Blood on Goldman's Clothes

In this article I attempt to elucidate the Bundy scenario from the indications of blood stains on Goldman's clothing. Various sources (books, tabloid papers, and TV) have preserved some of the scenes from the criminal trial regarding these details, and I have collected what I could find for this article.

    I have wanted to do this study for some time, but considered that the critical indication was the distribution of blood on the back of Goldman's jeans, and I have not seen a portrayal of this, even though I knew it was shown and described by Dr. Lee in the defense portion of the criminal trial. Then, a correspondent, Carol W., in Kansas, said that she had the complete trial on videotape, and could copy that portion for me. I installed a video capture facility, and now there is a fairly complete record available of the blood on Goldman's clothes. This article would not have been possible, however, without the critical scene from Carol W. Thanks to her for the keystone.

    SOURCES OF BLOOD: I assume that the overwhelming majority of the blood on Goldman's clothes came from Goldman's own wounds. Although isolated samples showed some of Nicole's blood, too, the nature of Goldman's wounds were such as to produce the very great amount of blood found on his clothing, and there is not found any other place with so much of his blood. (A sample from the pool around Nicole's slashed throat was taken, and showed that that blood -- as expected -- came from her.)

    Goldman's wounds were of several types, according to both Dr. Golden who did the autopsies and testified in the preliminary hearing, and Dr. Lakshmanan, his boss, who testified in the criminal trial:
    * About three dozen "butchering" wounds, on the hands and arms (defensive) and around the face and neck. Of the latter, the most conspicuously bleeding were on the left side, including "left jugular vein transected," and "left ear cut nearly off." In fact, these and other wounds to the left side of the neck and head accounted for most of the blood.
    * Four deep penetrating ("fatal") wounds delivered with the point of the knife, rather than the edge, apparently from the right, to the right thigh, abdomen, and two to the lungs. Although these did great damage to Goldman's circulatory system, except for the thigh wound bleeding was contained within the body, and very little escaped through the self-closing wounds.
    * Two categories of "odd" wounds: two "threatening" wounds across Goldman's throat, superficial, "parallel as railroad tracks," and one of them 6 inches long, and five "testing" wounds, superficial ante-mortem wounds to Goldman's right cheek. None of these wounds bled significantly.

    So, most of the blood later seen originated in the relatively small area from the left end of Goldman's chin to behind his left ear, and from the ear down to the shoulder.

    GOLDMAN IN DEATHLY REPOSE: The basic picture related to the distribution of blood on Goldman is the crime scene picture first published in a tabloid shortly after the criminal trial, and since reprinted in many internet sources. It shows Goldman as he came to rest in the alcove after he was dead. I show it here as Figure 1 [OJMURD!1.JPG].ojmurd~1.jpg (73336 bytes) He is seen resting on his right shoulder; there is blood on his body, his shirt, and a great amount on the front of his left pants leg. There is much less blood on the right pants leg.

    After Goldman was dead (and his heart stopped pumping blood) any of the freely bleeding wounds would continue to leak blood by gravity from sources higher than those wounds. Assuming that he died at about the same time that his body assumed the pose in which it was found, then we can account for this postmortem blood loss. About 10 or 15 percent of Goldman's volume (his left shoulder, left upper chest, and left upper arm) are above the left neck wounds, and so we would expect that 10 or 15 percent of his blood volume (about a pint and a half) would drain after death. By gravity, blood from these wounds would run down over his right shoulder and chest into the ground. But, his shirt is bunched up under his arm pits, and so this postmortem draining would soak into the right side of his shirt. As can be seen in Figure 1, the left side of the shirt front and the left shirt arm are not in the path of this flow, and thereby contain indications of the blood deposited during the time before Goldman came into his final position.

    FRONT OF THE JEANS: A black and white image of the front of Goldman's pants is shown in Marcia Clark's book, and I reproduce it here as Figure 2 [J_FRONT.JPG]. j_front.jpg (80718 bytes)Unfortunately, the bottom right corner of this picture is missing, because that is where Clark showed a picture of Goldman's shoe. This image is consistent with the crime scene picture of Figure 1 insofar as it shows the left pants leg solidly soaked with blood, a much lesser amount of blood at the waist and on the right leg.

    Specifically, the solid stains on the left pants leg begin at about the top of the thigh, and extend to about 4 inches below the knee where they end abruptly. They run off the garment on its left side, and extend to the right all the way to the inseam in the very lowest portions. There is a suggestion below the knee that some of the staining is due to a flow of blood, insofar as there is a slight unstained vertical thread toward the left side. The inside of the back of the belt line can be seen in this picture to be relatively solid with blood except in the location of the label. Since there are no wounds on Goldman's back, and in Figure 1 there is no indication of blood running over the skin of his waist and hips to his back, this belt line blood is presumed to have soaked through from the back (outside) of the jeans.

    WOUND TO THIGH: On June 13th, Dr. Lakshmanan commented about, and demonstrated with regard to, the wound to Goldman's left thigh. He said that although the wound did not cut any major vessels and was not life threatening, it cut many small ones, and it was gaping, so it would have produced a lot of blood. It was through the left pocket of the jeans, "6 to 8 inches below the belt line." (Notice a blood stained horizontal region about one inch high and five inches wide in that location in Figure 2.) Dr. Lakshmanan demonstrated that if the assailant were right-handed, he administered this wound from in front of the victim; if he were left-handed, he did it while standing behind the victim. The coroner also said that the wound showed evidence of both stabbing and cutting, indication that either the victim or the knife (or both) moved laterally during this knife stroke.

    Although this was a freely bleeding wound, there is not much blood on the jeans in this area, and the pattern is not vertical, as would be expected with an erect victim, but horizontal. This is an indication that Goldman was not erect, much if any, after the time he received this wound.

    BACK OF THE JEANS: The portrayal of the back of Goldman's jeans that I mentioned at the outset is shown as Figure 3 [JEANS_B3.JPG]jeans_b3.jpg (50956 bytes) and is a video capture of a scene shown on CNN of Dr. Henry Lee's testimony on August 23, 1995, shortly before the mid-day break. In his verbal description, Dr. Lee identified three regions of slightly different indications. He said,

DR. LEE: This photo was taken again in February 18 and 19, 1995, at Albany Medical Center, depicts the rear view of the blue jean.

MR. SCHECK: The back of the jeans?

DR. LEE: The back of the blue jean. The back of the blue jean shows large amount of bloodstain. In the top portion [indicates with pointer the seat and anterior regions to belt line] not consistent with a direct contact transfer and blood soak into the surface. In the middle portion [indicates between crotch and knee, both legs] we see this brush tail fashion end which indicative contact smear movement. The lower portion [indicates below knee, right leg] we see some drops and individual pattern, some contact transfer pattern, and here [indicates near hem, left leg] we see a multiple deposit pattern, (Indicating), of blood on top of the blood.

    That is, the blood did not get on the back of the jeans directly from the wounds, but from intermediate surface where it collected ("not consistent with a direct contact transfer..."). In the region of the thighs there is an indication that the leg moved horizontally over the bloody surface ("brush tail fashion... contact smear movement.") On the left calf, repeated vertical movement of the left foot is indicated ("multiple deposit pattern, of blood on top of the blood.") These indications are entirely consistent with what we would expect from a writhing and struggling victim... If he was lying or sitting straight legged on a surface covered with his own blood. If Goldman were erect when these stains came on the back of his jeans, the only place he could contact the blood would be the front of his assailants clothes if his assailant were behind him. In that case, the assailant would have an enormous amount of blood on the front of his clothes, and this is contrary to our expectations. (If Simpson was the killer, there is not an indication in his car of an enormous amount of victim blood on him; if professional killers were at work, they probably would undertake the crime so as to spare themselves from this result.)

    From this, it appears that Goldman did a lot of bleeding while he was lying or sitting on a bloody surface. What surface? There is no description that the blood on the back of his jeans is "blood mud" as would be if he were sitting on dirt. There is no description of matted plant debris, as if he were attacked while he were sitting in bushes. There is no description of dead grass clippings, as would happen if he were attacked on a lawn. There is no trail of blood leading into the vicinity of the bodies from a more distant place. The only (relatively) clean surface that was heavily bloodstained when the crime was discovered was the front walk from about five feet east of the gate to the base of the steps where Nicole's body was found, and the first step above that.

    GOLDMAN'S SHIRT: In Figure 4 [SHIRT.JPG] shirt.jpg (23137 bytes)I show the exhibit of Goldman's shirt after the crime, and after it was removed from him and straightened out. The right side of the shirt is completely soaked with blood, some areas appearing black. The left side is lightly stained in some areas, and completely unstained in others. There are only two regions on the left that are even moderately stained, a patch at the shoulder and another one on the back of the upper arm.

    We had expected the heavy blood stains on the right side of the shirt because of postmortem draining implied in Figure 1. But, the lack of blood stains on the left side is most surprising. The greatest sources of blood were above the shirt on the left side, and if Goldman were erect for any significant period after he started bleeding in those places, the blood would have flowed down over his shoulder and chest, very heavily staining his shirt on that side. There is no such indication. This confirms the indication from the back of the jeans that Goldman was leaning far enough forward so that blood falling from his neck wounds did not fall on the shirt, but on the left leg of the jeans.

    BOOTS: The indication from Goldman's boots (not shown here) is that there are occasional spots, but no heavy flow of blood on them. In particular, there was no blood on the soles of his shoes. There is a much discussed (apparent) knife cut to the toe of one, and an analyzed isolated blood drop that shows blood from both victims. The lack of blood on the soles of the shoes is an additional indication that Goldman was not standing during most of the attack on him, especially the latter phase when his blood would be on the ground.

    POSTURE: I have again resorted to the program "Poser3," this time to illustrate various obvious postures that Goldman could have been in while he was being attacked. Insofar as Goldman does not appear to have screamed greatly or for long, since he was not heard by neighbors who heard the barking dog, it is fair to believe that the attacker held Goldman in some way to prevent screams. The coroner in the criminal trial testimony opined that this could have been by holding one hand over Goldman's mouth, or by holding him across the chest so tightly that he could not draw a deep breath. Of these, I believe the hand-over-the-mouth method is the most obvious, most reliable, and easiest for the killer, and I believe that was used; but, I recognize the other as a valid possibility. But, with either of these methods, the killer is behind the victim. From the indications of a right-handed killer, he had his left hand keeping Goldman quiet and confined while he used his right hand to hold the knife with which he butchered the victim.

    Postures that allow the killer to exert this kind of control are with the victim standing, sitting or lying, and the assailant behind. These are illustrated in Figure 5,stand_sd.jpg (5445 bytes) with three possibilities for the seated configuration. Each of these has implications for the flow of blood from the greatest wounds around the left side of the victim's head, and I have sketched that in. In all cases, I have presumed that Goldman has his head bowed to prevent the killer's knife direct access to his throat.

    In Figure 5A, the standing position, blood runs from the wounds down over Goldman's shirt, and eventually may reach his pants, but even if it does, there is more blood on the shirt than on the pants. This is not seen in the evidence, in which there is (relatively) little blood on the left side of Goldman's shirt. Goldman was not standing during much, if any, of the time after the neck wounds began to bleed.

    In Figure 5B,sit1_sd.jpg (8422 bytes) the erect sitting position, we see a similar situation to the standing position. We would expect a conspicuous amount of blood on the upper left part of the shirt, at least, though there could also be some blood on the pants high up, where the hip joins the thigh. Again, this is contrary to the evidence. There is little blood on the left side of the shirt, and the blood on the jeans is lower on the pants leg than this situation would cause.

    In Figure 5C, sit2_sd.jpg (7929 bytes)the victim is seated, but I leaning forward slightly. Falling blood only slightly stains the left side of the shirt in this posture, and that is only high up, near the collar. Blood falls on the left thigh above the knee, but lower than the abdomen. Part of what we see of the front of the jeans in Figure 2 is consistent with this posture, but there is also blood lower on the pants leg than we would expect from this posture.

    In Figure 5D, the victim is seated, but leaning so far forward, he is nearly bent double.sit3_sd.jpg (7421 bytes) This deposits the blood in the vicinity of the knee and below, and this is entirely consistent with the pattern seen in Figure 2. Of all the postures I have considered reasonable, only those of Figures 5C and 5D are consistent with the blood pattern seen on the shirt (Figure 4) and the front of the jeans (Figure 2). Such postures would also produce a deposit of blood on the surface Goldman was seated on, and his writhing on that bloody surface would produce most of the stains seen on the back of the jeans (Figure 3). From this, I conclude that Goldman was seated, mostly straight legged, and leaning well forward all of the time, with an assailant behind who controlled and attacked him.

    For thoroughness, I have included Figure 5E lie_sd.jpg (5952 bytes)of the victim lying on the ground. Presumably, the assailant is squatted above his head, holding one hand over the victim's mouth, and still using the knife in his right hand. In this arrangement, the blood flows from the wounds onto Goldman's shoulder, and over the top of that onto the ground; this is not a posture from which blood gets onto the front of the jeans. However, this is a posture that accounts for the blood on the back of the jeans from the crotch to the beltline, and that is not accounted for by the seated postures.

    CONCLUSION: From the foregoing, it appears that Goldman was seated and leaning forward during most of the attack, and was mostly straight-legged. The attacker was behind Goldman with his left hand over Goldman's mouth and the knife in his right hand. At no time after Goldman's left neck wounds began to bleed was he sitting upright, but was always bent forward, sometimes almost doubled over. At some late point in the process (after the surface he was on was thoroughly covered with blood), he was in a prone position on his back, writhing in the blood. This sequence accounts for all of the indications of blood on Goldman's clothes, and I am not aware of another one that does.

    This sequence is also consistent with the two-killer scenario I have proposed. In that, the butchering killer is responsible for events that led to blood on the front of Goldman's pants, but at a late point he threw Goldman prone and continued to restrain him while the stabbing killer administered the four deep stab wounds from beside the victim. It can also be argued that one assailant could have done the same thing, if Goldman lost consciousness between the butchering and the stabbing phases, and then the killer, no longer needing to silence and control Goldman could have taken a position in front of him to do the stabbing. The problem with this idea is that Goldman was apparently conscious during at least some of the time he was prone, because the stains to the seat of his pants are so solid and extensive they indicate that he was writhing during that phase.

Dick Wagner • Van Nuys, CA (8/15/99) NG_573

back.gif (2777 bytes)