Upon Robert Risch's mention, I got a copy of the book by FBI Special Agent, William J. Bodziak, who was the footwear specialist testifying for the prosecution and plaintiffs in the Simpson trials. His book is "FOOTWEAR IMPRESSION EVIDENCE, Detection, Recovery, and Examination," Second Edition, copyright 2000, published by CRC Press. (CRC is familiar to me as one time being The Chemical Rubber Co., publisher of the venerable "Handbook of Chemistry and Physics," of which I have a copy of the 46th Edition, and that is now 35 years old.) [BODZIAK.JPG]
A TEXTBOOK: This is a textbook (it says so in the Series Editor's Note) and is part of a series entitled "Practical Aspects of Criminal and Forensic Investigation." There are 21 volumes listed in the series, and I notice that one of the others is "Forensic Pathology," by Di Maio and Di Maio, which Prien cited not long ago. It's kind of fun for me to browse a textbook again after all this time; I have always liked the format of textbooks, and the fundamental and logical approach of the authors of such. In my experience such books begin with elementary and unarguable observations and build on them step by step to create new understanding. Or, as in the case of this book, they are a compendium of a huge number of observations that reveal aspects of the subject that only a specialist would have encountered. Either way, the reader comes away with a confident feeling that he knows much more about the subject than he started with.
WHAT'S IN IT?: As I had expected, the book is almost entirely devoted to explaining the science of footwear analysis, and a chapter on the Simpson case simply serves as an example of how this knowledge is applied in a practical case. To give a feel of the breadth of the subject, I reproduce the Table of Contents here:
1. Awareness, Detection, and Treatment of Footwear Impression Evidence
2. Photography of Footwear Impressions
3. Casting Three-Dimensional Footwear Impressions
4. Treatment of Two-Dimensional Footwear Impressions
5. The Enhancement of Footwear Impressions
6. Footwear Sizing
7. Manufacturing Processes of Synthetic Soled Shoes
8. Known Shoes of Suspects and the Preparation of Known Impressions
9. Wear Characteristics
10. Class and Identifying Characteristics
11. Comparison of the Questioned Impression with Known Shoes
12. The Footwear Impression Examiner in Court
13. Impression of the Foot
14. Some Case Applications
15. The Footwear Impression Evidence in the O. J. Simpson Trial
The volume is very heavily illustrated, as would be expected of a textbook. There is enough information on the manufacturing processes for shoes here that I believe a reader could go into that business. Not included in this volume is the excellent, extremely relevant, and meticulously prepared prosecution exhibit that Bodziak created showing the position and direction of every footprint at the Bundy crime scene. Although this was an elementary piece of information, too many "experts" skip quickly over the fundamentals, and one wonders if they are really experts at all. Not so, Mr. Bodziak.
DON'T TAKE "FOOTWEAR" TOO LITERALLY: There is one aspect to this book that is somewhat disturbing to me. Although it purports to deal with "footwear," it is almost entirely devoted to "shoes." In the index, for example, I find no entries for "galoshes," "socks," "sandals," "booties," "overshoes," or "slippers." Perhaps little is known about these other types of footwear; perhaps they do not come up in crime investigations often enough to justify mention; but by ignoring them, it really is not warranted to claim that this book is about "footwear." As one can see above, there is a chapter (13) on the characteristics of the bare foot, but while that is different than "shoes" it is not "footwear," either. Now, I don't complain about a lack of "boots" in the index, because I realize that what is true for shoes is almost completely true for boots, as well. And I do note that there is an index entry for "sneakers." But, I think that the omitted footwear types that I mention are significantly different than shoes in many ways, and the reader should not take Bodziak literally when he says "footwear"; he means "shoes." (This will become important in a later article that I intend.)
THE SIMPSON CASE: Readers of this newsgroup will be most interested in this part, though the textbook part is also useful for understanding the interpretation that Bodziak puts on the observations that he made in that case. There are 28 pages and 16 illustration in the Simpson chapter. Some of this material I had heard about generally, but there is more detail, and it is better organized than I have seen in other sources.
The topics in the Simpson chapter are:
* A quick narrative of the nature of the crime, and how Bodziak became involved
* A detailed narrative of his efforts to identify the shoes (and the size) that left the bloody trail on Nicole's walkway to the alley. (This follows the same theme as the criminal trial testimony but is MUCH more readable, since it is not constantly interrupted for questions.)
* Other footwear investigations associated with the crime scene
- Eyeglass envelope
- Bronco carpet
- Paper by Nicole's head
- Goldman's jeans
- Nicole's black dress
- A reddish mark on the skin of Nicole's back
* Stride analysis of the Bruno Magli Trail
* Retail sources of Bruno Magli shoes; rarity.
* Absence of shoe prints in alcove was expectable
* Dr. Henry Lee's testimony
* Refuting Lee's claims of "other shoe prints."
* Photographic identification of Simpson in Bruno Magli shoes (Scull & Flammer)
* Analysis of Scull photo
A BRIEF CRITIQUE: I list these topics to give the reader an idea of what the book contains. I personally do not agree with all of Bodziak's conclusions, and I comment on them below,
* Identification of Bruno Magli Shoes -- The crime scene provided many excellent exemplars of the shoe print, they were expertly photographed, and Bodziak was remarkably through in his investigation and analysis of the evidence. His identification of the type and size of the shoes is unassailable, and in fact, there has never been any serious question raised on this point. I also believe him on this point.
* Lined Pattern on the Envelope -- Henry Lee pointed out that there was a lined pattern in blood on the envelope that Goldman brought to the scene, and Lee claimed that this is shoe print evidence of another person than Simpson present. Bodziak and his FBI colleague, Douglas Deedrick argued for another cause. I have not completed my own consideration of this, and won't express an opinion yet.
* Bronco Carpet -- There was a faint imprint in blood on the Bronco carpet at the driver's position. Bodziak opines that this is probably from a left shoe, and is consistent with the Bruno Magli characteristics. More because it fits other facts that are well known than because of the convincing nature of this stain itself, it is generally believed to be caused by the shoe that Simpson was wearing as he drove away from Bundy, and I agree with that.
* Piece of Paper by Nicole's Head -- This uncollected, but photographed, artifact contained a fine parallel line imprint, similar to the envelope. The paper was generally bloody, triangular in shape, and about 4 x 6 inches wide at its largest dimension. Bodziak says he dismissed it from consideration for the same reason as the imprint on the envelope. I am unfamiliar with this evidence and, like Bodziak, will consider that it is from the same cause as the pattern on the envelope, but I do not have an opinion about that yet.
* Goldman's Jeans -- Bodziak says, "One Bruno Magli heel impression and one other partial impression of the Bruno Magli design were present on the right leg of the jeans." But, he also cautions, "These impressions were very partial and, because of the absorbent nature of the cotton jeans, had been partially dispersed, lessening the detail." On the one hand, his assertion about there being Bruno Magli prints on Goldman's right pants leg is unqualified, but on the other he points out that there were factors that would make such a determination questionable. He offers no photographs for us to judge for ourselves, and tells us that even to come to this conclusion, he had to photograph the pants with special filters. I am not sure how much confidence to put in his assertion about this. Also, I note that Goldman's right pants leg was the part of him most likely encountered by a person entering the alcove to look at his body. If there really was a Bruno Magli footprint on Goldman's jeans, it is possible that Simpson, in that dark place, made a misstep when he went into the alcove to look at the second body (and also drop a 1/8" length of his own hair on Goldman's shirt). I am not sure whether there actually was a Bruno Magli print on Goldman's jeans, and if there was I don't see that it necessarily indicates more than that Simpson inspected Goldman's body after the fact.
* Nicole's Black Dress -- Bodziak photographed Nicole's dress with infra-red photography, and determined that it "... contained a partial heel impression ... on the front of the dress." Again, though he cautions about the indications, "The impression was very partial and limited in detail. What detail was present did correspond with the contours of a portion of the left heel of the Bruno Magli sole." With qualifications such as "partial," and "limited in detail," I doubt that what he saw was a heel print. Furthermore, it is hard to visualize ANY scenario ("Simpson did it," or any other) in which the assailant's heel would come in contact with the FRONT of Nicole's dress. I don't believe that a heel -- of Simpson or anybody else -- came in contact with the front of Nicole's dress.
* Bruise on Nicole's Back -- There was a bruise (a contusion, not an abrasion) on Nicole's back that Bodziak ascribes to the Bruno Magli heel. But, his reason for such a conclusion is very weak; he say, "I determined it contained contours that were not unlike the contour and general size of a portion of the heels of the Bruno Magli U2887 soles." This is obviously less than ringing certainty. He also says it did not "conform to any mark, indentation, or impression as a result of the movement or position of her body." From this I infer it was not the result of anything in contact with the body in the position in which it was found, or consistent with movement in that position (as by the coroner). Although Bodziak seems to rule out any other cause than the Bruno Magli shoe by saying this, I believe a better interpretation is that the mark was produced before Nicole came into her final position. It is my understanding that moments before her throat was slashed she was in a standing position, her carotid artery was perforated, she became immediately unconscious, her captor released her, and she fell backwards onto the concrete steps, sustaining the bruise seen at autopsy to the top of her head. A bruise to her back in the same fall would not be unexpected. (This understanding seems to be confirmed by Dr. Werner Spitz' description in the civil trial of abrasions to Nicole's dorsal aspect, as though she had been dragged slightly when she was on her back on a hard surface - as the concrete steps.) I disbelieve Bodziak's interpretation of this.
* Stride Analysis of the Bruno Magli Trail -- After creating his fine diagram of the Bruno Magli footprints along Nicole's walk, Bodziak immediately saw a feature that F. Lee Bailey later discussed much: there are about twice as many footprints as a normally walking person would make. Of this, Bodziak says, "Due to their features and proximity to one another, it was clear that there were two sets of bloody Bruno Magli impressions on the walkway." It is his idea that the perpetrator stepped in the blood pool with both feet, walked far enough down the back walk (at least to the middle gate) to wear the blood off the soles, then returned to the bodies, stepped with both feet in the blood pool again and made a second, but complete exit of the scene. Not only does this require a rather perplexing action by the perpetrator, but there are a couple of problems in the trail itself. There is no hint of a footprint (except in the immediate vicinity of the bodies) that points back toward the front gate; they all go to the alley, except for a single place where they go sideways, as though Simpson backed into some bushes, as to hide from some disturbance he may have heard from the street. More important, the presumed two sets of footprints are in perfect synchronism; one "path" has EXACTLY the same stride length as the other. The two "paths" are also coincident in their left/right position along the walk. Unless the man in the Bruno Magli shoes was consciously looking at the prints he had left on the first path, and deliberately trying to coordinate the second set, this would not happen. However, the pattern seen is easily accounted for if the man in the Bruno Magli shoes was walking with a limp. That is, he strides out with his left foot, brings the right foot just up behind it, then strides out again with the left. With such a gait, the bloody trail is completely explained in one traverse. I think that is what actually happened.
* Retail Rarity of Bruno Magli Shoes -- An early analysis of sales figures from the Bruno Magli importer showed that there had been sold in the US only 299 pairs of the Lorenzo style in size 12 that Bodziak had identified as having left the trail at Bundy. After the analysis of the Scull photograph identified Simpson's shoe as a Bruno Magli of that type, it was further known to be of a black color. It was then determined that only 29 pairs of black, size 12, Lorenzo Bruno Magli shoes had been sold in the US, and two of those pairs had been sold at the New York Bloomingdale's, where OJ Simpson was known to have shopped. Although some people might argue about the significance of these numbers, the data themselves seem to be beyond question, and I believe that they make a persuasive case that Simpson bought those shoes.
* Absence of Shoe Prints in Goldman Alcove -- Bodziak says, "When I viewed the areas [of exposed soil, as in the alcove] on later trips to Bundy, there was nothing to suggest that impressions would be retained in that soil. The soil was packed and was filled with much organic material, such as plant debris and mulch. At the time I visited Bundy, the soil was not conducive to retaining the impressions of shoes. Further... the first arriving officers ... used their flashlights in the dark to look for any impressions in the soil, particularly around Ron Goldman's body. None were located." From this, Bodziak explains the absence of footprints in the alcove as due to the nature of the surface which would not retain prints. And yet, we see in photographs of the soles of Goldman's boots [DIRTSO~2.JPG] that there are patches of lightly packed dirt consistent with the dirt in the alcove. (The right sole is substantially free of any dirt.) Maybe the situation changed by the time Bodziak saw the place (the unoccupied condo and untended grounds may have dried out some.) Maybe the conditions in the alcove were spotty, and some parts would retain a print, and others would not. But from what we see of Goldman's boot, some parts of the alcove were of loose enough soil that he could pick it up on his boot, and so the surface would have retained prints. Yet, as Bodziak says, nobody saw any prints. That could be due to other causes than the fact that the surface would not retain prints. I believe that the lack of footprints in the alcove is because nobody (victim or assailant) trampled in there; Goldman's body was heaved into the alcove, and that action did not leave footprints.
* Refuting Henry Lee's Claim of "Other Footprints" -- In addition to discussing marks on the "piece of paper by Nicole's head," the envelope, and Goldman's clothing, Bodziak refutes Lee's claim that there were footprints on the walk. Some of these were shown to be trowel marks from when the walk was poured, and others were seen in Lee's own later photographs, but not in photographs of the same spot taken on June 13th by the LAPD. I agree with Bodziak in dismissing the "shoe prints" that Lee discovered on the walk.
* Bruno Magli Shoes on Simpson's Feet -- Bodziak's analysis of the Scull photo is excellent and extremely thorough. By the end, he posed a model in a Bruno Magli shoe in the same position, and photographed from the same angle, as the Scull photograph and compared it to an enhanced version of the Scull picture. There are dozens of points of similarity, not only in the sole pattern, but in the construction of the shoe and the design of the upper. There is no doubt in my mind that the Scull photo is a picture of O.J. Simpson wearing the same shoes on September 26, 1993 that left the bloody trail at Bundy on June 12, 1994.
BODZIAK'S METHOD: The author took great care and seemed to require great certainty in his basic determinations that the bloody trail at Bundy was made by size 12 Bruno Magli shoes, and that the Scull photograph actually shows Simpson wearing those shoes. He went to great trouble to verify these things, and to exclude any other possibilities. As a result, those two conclusions (and a few others of Bodziak's) are very strongly believed by many people, and should be. But, once he had established that Simpson had been at Bundy at about the time of the murders, he jumped to the conclusion (as many others have) that Simpson did the murders himself, and his standards of proof fell dramatically. He began to see signs of the Bruno Magli imprint on Goldman's jeans and Nicole's dress -- surfaces and circumstances where such a determination would be difficult at best. And he began to explain away evidence (a lack of footprints in the alcove and possible prints by another person) casually, and with much less rigor than his original conclusions.
CONCLUSION: The part of Bodziak's work that deals with the question of whether Simpson was at the crime scene at, or shortly after, the time of the murders is solid and unassailable. The parts of his work that deal with Simpson's personal connection to the victims or the possible presence of other persons is much weaker, and in his description of these (e.g., "...were not unlike [the general characteristics of the Bruno Magli shoes]") he essentially admits that. I expect to further discuss some of Bodziak's findings in more detail in later articles.
Dick Wagner Van Nuys, CA (3/9/01) NG_716