THE BUNDY/GORHAM CURVE
BACKGROUND: In the spring of 2002 a discussion resurfaced on AFOJS of the significance of Heidstra's criminal trial testimony. He said that at a time after 10:30 on the murder night he had heard sounds near Nicole's condo that he interpreted as the voices of two men; one of them called "Hey, hey, hey," and Heidstra believed the other was a second man who said something he could not understand. He did not recognize in these sounds the voice of anyone he knew, he could not see the action that prompted the sounds, and he was not in a location from which it was obvious where the sounds originated (other than the fact that they came from directly west of him, from the direction of the street of Bundy). Shortly later he also heard a gate clang from the same direction. With the help of attorney Cochran, Heidstra wove the implication that he had heard Goldman encounter killers, the killers talked back to Goldman, and the clanging of Nicole's front gate was somehow involved in the process of killers murdering the victims, even though the gate was found open at the end. In the civil trial, attorney Petrocelli further interpreted this experience as being that the second voice that Heidstra believed he heard was that of Simpson as the killer. I have described as "the Cochran deception" this mistaken (and self-serving) interpretation of the sounds Heidstra heard.
In view of the sketchy circumstances of the observation, there are a hundred possible explanations for the sounds that Heidstra heard, and the idea that he heard Goldman encounter the killers is about the least likely of them. In particular, the prosecution had gone to considerable pains to show that three independent witnesses overlooking the alley behind Nicole's condo (a different alley than Heidstra was in) heard a dog making anguished sounds between 10:15 and 10:20, presumably to imply that Nicole's Akita was distressed at finding his mistress's corpse before that early time. There never was presented any witnesses with an alley exposure at that time who did not hear the dog making those sounds. (Although people did come to court to say that they had been elsewhere in the city at another time and did not hear the dog - nonsensically to refute people at another time and place. Some people were fooled.) Furthermore, there is no independent indication that Goldman was alive after 10:09, insofar as he could have done everything he was known to have done and got to the condo by that time, and he was not seen alive by anyone who appeared in court after he left the Mezzaluna at 9:50.
My own impression for the seven years before last spring was that the voices Heidstra heard were the voices of two motorists on Bundy who had to stop to avoid running over the "crazy and hysterical" Akita running and barking on Bundy. This seemed more likely than Heidstra's version, particularly in view of the fact that Heidstra had plans to write a book he had already entitled, "Ear Witness to the Crime of the Century," which presumably required his melodramatic interpretation of the vague and ambiguous sounds that he had heard.
Our Original Investigations -- In order to better understand the situation, in April, 2002 I undertook to photograph the area of Heidstra's observation, and collect additional indications from videotapes of the period. In particular, it was quite helpful to find a copy of the "E!" interview of Heidstra in which he appears at a very recognizable location in the alley and says, "This is the spot where I heard the voices..." It was then possible to relate that exact location to other landmarks in the neighborhood, using photos I had taken in the alley and on Bundy, and also satellite and aerial photos. As a result, I was able to produce the analysis "Red Tile Roofs" on our site at http://wagnerandson.com in which I could show unambiguously and unequivocally that when Heidstra said that he heard a gate clang "directly opposite" from his location, it was Karpf's gate 50 feet to the north of Nicole's, not Nicole's gate that he heard. This still did not explain the voices, but at least the gate was identified.
Also, a previous analysis ("Heidstra's Timeline," based primarily on Heidstra's testimony), earlier in the spring of 2002, had established with some precision that the time of Heidstra's hearing the gate was very close to 10:39.
Karpf Got Home at 10:35 -- In the last week of May, 2002, Rose and I retraced the Brown's drive to Orange County on a Sunday night, and on the way home we detoured to LAX, and were able to also recreate Karpf's drive home from the airport on Sunday night after 10 o'clock. Initially, our re-creation was just an errand of opportunity because we were "in the neighborhood" of Karpf's drive at the same time of day, day of the week, and season as when Karpf made the original trip, and I did not have any confident expectation of what we would find. According to his testimony - based on his reconstruction of his experiences that night - Karpf got home between 10:35 and 10:45 because he judged it took him "20 or 30 minutes to drive home from LAX [after leaving the parking lot]". We started a stopwatch as we passed the LAX parking lot that he had left, and followed the same route he had used. We stopped the stopwatch when we got to Karpf's garage in the alley behind his condo - the elapsed time was 17:11.
It was a moment of epiphany for me. If the trip from LAX could be made in 17 minutes, the low end of Karpf's estimated interval was unexpectedly validated: he probably got home at 10:35, and his estimate that he was at his front gate four minutes later would make that event occur at about 10:39 - at the same time that an independent analysis showed that Heidstra heard Karpf's gate slam. AND, Karpf had said that he had been frightened at the Akita running at him and had retreated behind his gate and closed it. Here was cause of the gate clang that Heidstra heard; it was Karpf, in the place that analysis showed the gate clang came from, at the time Heidstra heard it, and for the cause that Karpf had run from the Akita and closed his gate in self-defense. This understanding was developed in "Louis Karpf."
Karpf Saw More Than He Realized -- At this point, Karpf's experience at his front gate took on much greater significance than before. He had apparently come on the scene just after the voices that Heidstra heard, and the situation he saw might help explain the cause of Heidstra's "voices." In particular, Karpf did not see stopped cars on Bundy and motorists trying to shoo the Akita out of the roadway as I had speculated. So, that did not seem to be the cause of the voices. However, Karpf did see on the sidewalk across the street a "man with a dog" heading north on Bundy. He also saw that the Akita had a leash attached - Karpf was rather specific on the point and said so twice. Although the Akita was acting in a very excited and frantic way, and menaced Karpf, he did not menace "the man with the dog" (as far as Karpf saw). After charging at Karpf, the Akita retired to continue moving north on Bundy in the direction that "the man with the dog" was walking.
There was nothing in Karpf's testimony to lead a person to think that he was the source of one of the voices that Heidstra heard, and there was no one else in the scene than "the man with the dog." The leash on the Akita was nonsensical, since presumably he did not have a leash when he wandered away from the condo upon discovering Nicole's body, and he did not have a leash at about ten minutes later than the Karpf observation when Schwab discovered the dog. What explanation for Heidstra's voices, less than a minute earlier, is consistent with these observations that Karpf made? (Also notice that once it is realized that "Hey, hey, hey" occurred about half a minute before Karpf came on the scene, that cry could not have been Goldman's discovery of the killers at the condo. If that were the case, Karpf would have heard the attack in progress on Goldman, which was only 50 feet to the south of him. But, Karpf was unaware of any disturbance from that direction.)
At the time I wrote "Louis Karpf" I speculated weakly that the voices Heidstra heard were Karpf yelling "Hey, hey, hey" at the charging dog and the "man with the dog" across the street commenting. But, one would expect that Karpf would have mentioned the verbalizing in his testimony and he did not. Also, Heidstra seemed to imply that there was a delay - perhaps half a minute - between the voices and the gate clang, and Karpf as a source of "Hey, hey, hey" would make those events almost simultaneous.
Dissecting the Time - As I analyze here, the interval during which Heidstra heard the sounds is significant, and so we reviewed the criminal and civil trial transcripts. Heidstra is clear that he heard "Hey, hey, hey," and then immediately the "second voice" fast-talking back for a period of 15 seconds. The next thing he heard was the clang of a metal gate, but he is not explicit on what interval elapsed between the end of the "fast-talking" voice and the clang. In the civil trial he says that "immediately" as he heard the gate he had a particular interpretation, and the careless reader may attach "immediately" to the clang following the fast-talking, but that is not what the transcript says. We could not find any place where he is explicit in describing the time between these two events.
However, it is obvious that the voices and the gate clang were all part of the experience in the alley, and so they were not separated by a long period - I would guess a minute at most. (Heidstra had loitered some before the voices, and so we see that he was not in any particular rush to get through the alley.) In my own contemplation I have assumed that 15 seconds elapsed between the end of fast-talking and the clang. In this event, the total interval from the "Hey, hey, hey" to the clang would be half a minute, and I have used that value in the discussion here. But, I realize that this could have actually been a minute or more.
Heidstra's "Voices" Explained -- However, the leash on the Akita was the clue that explained the real cause of the "voices", as I finally realized two weeks later when I published "A Cast of Five." Someone had put the leash on the Akita after the dog discovered the bodies about 10:15, and took it off before Schwab appeared at 10:52. Also, the "Hey, hey, hey" had been heard by the man in the Bruno Magli shoes, as shown by the fact that his trail hesitates at footprint "H" and backs into the bushes on the north side of the walk at "M" as though to look back at the street. This event was a half minute or so before Karpf clanged his gate, and the north-walking "man with the dog" would have been about opposite Nicole's front walk when the "Hey, hey, hey" was issued. So, it was the "man with the dog" that shouted "Hey, hey, hey" when he was looking down Nicole's front walk at the retreating Simpson. But, why was he shouting, and what was the second voice?
Well, both "the man with the dog" and the Akita were moving north when Karpf saw them ("the man with the dog" on the opposite sidewalk and the Akita in the street of Bundy), so presumably both were somewhere opposite Nicole's front walk, 50 feet to the south, at the time of the "Hey, hey, hey," a half minute or so earlier. Combining this deduction with the "turning sideways" of the Bruno Magli trail, we have the following situation at the moment when Heidstra heard the unseen voices coming from the west... Simpson had just started to leave the scene of the murders, the "man with the dog" and the Akita were across the street, where they could see Simpson's receding silhouette, and the Akita was barking "crazy and hysterical" as Heidstra had heard him constantly for the previous five minutes.
It is my simple conjecture that "the man with the dog" was part of the murder/frame conspiracy, had brought the Akita specifically to that location (on a leash that he had provided) in the hopes that when he saw Simpson in the vicinity of the corpses the Akita would run into the scene and jump on Simpson, bark at him, chase him, or somehow interact with him in a way that would leave a combination of bloody paw prints and shoe prints (and trace evidence) that would further confuse the evidence but implicate Simpson. So, while Simpson was across the street at the bodies, the "man with the dog," juggling the leashes of both his own dog and the Akita (as well as the cell phone) tried to unhook the leash from the Akita's collar, but the frantic Akita was able to bolt in that minute and begin running away - up Bundy toward the north. (The Akita had a reputation for bolting and running from human control as a previous incident related by both Simpson and Resnick illustrated.) The "man with the dog" was dismayed that his plan to inject the Akita into the situation did not work, but worse - the Akita still had the leash attached, and if he were found in that condition it would raise GREAT suspicions as to what had happened in the course of the murders.
It was the immediate instinct of "the man with the dog" to regain control of the Akita, and his instant reaction was to yell "Hey, hey, hey" at it. In the next breath the same man growled harsh commands at the Akita (this is the voice of the "second man fast talking" that Heidstra thought he heard). It didn't work, though, and the "man with the dog" was in the process of chasing the Akita north on Bundy to get the leash when Schwab came to his front gate. The "man with the dog" saw Schwab before Schwab saw him, and broke off his attempt to get the leash, thereupon assuming the pose of a casual dog walker. Such an interpretation was a natural result since Karpf heard the frantic barking as he approached his gate, and he was primed to look for a dog as soon as he had the street in view. After the encounter at Schwab's mailbox, Schwab went back into his condo, and the Akita and the "man with the dog" continued north. The end of this scene (out of Karpf's view) was when the "man with the dog" corralled the Akita for long enough to remove the leash, then loaded his own dog in a van parked at the east side of Bundy at the south end of the Gorham/Bundy curve, and drove off, leaving the still-frantic Akita wandering Bundy.
The foregoing scenario is a perfect correlation of Heidstra's observations and Karpf's, and it completely explains why we never heard from "the man with the dog" as a witness - he was in on the deal, and was working to frame Simpson.
Corralling the Akita at 10:23 -- If the foregoing correctly explains Karpf's observation of "the man with the dog," we can wonder how that man came into control of the Akita, got the leash on him, and brought him to the east Bundy sidewalk, opposite Nicole's front walk. Recall from earlier analyses...
* The murders occurred at 10:09 to 10:10.
* The Akita came on the scene at about 10:15 and promptly left, trotting down Bundy and turning west on Dorothy, bloody paw prints last fading out as they approached the alley.
* People overlooking the alley heard an anguished dog wailing between 10:15 and 10:20.
* Fenjves may have heard the first of the dog's sounds then, and described them as a "plaintive wail."
* Stofer may have heard the last of them (shortly after 10:20) and described them as "yelping and whining," and at that time the Akita may have moved closer to the street of Dorothy.
* People passing by, or near to, Dorothy and Bundy at about 10:25 and just after did not hear the dog in any mode of barking.
* The Akita was next heard to start barking abruptly in a "frantic and hysterical" way at 10:33, and was at that time "very near" to Heidstra who was on the east Bundy sidewalk, approaching but not yet quite into the Bundy/Gorham curve. Insofar as Heidstra heard, but did not see that dog, it is implied that the dog was on the east side of Bundy when he started barking. (A greater length of the west Bundy sidewalk would have been visible to Heidstra from the place where he turned back to the alley, and the barking dog would have been perceived by Heidstra as farther away, not "very close".)
* Presumably, the Akita did not have a leash on when he discovered the bodies at about 10:15, but he did have a leash when Karpf saw him at about 10:39. The leash was gone at 10:52 when Schwab found the Akita.
* The most obvious routes for Simpson to come from his house (with or without a quick stop at his office) to the parking place behind Nicole's condo would have been: 1) down Bundy to Montana, right on Montana to the alley, left into the alley, or 2) down Bundy to Gorham, proceed through the Bundy/Gorham curve to Dorothy, turn right and go to the alley and there turn right again. The second of these courses seems the more likely since it would give Simpson a chance to size up the situation from the street before committing himself to action. That approach would have taken him directly past the location where the Akita started barking at 10:33, and Simpson would have passed that location at 10:33 in order that he be leaving the murder scene at 10:39 as other indications show.
* At the outset (10:05) Lange saw at least three people - a "woman in a white coat," talking to a "man in the white truck parked on Bundy at Dorothy," and a "threatening man" who discouraged Lange from continuing up Bundy with his dog. Not seen by Lange but implied by the circumstances were also two assailants hiding in waiting at Nicole's condo and a white van parked at the foot of her front walk.
The Akita Barks on Bundy Starting at 10:33 -- A scenario consistent with all of the preceding facts is...
* Immediately as the murders were done, the blood soaked assailants piled into the truck and the woman drove them away. During the escape she used a cell phone to make the "luring phone call" to Simpson.
* This left behind two other men, a dog, and the white van to clean up loose ends. They drove the van around the corner to park behind Goldman's car on Dorothy, then loitered to see if Simpson showed up. The "threatening man" hung out by the alley to see if Simpson appeared first in the back. The "man with the dog" planned to hang out on Bundy to see if Simpson would visit the scene from that direction. Before the men got into these positions, however, they were surprised to see the Akita trot by them on Dorothy, go up into the alley, and begin to wail from there. (Both men had been on the "lookout detail" during the actual murders to keep chance pedestrians from passing by Nicole's front walk during those critical two minutes. The two men were in cell phone contact with each other during this after-the-murders surveillance period.)
* When the Akita discovered the bodies and quickly went around to the alley and set to wailing there, the conspirators were dismayed. They had hoped and expected that the dog would interact with Simpson when he later visited the scene to take away the incriminating right hand glove. In an ad hoc improvisation to facilitate such an interaction, they corralled the dog and got a leash on him by 10:23 and put him in the back of the van, then the "man with the dog" drove the van to the south end of the Bundy/Gorham curve, unloading the Akita there and waiting until Simpson passed or there was word from his partner on the cell phone that Simpson had come down the alley from Montana.
* Simpson passed in his white Bronco at 10:33, the Akita recognized him and went berserk; he began then a constant frantic barking that did not end until he followed Schwab from the area about 10:55. Also, Schwab says that when he was with the dog, the Akita barked most as they passed the south end of the Bundy/Gorham curve - the place where the Akita had first seen Simpson come onto the scene, and the place where one of the killers had brought the Akita onto Bundy himself.
* The "man with the dog" saw Simpson pass, too, and thereupon led his own dog and the now-barking Akita down the east Bundy sidewalk to a point opposite Nicole's front walk. He waited there until he saw Simpson approach the bodies from the distant alley behind Nicole's condo. When Simpson began to leave, the "man with the dog" sought to release the Akita, and events proceeded as previously described.
* After crossing to the west Bundy sidewalk at the Bundy/Gorham curve, Schwab encountered a couple that he had previously seen, and exchanged pleasantries. Then the couple continued south on the west side of Bundy, presumably to be a second couple to pass Nicole's condo (as Aaronson and Mandel had a half hour earlier) without noticing any indication (bodies, bloody paw prints) that the crime had occurred. (It is also possible that this couple was in on the conspiracy, and wanted to glimpse the result of the handiwork before the cops showed up.)
IMPORTANCE OF THE BUNDY/GORHAM CURVE: The evaluation of the foregoing concepts (and the formulation of other valid ideas) depends in part on a true understanding of the topology of the Bundy/Gorham curve. This influences, among other things...
* The distance at which a pedestrian (as Heidstra) can see other things (as the Akita) from particular places on the sidewalk.
* The difficulty for a motorist (as Simpson) to negotiate the street in that place so as to cause him not to notice things (as the Akita and the van) by which he passes.
* The likely extent of the propagation of sounds (as the Akita's barking).
* The availability of parking places for the van.
* The locations from which potential witnesses may have been able to see something.
* The presence of vegetation, signs, and buildings that might obscure or confuse visibility or the propagation of sound.
THE SCHEME: To document the Bundy/Gorham curve, Rose and I visited the neighborhood on a weekday morning in the last week of May, 2002, and shot two 36-exposure rolls of film. After reviewing the results and identifying the need for more pictures, we went back at about 3:30 pm on October 22, 2002, and shot another roll.
The situation is shown in the satellite picture of Figure 1 which is overlaid with a legend identifying the streets and alleys, and also showing the locations of several of the Bundy witnesses. From the satellite picture a map (Figure 2) was drawn of the same area and the location of the 35 pictures of special interest described in the following paragraph is indicated. Each numbered circle shows the location of the photographer for that picture and the direction of the arrow show the direction in which the camera was pointed. (For picture "E" the camera was also pointed steeply up in the air, but for the rest the lens axis was substantially horizontal.)
In all, this produced 108 frames of which we judged that 65 were of interest, and are shown here as thumbnails in the catalog of Figures 3 through 7. Of these, 36 are of special interest; 30 of them related to the curve have been numbered with red as "1" thru "30" and six (blue "A" thru "F") show other points of interest photographed during these trips. Of all of these, seven frames ("1," "5," "7," "18," "25," "27," "28," and "30") are particularly useful for showing the nature of the Bundy/Gorham curve and the relationship of it to the murder scene; these are shown in full size as Figures 8 thru 15.
We have provided some of these to other Simpson case analysts, and the reaction is invariably surprise that the curve is of this strange configuration, and that it is related to the condo in this way. This is a highly non-typical arrangement, and if the possibilities are judged by the usual urban standards, a person will often reach the wrong conclusions in this case. (In addition to all else, there is a slope to this topography, too. Bundy slopes noticeably downward to the south, and Gorham is even more severely downhill toward the west.) To facilitate interpretation, I might mention that I have never seen any vehicles parked at the curb on Bundy between Dorothy and Gorham after 10 o'clock at night, though there are usually some parked cars during the daytime, as seen here. Also, traffic is not so great on Bundy between 10 and 11 o'clock on a Sunday night, but it is usual to see at least half a dozen cars a minute pass by.
CAPTIONS: To make the cataloged pictures more useful, a table of captions has been created, and is presented in the accompanying.
CAPTIONS FOR PHOTOS
Looking west on Gorham from Gretna Green.
North-west corner of Gorham and Gretna Green.
Looking north on Gretna Green from Gorham.
Looking south on Gretna Green from Gorham.
From curb at foot of Nicoles walk, looking south.
From curb at foot of Nicoles walking, looking directly across Bundy.
From foot of Nicoles walk, looking slightly north of directly across Bundy.
From foot of Nicoles walk, looking across Bundy and to the north.
From the curb at the foot of Nicoles walk, looking north up Bundy.
Karpfs mailbox from the foot of Nicoles walk.
Closeup of Karpfs mailbox from sidewalk at foot of Nicoles walk.
Karpfs front gate from sidewalk at foot of his front walk.
Karpfs front gate from his front walk.
View directly across Bundy from Karpfs front gate.
View south of directly across Bundy from Karpfs front gate.
Looking north along east Bundy sidewalk from directly across from Nicoles gate.
Looking north on Bundy from foot of Karpfs walk to Bundy/Gorham curve.
Bundy/Gorham curve from west sidewalk about 50 north of Karpfs front walk.
Looking south on Bundy from west sidewalk at south end of the curve.
Bundy/Gorham curve from west sidewalk at south end of the curve.
Bundy/Gorham curve from west sidewalk, 50 further north than previous.
Looking east n Gorham from the west side of Bundy in the middle of the curve.
Looking south on Bundy from the location of previous picture.
Looking east on Gorham from top of the curve; view from west-Bundy sidewalk.
Looking south on Bundy from south of the north-west corner of Bundy/Gorham.
Looking south on Bundy near the north-west corner of Bundy/Gorham.
Closeup of Heidstras alley from across street, on north-west corner.
Continuation of Bundy north of Gorham from the south side of Gorham.
Looking north from within Heidstras alley to Gorham, about 200 feet away.
Looking south in Heidstras alley from just north of the east-west alley.
Looking east down the east-west alley toward Westgate from Heidstras alley.
Looking south down Heidstras alley toward Dorothy from behind 874 Bundy.
The back of 874 S. Bundy and gate where little black dog has been seen.
Looking north in alley behind Nicoles condo at car entering drive for 871 Bundy.
Looking north from alley behind Nicoles condo at Karpfs garage.
In Nicoles alley from behind Karpfs garage and up at Fenjves 3rd floor balcony.
Closeup of Fenjves 3rd floor balcony from Nicoles alley below.
Looking east from Nicoles alley; driveway for condos north of Karpfs units.
Looking east toward Bundy from Nicoles alley along north sidewalk of Dorothy.
Looking east from sidewalk on north side of Dorothy from 50 west of Bundy.
Looking north-east toward Tistaerts house from n-w corner of Bundy/Dorothy.
Looking south from east Bundy sidewalk at south end of Bundy/Gorham curve.
Looking north from east Bundy sidewalk just north of south end of curve.
Looking north-east at the Bundy(north)/Gorham(east) intersection from the north end of the Bundy/Gorham curve.
Looking south across Bundy from the north-west corner of Bundy/Gorham. Pedestrian is 50 feet from west edge of Heidstras alley.
Looking west into the curve from the north curb on Gorham east of Bundy.
Looking north on Bundy from the north-east corner of the curve.
Looking west across Bundy from the north-east corner of Bundy/Gorham.
Looking south-west from the north-east corner of Bundy/Gorham.
Looking south toward Gorham along the east curb of Bundy north of Gorham.
Bundy/Gorham intersection from west sidewalk on Bundy 100 north of Gorham.
Looking east along the north Gorham sidewalk from n-w corner Bundy/Gorham.
Looking north-east, up Bundy from the north-west corner of Bundy/Gorham.
Looking south-east, at the south side of Gorham from n-w corner Bundy/Gorham.
Looking South at entrance to Heidstras alley from n-w corner of Bundy/Gorham.
Looking toward the southern continuation of Bundy from preceding location.
Looking north from the north end of Heidstras alley, across Gorham.
Tighter view of preceding, looking to northern continuation of Bundy.
Looking north on Bundy from 25 feet east of the preceding scenes.
Looking north across Gorham and up Bundy.
Looking across the Bundy/Gorham intersection at n-w corner from east of Bundy.
Looking west along north Gorham sidewalk from 100 east of Heidstras alley.
Looking west along the south Gorham parkway from 50 e. of Heidstras alley.
Looking into Heidstras alley, across Gorham, from n-w Gorham/Bundy corner.
Dick Wagner · Van Nuys, CA (11/12/02) BG_CURV2.doc