Heidstra's Testimony


You say, "It is not just Cochran who believes the testimony of Heidstra. Even Daniel Petrocelli does." By saying this, I think you are contrasting this with the idea that I do not believe Heidstra's testimony. If so, you are mistaken. I do believe Heidstra's testimony; I do not believe Cochran's interpretation of it. (Or Petrocelli's.)

Because you have made an issue of this, I went back this afternoon and re-read what Heidstra said. (I urge you to do so, too.) He described his experience in the alley to Cochran in his testimony late on July 11th. I think I fairly summarize in the following (much condensed from the original):

Of his going southbound in the alley, Heidstra says, "...the Akita never stopped barking [in Bundy, the street Heidstra was separated from by houses]. It was hysterical barking all the time and never stopped until I reached the middle of the alley," which was a place, "Just opposite Nicole's." There, he says, "I stood there listening to the commotion of the dog, the Akita." and, "I also heard another dog start to bark, a little black dog" that lived in the house he was standing behind. He saw neither the Akita nor the little black dog, which was barking "crazy, too."

Then he says, "I was listening to the dogs and all of a sudden I heard two voices." And, "...the first one I heard was a clear male young adult voice that said, 'Hey, hey, hey.'" Then, "I heard another voice fast talking back to him, to the person who said 'Hey, hey, hey.'" But, "Could never hear [what the second voice said.] The dogs were barking so loud I couldn't hear nothing." At first he describes this as "talking," and later as "an argument," and says that it lasted for about 15 seconds. Finally, "Then I heard a gate slamming bang."

There is discussion of emerging from the alley, of seeing a white SUV turn right from Dorothy and race south on Bundy, and of Heidstra returning home. Then, on July 12th, Darden cross-examines on the subject of Heidstra's earlier statements to friends, just after the crimes, and his contact with police and attorneys. Then there is a re-direct, and a re-cross, and a re-re-direct, and I loose count. But, I scanned it all, and there is no more discussion of what Heidstra heard than what I described above. AND, there is no interpretation of what he heard during the time he was on the witness stand. It was widely presumed by TV commentators at the time -- and later said explicitly by Cochran in his closing arguments -- that Heidstra had heard the event of the murder being committed. But, that is not what Heidstra said on the witness stand, and what he said on the witness stand is the testimony. Therefore, I say I believe Heidstra's testimony, but do not believe he heard the murders being committed.

He did hear "hey, hey, hey," he did hear a second voice continue for 15 seconds, and he did hear a gate clang. He also heard the Akita crazy in the street. If you, Cockran, and Petrocelli choose to think he heard murder being committed, that is up to you. I think he heard two motorists trying to urge a crazy dog out of the trafficway of Bundy. And, I have more support in the testimony for my view than the three of you have for yours.

So, there!

Dick Wagner • Van Nuys, CA (10/28/98) NG 455a