 6) were on the inside.  All three were roughly in the middle of the left/right driveway width.  Figure 2 also barely shows the location of blood drop “b” in the far distance.

               Blood Drops on Driveway -- Figure 3 drivblod.jpg (32121 bytes)[DRIVBLOD.JPG] shows the location of the two blood drops between the Rockingham driveway and the front porch.  Evidence item #7 is nearly opposite the corner of the garage, but on the other side of the driveway; it is near where the “book bag” was seen when the limo was being loaded.  Evidence item #8 is near the northern edge of the kitchen patio.

               Uncollected Drop on the Rockingham Driveway – Figure 4 saabdrop.jpg (37485 bytes)[SAABDROP.JPG] shows blood drop “b” between the front of Arnelle’s Saab and the back of the Bentley; it is about 3 feet to the left of those vehicles.  This drop is about mid-way between drops #5 and #6 near the gate, and drop #7 near the kitchen patio.

               Front Porch Blood Drop -- Figure 5 exhib_6d.jpg (34532 bytes)[EXHIB_6D.JPG] shows the last exterior drop (“c”), on Simpson’s front porch, about a third of the way to the front door, and about a foot to the left of the left side of the front door.  Bowls for feeding the dog are seen on the porch.

               Foyer Blood Drops -- Figure 6 [FOYER5.JPG]foyer5.jpg (26605 bytes) shows the location of three small blood drops (evidence item #12) in Simpson’s foyer, just inside and to the right of the front door. 

               EXTERIOR DETAILS: Figure 7 aerial09.jpg (36603 bytes)[AERIAL9.JPG] shows several exterior details that have been the subject of some question.  In particular, it shows better than any other view the shape of the Ashford walkway, from the pool area around the back of the house to the front driveway.  In this view, that walk (“A”) is very clearly a nearly straight line, and it is not the looping shape that was depicted on all of the exhibits in the criminal trial that showed Simpson’s yards. 

               Mrs. Nebeker’s driveway and its wide apron are shown at “B”.  I suspect that Park turned the limo around by pulling in here when he first arrived at Simpson’s estate, answering some doubters who did not think that long limo could be turned around on the relatively narrow street of Ashford.

               The light pole to illuminate the intersection of Ashford and Rockingham is shown at “D” to be on the corner of Mrs. Nebeker’s property.  The light itself is a white blob on the end of an arm parallel to the arrow “D”.  The efficacy of the streetlight is better evaluated, however, in the next figure, in which the Bronco position can also be shown.

               The shape of Simpson’s driveway is generally of smooth curves and straight lines, but a discontinuity is seen at “E,” where the curve of the Ashford driveway ends and the straight line of the right side of the parking recess on the Rockingham driveway begins.

               ILLUMINATION OF THE BRONCO PARKING PLACE:  When I visited the Rockingham estate after dark in 1998 the original Bronco parking place was occupied by an industrial size dumpster.  (Simpson’s estate was being demolished at the time.)  I observed that it was so dark I could scarcely see the dumpster when I was parked directly across from the Rockingham driveway, and I might not have known it was there if I had not seen it in that same position earlier, when I had been at the estate in the daytime.  Thereby, I concluded that Park could similarly not have seen the Bronco when he left for the airport, insofar as he would have been depending on the illumination of the Ashford streetlight.

               However, it now seems to me that the trees may have been overgrown at the time of my visit.  I see in Figure 8 [AERIALXX.JPG]aerialxx.jpg (52732 bytes) that in the era of the murders, only one of the Rockingham trees was growing over the wall, and to the extent of only about a quarter the width of the parkway.  When I put a white rectangle outlined in blue on this picture to represent the location of the Bronco, and put an orange ray from the streetlight, grazing the edge of the tree behind Simpson’s wall, I can see the situation clearly.  The Bronco’s parking place is completely within the geometric range of the streetlight, and the illumination is not blocked by the tree.

               To get an idea of how much illumination the streetlight would have provided at the Bronco location, I took a sample of standard magazine text (10 point) to a similar sodium vapor streetlight in my neighborhood, and found that directly beneath the light I could easily read the text.  Fifty feet from the light, it was still easy to read.  At a hundred feet I could still read it, but with some difficulty; at 150 feet it was impossible to read the words on the page.  Simpson’s Rockingham driveway was about 150 feet from the Ashford streetlight, so the Bronco was at a location where the words in standard magazine text would just become barely readable (holding the page perpendicular to the rays from the light).  In my situation there were some feeble other sources of light in the environment (judging by the strength of shadows cast by the streetlight); at Rockingham there were none.

               I now understand that when Park looked briefly to his right on exiting Simpson’s estate, the light at the Bronco’s position was feeble, but not zero.  However, what light there was came from beyond the Bronco, and so that car was illuminated only in silhouette.  His recollection that there was “something” unidentifiable parked there seems reasonable under the circumstances of the illumination, and the fact that he did not have a chance to see the same object parked there earlier under conditions of better illumination.

               FUHRMAN’S TESTIMONY:  Detective Mark Fuhrman testified in the preliminary hearing, and contributed a couple of facts that help to define the Rockingham scene.  In one case, Marcia Clark asks him to trace his path down the south walk to where he discovered the evidence glove.  In the beginning of that trip he says that he discovered a gate, which we interpret to be the “first gate,” and he points to the defense exhibit of the Rockingham plot plan to show where that was.  (Kato had previously pointed to that gate, but it was to the prosecution exhibit of the time, and that did not show the end of the garage, so Kato’s indication was inconclusive.)

               Unfortunately, the camera was not on the pointer when Fuhrman showed the location of the first gate during direct examination.  However, during cross-examination, Uleman reviewed the situation, and during Figure 9 [1STGATE.JPG]1stgatea.jpg (27040 bytes) he asked Fuhrman if that was the place of the first gate, and Fuhrman said it was.  From this, it is clear that John Junot is right; the first gate is the stray chain link panel behind the tree near the garage side door in the Simpson interview video.  I have changed our Figure 26 in “Rockingham Layout” to reflect the fact, and have labeled the more conspicuous gate at the east end of the garage as “Unmentioned Gate.”

               Fuhrman also described his continuing investigation on the south path beyond the discovery of the evidence glove, and said that he came out in a “potting area,” and explicitly said that place was not overgrown as depicted in the exhibit (originally, the defense plot plan).  I have also removed the erroneous landscaping there as was indicated in the exhibit.  All of the other aforementioned changes that can be depicted in Figure 26 have also been updated in that drawing.  The location of Rosa Lopez’ tree, from beside which she saw the Bronco parked, has also been added.

               FINALLY:  In your letter you also say that it took me “five years longer than it took [you] to see how radically misrepresentative the prosecution’s Rockingham drawing was to the conditions that actually existed on June 12, 1994.”

               Well, you certainty are to be congratulated for your insight, Jasper, but I did not have a substantial video tape library of the Simpson case until recently, and without that, I would not have confidence to overturn an often shown exhibit presented by the prosecution and not objected to by the defense.  Furthermore, even when we know “something is wrong” (as the parking niche on the Rockingham driveway of the exhibit is only one car long, but two cars parked there) that does not answer the question of what the true shape was (as can be answered by a photograph, such as Figure 8 herein.) 

               Also, when you characterize this as a misrepresentation by the prosecution, I think you may not realize the origin of that exhibit.  During the preliminary hearing, the prosecution presented a considerably different map of Simpson’s estate than the one they used in the criminal trial.  Their early map was crude, it did not portray interior details of the house, or the back of the estate and the south walk.  But, what it did show of the front yard, the driveways, and the Ashford walk was more accurate than anything else ever brought to court on the subject.  However, during the evidentiary hearings in the fall of 1994 the defense brought forth an “architect’s drawing” of the estate that was very detailed, and authentic looking because of its use of architectural symbols, and its wrinkled appearance – as though it had often been rolled and unrolled.  The prosecution adopted that drawing henceforth, and introduced it in the criminal trial.  The defense did not object (since it originally came from them) and referred to it also during their case.  So the thing that is usually called the “prosecution exhibit” of the Rockingham layout is actually of defense origin.

               For all of its pedigree, however, that drawing seems to be from an earlier time, and did not represent the situation in many details at the time of the crime -- as you and I realize.  But, the error seems to come from laziness and defensiveness on the part of the prosecutors, not because of any intention to deceive.  If there was any of that, it came from the defense attorneys, apparently, delivered as a Trojan horse.  In my understanding of the situation, that is entirely possible, since the defense, as much as the prosecution, was trying to conceal material facts from the court and from the world.

               (A collection of photos showing location of blood drops and other details at Rockingham)

               Dick Wagner • Van Nuys, CA   (3/09/03)   B_DROP.DOC

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