HEIDSTRA’S TIMELINE

 

               COCHRAN’S DECEPTION:  During the criminal trial, defense attorney Johnny Cochran created the impression that the crimes were committed later than the indications of the “barking dog witnesses” (Stein, Storfer, Fenjves) would lead one to believe.  Those three witnesses (all independent of one another and observing from different locations) all heard a dog making a distressed sound (one said “a plaintive wail”) between 10:15 and 10:20.  The unspoken implication was that this was Nicole’s Akita anguished over finding that his mistress was lying dead in a pool of her own blood, and thereby implying that the murders had been committed before that time.

 

               Cochran began his attack on this idea by presenting witnesses that did not hear a dog at that time, and thereby created the impression that all three of these witnesses (none of whom were directly impeached) had been mistaken.  The illogic of why one person who does not hear a sound disproves another that does hear the sound was never explicitly addressed by the inept prosecutors.

 

               Having cast doubt in gullible minds that the crimes were committed before 10:15, then Cochran undertook to fill the void with some idea of when they were actually committed – closer to 10:40 he contends.  It was his objective to “make the crimes be” so late that Simpson did not have time to do the deed and get back to Rockingham where he was observed at a reliably know time, shortly later.  Cochran did this by presenting a witness, Robert Heidstra, who lived in the neighborhood and had been walking his dogs that evening.  Cochran used Heidstra’s recollection of vague sounds in the night (the source of which he could not see, and whose identity he did not recognize) to create the idea that Heidstra had heard sounds of the murders beginning by the “real killers” (other than Simpson, Cochran would have you understand).

 

               Trouble is…  The time of Heidstra’s observations were not quite late enough to preclude Simpson himself from being the real killer, and so Petrocelli capitalized on the idea in the civil trial and also called Heidstra (who bizarrely had been a defense witness before) to support the idea that not only had he heard the crime, but he had heard Simpson doing it.  Such is the circus that parades for reason in an American courtroom.

 

               The specific idea that Petrocelli sought to promote (and which those with much imagination, but meager powers of reality testing did actually believe) was that a young voice Heidstra heard calling out “Hey, hey, hey” must have been Goldman arriving at Nicole’s gate in time to catch sight of Simpson about to slit her throat.  Thereupon, goes this tale, Simpson talked back to Goldman for a few seconds, loud enough that Heidstra on the hill across the street could hear but not understand, then slayed Goldman, slit Nicole’s throat, did some other thing that transferred 35 of Nicole’s head hairs, forcibly torn out when her throat was slashed, to Goldman’s shirt, then slowly left that place, and drove around to Bundy where Heidstra saw him finally flee from the neighborhood in his white Bronco.  There are many problems with this idea and a complete debunking to expose its many flaws will require a separate article. 

 

              Here I concentrate on one aspect: The time from Heidstra to hear “Hey, hey, hey” to the time when Heidstra saw the Bronco flee must be equal to the time for Simpson to first greet Goldman, do all of those murderous things, and travel to appear where Heidstra saw him.  From that there comes the interest to carefully analyze Heidstra’s timeline so that the time aspect of this fanciful story can be brought out into the daylight of reality and examined.

 

               THE SITUATION:  Robert Heidstra is an auto detailer who lives in a small apartment in Brentwood (technically, Los Angeles 90049) California, a block from Nicole’s condo.  He had lived in the same place for 17 years and had had one or two dogs for all of that time.  On June 12, 1994, he had two dogs, and the older of them was infirm with arthritis in its hind legs, limiting its walking speed.  Nonetheless, it was Heidstra’s habitual practice to take the dogs out for a walk three times a day, the last time at 10 pm (however, he was a little late in leaving home on that particular night).  His usual route was to go counterclockwise around the block opposite Nicole’s condo.  Figure 1 [MAP-H.JPG]map-h.jpg (35016 bytes) is a scan of the Thomas Bros. Guide, and shows the block around which Heidstra took his dogs highlighted in blue.  His apartment is marked at the upper right with a red dot, and Nicole’s condo is marked with another red dot on Bundy.  Green dots show where he was when he heard and saw things of interest to the case.

 

               It is obvious from Figure 1 that the neighborhood “runs at a slant,” all the streets are rotated 45 degrees from north/south, east/west.  It is part of the charm of Brentwood, but it makes discussions awkward (or imprecise).  In Figure 2 [MAP-H2.JPG]map-h2.jpg (37308 bytes) I have rotated the block in question to the conventional orientation that people think of when they discuss the Bundy environment.  In this, colloquial north is toward the top of the figure.  The dimensions in purple are as scaled off the street guide, and they represent measurements from the center of the streets.  For our purposes, the length of a path along the sidewalk is needed, and for that the purple dimension needs to be reduced by 80 feet.  The alleys in the interior of the block are shown, as well as other points of interest.  There is actually curvature to Bundy south of Dorothy that I have not depicted (and is not shown on the street guide).  Determination of the exact locations for the green benchmarks is discussed in the footnotes to the timelines.

 

               HOW FAST DOES AN ARTHRITIC DOG WALK?  A critical question in evaluating Heidstra’s timeline is the speed with which he moved.  I have been criticized in earlier comments because it was said that I “don’t know how fast an arthritic (Heidstra’s) dog walks,” and there is some truth to that.  I had retraced Heidsta’s steps, stopwatch in hand, and tried to make a fair estimate.  My normal walking speed is about 3 mph (a mile in 20 minutes) and people who have walked with me have complained that I walk too fast, so for these reconstructions I deliberately tried to walk slowly.  But, what is “slow” in walking?  (A 6 foot tall man takes steps that are nominally 2-1/2 feet long.  At 1 mph, he would take about 40 such steps a minute, or one step every 1.5 seconds.  A shorter person with a 2 foot stride would take about one step every 1.2 seconds.  Either way, Heidstra’s average progress was at a very slow pace, and probably included a significant amount of stopping.)

 

               My collaborator, Rovaan, made the following observation.   “We know rather closely when and from where Heidstra left for his walk, and the transcript tells when and where he turned back because of the Akita’s sudden barking.  Would it not be possible to compute an average rate from that?”  It sounded like an excellent idea to me, and so we explored the possibilities.

 

               METHOD: I constructed an accurate dimensioned map of the block, producing from the previous Figure 2 a new Figure 3 [MAP-H6.JPG].map-h6.jpg (38110 bytes)  Incremental distances are shown in green and the cumulative distance from the starting point is shown in gold.  Allowing Heidstra a minute-and-a-half to get out on the sidewalk from the time (10:15) when he decided to go for a walk gives us a starting point at 10:16.5.  After he goes around about half of his intended circuit he comes to the turn-around point where he hears the Akita at 10:33 and 1530 feet.  (Justification for all values is shown in the notes following the timeline.)   From this, we find that his average speed has been 92.7 feet/minute or 1.057 mph. 

 

               Of course, the average speed is the result of sometimes walking, and sometimes waiting while the dogs smell the bushes or mark their territory.  So the actual speed while Heidstra is making progress must be greater than 1 mph.  This value is seriously less than my normal walking speed, and may even be less than my speed when I am trying to walk slowly.  But, at least now we have an actual value that is based on Heidstra himself, and we can project that forward from the turning point.

 

               HEIDSTRA’S EXPERIENCE:  After hearing the Akita start to bark, and still at this speed (according to our model), Heidstra turns back and goes to the alley.  There, he goes up a short steep hill, and achieves the level space of the remainder of the alley that runs straight through to Dorothy Street.  After he passes the mid-point of the alley he is at an elevation of about 20 above the roadway on Bundy; the west side of the alley is an alternation of concrete parking pads and garages.  He continues until he gets to a good place to listen (presumably a parking pad, which would give a vantage to the west over the rooftops at hand to the air over Bundy) and it happens to be about opposite Nicole’s condo.  He stops there to listen some more to the sound of the dog barking down in the street, and as it happens, now a “little black dog” he has seen before is also barking from within the yard he is beside.  I call this location Heidstra’s “listening post.”  Figure 4 [HEIDST04.JPG]heidst04.jpg (44164 bytes) shows Heidstra being interviewed on the E! program in the alley, presumably near the location from which he heard the sounds.

 

               Heidstra says words on the witness stand that make him appear to be quite precise about where this is; he describes the location as “directly opposite Nicole’s condo,” and is adamant on the point.  Nicole’s condo is the second lot north of Dorothy on the west side of Bundy, and the second lot north of Bundy on the east side of the street is 878 S. Bundy.   But, during Heidstra’s appearance in the criminal trial an aerial photograph of the neighborhood is displayed (shown here as Figure 5 [AERIAL04.JPG]) aerial04.jpg (43795 bytes) Of several locations that are actually touched by the pointer in a Court TV clip, the only parking pad it indicates is the one at 874 S. Bundy – one farther to the north than 878.   Also, if one looks closely, he can see that the garage to the right of the pad indicated by the pointer has four steel posts protecting the stucco garage wall from the alley traffic.  In the picture of Heidstra’s interview, Figure 4, there is a white wall and a row of four posts just beyond (north of) him.  I take these two observations (the location of the pointer and the identification of the garage beside which Heidstra speaks) to be indications that Heidstra was behind 874 when he heard the men’s voices, even though that is in contradiction to his assertion that he was “directly opposite Nicole’s condo.”  (He was actually one lot to the north.)

 

               After hearing the men’s voices, Heidstra proceeded south toward Dorothy Street and as he passed one of the garages (I have assumed the first one he encountered) he heard a metal gate clang shut.  He continued to Dorothy, turned left and went up the width of one lot.  Just beside the driveway of the second house is a “large tree” under which Heidstra stopped to look back at the intersection of Bundy and Dorothy.  He must have been on the curb or slightly in the street itself, since there is a row of three small trees in the parkway (berm) to the west that would have prevented him from seeing the intersection if he were on the sidewalk itself.  After a short time of watching, he saw a “white SUV” come out of the dark, west of Bundy on Dorothy, stop at the corner, turn right, and speed away to the south on Bundy.   Figure 6, [LONGVIEW.JPG] lngview2.jpg (77939 bytes)shows a view of the intersection from the location under the tree.

 

               Shortly after seeing the vehicle, Heidstra returned to the sidewalk with his dogs and resumed the walk up the slight grade to his apartment.  He stopped once to look back, and when he got back to his building he paused for several minutes to look back to Bundy before going indoors.  During the time he waited, he continued to hear the Akita barking furiously in the distance, but then the barking slowed, and shortly after that Heidstra went in.  He got back to his apartment just before 11:00 o’clock; he knows this because the TV (which he had left on while he was gone) was “just announcing the news.”

 

               Heidstra testified for the defense in the criminal trial and for the plaintiffs in the civil trial.  His testimony was fairly consistent between the two trials, but Petrocelli’s fine hand for coaching witness to shade their testimony can be glimpsed.  In the criminal trial, for example, Heidstra repeatedly insists that the vehicle he saw was “white or light colored.  Couldn’t tell white for sure.”  But, in the civil trial he is positive it was white.  (In fact, Heidstra could not tell white from a reddish color, like tan, in the pink sodium vapor street light of the place.  However, Shively’s sighting two minutes later and a few blocks away confirms that it was Simpson in his white Bronco that Heidstra saw.  Furthermore, the fact that Heidstra did not see the SUV before it appeared at Bundy suggests that it had its headlights off – as Shively observed two minutes later of Simpson’s Bronco – and came to Bundy from some place closer than Gretna Green, a block to the west, which is also illuminated and was within Heidstra’s view.  Of course, many people believe that Simpson was parked behind Nicole’s condo and would have entered Dorothy Street there with his headlights off, in mid-block between Gretna Green and Bundy, as Heidstra’s not seeing the SUV before it got to Bundy suggests.)  For reference, I show Figure 7 [UDERSIDE.JPG]uderside.jpg (70345 bytes) which is the view down the hill and west on Dorothy from the south side of the street, opposite Heidstra’s “big tree.”

 

               THE TIMELINE:  In previous analyses of Heidstra’s time I restricted myself to the times involved in his observations, and correlated that with Shively’s time of encountering Simpson.  I correct the earlier oversight here, and follow Heidstra from the time he is aware of the need to go for a walk, until he returns to his apartment.  Also, I now realize that there was more uncertainty in Shively’s time than I thought, and so I now let that fall where it will.  Below, I have created a timeline showing the milestones in Heidstra’s trip (leaving his apartment, reaching the turning point, etc.) and for each of these I have estimated a time at which he reached that point, or observed that thing.  Except as noted, I have assumed that he traveled between points at the same 92.7 feet/min. rate that he did in the first half of his walk.  In fact, the walk from the big tree to his apartment was probably a little slower, insofar as he was going slightly downhill on Gorham and the dogs were fresh, and he was going slightly uphill on Dorothy at the end.  (See Figure 8 [GOINHOME.JPG])goinhome.jpg (129487 bytes)

 

               From reference sources (transcripts, etc.), we constructed a model of Heidstra’s movements, and computed his times at various points.   Many of these had implications for other witnesses.  For example, Pilnak apparently heard the same onset of the Akita’s barking that Heidstra did, so her time for this event should correspond to his (it does).  As another example, elsewhere it has been determined that Simpson should have arrived at Rockingham very close to 7 minutes after Heidstra saw him.  But Park did not hear Simpson drive up and go onto his own property.  Therefore, it is most likely that Simpson arrived at a time when Park was in the limo and on the phone, and thereby both sheltered from outside sounds and distracted.  It is known with some precision the exact times when Park was on the phone, and so Heidstra’s timeline can be projected into that situation to see if Park was in one of his phone conversations when Simpson arrived.  (Often he was, depending on the specifics of the analytic model below.) 

 

               We made a determination, and it was “lumpy”; it did not fit everywhere very well.  We called that “Model A” and researched more to refine the model.  When we recomputed we called that result “Model B” and it was better.  In that way, we progressively refined the model by reference to more transcript, more photographs and videotapes, and I made a personal visit to make some observations and measurements to clarify a few details.  At the end we produced “Model I” which is shown below, and which appears to conform well with all the information that can be known (short of interviewing Heidstra himself).

 

               CONCLUSIONS: We believe that model “I” is very close to the actual events.  According to that, Simpson arrives home while Park is on the phone inside the limo, and so the stealthiness of Simpson’s return is explained.  This model requires that Jill Shively’s clock error was 5.4 minutes, and I called her to discuss this possibility; she is good with it.  (Why did not somebody calibrate the clock error at the time!)   Model “I” conforms to Pilnak’s time of hearing the onset of the Akita’s bark, and also the Schwab/Karpf estimate of the time when Schwab encountered the dog, and the animal slowed from constant barking to intermittent.  The model puts the earliest time for the three thumps within the range of time that Kato gives for hanging up on the phone conversation with Ferrara, but Ferrara’s estimate of this time is about 6 minutes off.  (Her estimate is way off in all models with all assumptions, and I now regard her as an innocent but unreliable witness.  Formerly, I was more inclined to use her value than Kato’s.)  Most of all, this model uses values within the range of Heidstra’s testimony throughout, and hence the model is in excellent agreement with Heidstra’s reported experience.  Figure 9 [PARKTIME.JPG] parktime.jpg (29970 bytes)shows the activities of other witnesses that are related to the times of Simpson’s movements.

 

               However, this model gives slightly less than three minutes between the “Hey, hey, hey” and the time that Simpson drove away from Bundy and Dorothy.  That is about right for the time that it would take Simpson to leave the scene (accounting for his pauses apparent from the Bruno Magli trail at prints “M” and “S”, the slow walk indicated by the lack of “tails” on the blood drops, and the stairs he had to go up and down on the way out).  But, there is not nearly time enough for Simpson to also have murdered Goldman, slit Nicole’s throat, gone back to transfer 35 head hairs from Nicole “forcibly torn out” to Goldman’s shirt, and then left (stepping as he must have in a blood pool that did not yet exist).

 

               The results of this analysis are entirely consistent with the idea that Simpson made an after-the-fact visit to Bundy to take away the incriminating right hand glove that he had been told was there in a telephone conversation at 10:14.   The “Hey, hey, hey,” that Heidstra heard was not from Goldman (who was already 28 minutes dead by then) but was one of a couple of men on Bundy dealing with a crazy dog loose in the street – probably motorists who had to stop for the beast.  Heidstra’s observations do not tell us who did kill the victims, but they tell us that Simpson did not – there was not enough time.

 

               Skeptics of Cochran’s “Goldman was the voice that cried ‘Hey, hey, hey’” theory notice other details of the evidence that should be a topic of later discussion…

 

               * If Simpson came into the scene through (or over) the back gate, how did the front gate come to come to be open, and particularly so early as to let the dog out to roam the streets at least five minutes before Goldman showed up?

               * If the dog left the scene before Nicole’s throat was slit and before Goldman arrived, how did he get blood all over his feet and legs?

               * How does it happen that there are bloody paw prints from the middle of the walk to the sidewalk, but there are none up close to the bodies?

               * If the dog left the scene early, how come there were a couple of dog fur hairs on the right hand (Rockingham) glove, which probably required adhering blood on the otherwise smooth leather surface to remain attached during the trip to Simpson’s estate?

               * According to Cochran’s theory, the Akita had been barking “crazy and hysterical” for about four minutes when Goldman drove by the condo and parked on Dorothy.  Goldman must have seen (and probably had to avoid) the dog as he drove by, and the animal would have been the most conspicuous object in Goldman’s environment as he walked to Nicole’s front gate.  In fact, according to the way the Akita interacted with Schwab a few minutes later, he would have insisted on interacting with Goldman.  Was Goldman not cautioned by this strange behavior?  Was Simpson not worried about being caught with the dog making such a conspicuous racket at night in front of the condo, just a few yards away?

               * Following Cochran’s idea we are forced to think that Simpson spent more than five minutes attacking Nicole but only inflicted a half dozen wounds.  But, with Goldman he inflicted 30 or 40 wounds in less than two minutes.  That is very strange to contemplate.

 

MATCHING WITNESSES:

 

               The true timeline must match the actual experiences of the various witnesses, even though the witnesses themselves may be in error as to the time at which the events occurred.  One attempts to find the timeline that minimizes these errors, and accounts for the different reliability of different witnesses.

 

               STEVEN SCHWAB: Encountered the Akita, apparently at 10:55, whereupon the dog ceased his frantic barking and began to bark intermittently.  Heidstra says that at the end of his outing he waited outside his apartment house for “three minutes,” and then heard the dog’s barking “begin to slow down.”  From this, Heidstra arrived at his building at 10:52 or so, and heard the change in the barking when (unseen by him) Schwab showed up at Bundy and Dorothy at 10:55.  (Note:  If the man with a dog walking north on Bundy, as Karpf saw, was Schwab, then Schwab’s encounter with the Akita would have been about 10:55.)   Our analysis finds 10:56.5 as the time of the encounter which is only a minute and a half after the Schwab/Karpf estimate; considering the roughness of the estimate, this is a good match.

 

               JILL SHIVELY:  She testified in the grand jury that she looked at her car clock in the Westward Ho parking lot two minutes after leaving the encounter with Simpson; the clock then said 10:52 (she also said that Simpson spent about a minute in the intersection before he fled north, toward his Rockingham estate.)  But, as Marcia Clark knew (but concealed from the grand jury), the only time reference in Jill’s encounter was the “little stick-on battery-operated clock” in her car, and Jill knew that contained a significant error.  If the prosecutors had been alert, they (or the police) would have calibrated the clock error in the week after the crimes, and we would know today what time Jill’s Simpson-encounter happened.  But, all we know is that the error could be as large as “eight to ten minutes,” and it is in such a direction that the clock would show a later time than was true.  (For a long time I have regarded the clock error as being 8 to 10 minutes, but now I realize that it could have been as great as 8 to 10 minutes.  My apology to Jill for misunderstanding.)  The analysis here determines Jill’s clock error to have been  5.4 minutes, which is within the range she considers possible.

 

               ALLAN PARK:  The limo driver was alternately out of the car, trying to page Simpson on the intercom, and was inside the car on the telephone trying to get advice as to what to do if he could not.  When he was out of the car he was in a position where he could likely hear Simpson’s car arrive or other sounds associated with Simpson’s coming home.  When he was on the phone he was preoccupied and in a more sheltered position, and probably would not have heard these sounds.  Since Park did not hear Simpson arrive, one is led to believe he was in the car at that time.  The times when this happened were well documented by telephone records, and are shown in the accompanying Figure 9.  According to this, Simpson probably arrived at (I) 10:43 to 10:44:30, at (II) 10:46:20 to 10:49:30, or (III) after 10:52:10.  These times can be related to Shively’s encounter, since it takes two minutes to go from where Heidstra saw Simpson to where Jill almost collided with him, it takes four minutes to go from where Jill last saw Simpson to his Rockingham gate, and Simpson was in the Bundy/San Vicente intersection for one minute.  The second of   these ranges puts Park inside the limo when Simpson arrives (at 10:48.6) according to the present analysis.

 

              KATO/FERRARA:  Kato heard three thumps on his wall, and this is widely considered to be due to Simpson in one way or another, so Simpson must have arrived home before the thumps occurred (at least a minute-and-a-half before, I believe.)  At the time this happened he was on the phone to a friend, Rachel Ferrara; they talked for a while after the thumps, then ended the conversation, Kato got a penlight, and went from his room to the driveway near the front of the house.  The time when he arrived at the driveway was 10:55, and a reconstruction by Petrocelli makes it likely that Kato ended the phone conversation at about 10:54.  The time of the three thumps is then fixed by the period from that until the phone conversation ended.  Kato estimates this to be (variously in his different appearances) as two to five minutes.   Rachel estimates it was ten minutes.  Some people believe that Kato may be shading the truth somewhat, and Ferrara appears to have a timekeeping problem, since she thought the conversation ended at 10:50, when other indications put the time at 10:54.  According to the present analysis, the three thumps occurred at 10:50.1, which is within Kato’s estimate, but 6.1 minutes after Ferrara’s.  However, Ferrara’s estimate was seriously in error in every model we tried.

 

              HEIDSTRA:  He is in about the worst position to estimate the time of any of these witnesses, insofar as he was outside of his house and did not refer to a timepiece when these events happened, and he is relying entirely on mental estimates.  (However, he remembers that when he returned from this walk and went into his apartment he turned on his TV and saw an announcement for the news that was about to begin.  I find that a time of 10:59 for this matches quite well with Schwab’s experience, and so I think that the times commonly shown in all scenarios here from 10:53 onward are accurate.)  On the other hand, this trip was a habitual activity for Heidstra and so the familiar parts of it (all except the alley and the observations of that particular night) would be things he knew quite well, from repetition.

 

              PILNAK: Pilnak told Cochran on July 11 that she ended a phone conversation with her mother at exactly 10:28, and then commenced to do some household and personal things.  At some point she heard a dog begin to bark (when there had been no barking before) and continue barking for a long time.  She reconstructed her activities after 10:28, and estimates that the time of onset of the barking (as SHE heard it from several houses below Dorothy) was 10:33 to 10:35.  The first couple of minutes of barking could have been up in the Gorham curve, and she might not have heard it inside her house, but 10:33 is a plausible time that the dog might have started barking, and is nearly at the middle of the time estimate range that Hiedstra gives (10:30 to 10:35).

 

                      AGREEMENT OF WITNESSES WITH MODEL

MODEL

G

H

I

 

 

 

 

Pilnak

in range

in range

in range

Schwab/Karpf

-1.5 min.

-1.5 min.

-1.5 min.

Kato

okay

okay

okay

Ferrara

+ 6.1 min.

+5.1 min.

+ 6.1 min.

Park

okay (II)

okay (II)

okay (II)

Shively clock error

-5.4 min.

-6.4 min.

-5.4 min.

Heidstra

v. good

v. good

v. good

              

                          TIMELINES FOR VARIOUS SCENARIOS

MODEL:

G

H

I

 

 

 

 

Time to Turning point, min.

16.5

16.5

16.5

Ave speed, fpm1

92.7

92.7

92.7

Ave speed, mph

1.057

1.057

1.057

 

 

 

 

Lv. Home,

10:15.0

10:15.0

10:15.0

On Sidewalk, 0’, 1.5 min.2

10:16.5

10:16.5

10:16.5

Arr. Turning point, 1530’3

10:33.0

10:33.0

10:33.0

Arr. Alley entrance, 1600’

10:33.8

10:33.8

10:33.8

Extra for steep hill,0.5 min.4

N/A

N/A

10:34.3

Arr. Listening Point, 1850’

10:36.5

10:36.5

10:37.0

Hear “Hey, Hey, hey,” 1.7 min.5

10:38.2

10:38.2

10:38.7

Lv. Listening point, 0.3 min.6

10:38.5

10:38.5

10:39.0

Arr. Visibility point, 2000’7

10:40.6

10:39.6

10:40.6

See “white SUV,” 1.0 min.8

10:41.6

10:40.6

10:41.6

Leave visibility point, 1.0 min.9

N/A

N/A

10:42.6

Remaining time to apartment

11.9

12.9

10.9

Walking time

8.5

8.5

8.5

Loiter10

3.4

4.4

2.4

Arr. Home, 3140’

10:53.5

10:53.5

10:53.5

Hear Dog begin to bark less, 3m.11

10:56.5

10:56.5

10:56.5

Leave sidewalk, 1 min.12

10:57.5

10:57.5

10:57.5

Notice TV inside apt., 1.5 min.

10:59.0

10:59.0

10:59.0

 

 

 

 

Shively first sees Simpson13

10:43.6

10:42.6

10:43.6

Simpson arr. R’ham gate14

10:48.6

10:47.6

10:48.6

Earliest “3 Thumps”15

10:50.1

10:49.1

10:50.1

“Hey, hey, hey” to “white SUV”16

3.4 min.

2.4 min.

2.9 min.

               Models A thru F have different numerical premises than shown, and lead to results that are more out of line with Heidstra’s testimony and with other witnesses than these; some require an unreasonable amount of dead time in Heidstra’s circuit.

 

PREMISES…

     A: Simple constant speed walk, actual distance, with 5 minute’s used for non-walking.

     B: Same, but artificially elongated 200’ at alley entrance to account for hill.

     C: Base a constant speed on first half of course, arriving at turning point at 10:33.

     D: Original scenario to match Shively, Ferrara, Park, and be okay with Heidstra except end.

     E: New turning point/alley/speed/delays at hearing/seeing.   Otherwise, like “C”.

     F: Move listening post from behind 878 to 874 S. Bundy Dr.

     G:  Same as “F,” but takes 1.5 min. to get from apartment to sidewalk.

     H:  Same as “G” but hurry at twice average speed from hearing to seeing locations

      I:   Same as “H” but 1.5x speed between observation points, and delay on climbing hill.

 

TECHNICAL NOTES FOR MODEL “I”:

               1 – Average speed in feet/minute (fpm) is computed from the time and distance to go from Heidstra’s first getting to the sidewalk in front of his apartment to the place in the Gorham/Dorthy curve where he turned and went back to the alley (the “turning point”).  This part of Heidstra’s course was uncomplicated by the unusual events of that night, and represents his natural rate of his progress with the dogs.   When translated into miles/hour, the speed over this first part of the course varied over the several models from 0.95 to 1.25 mph, and so would be considered a “very slow walk,” but of course this average included time for the dogs to stop completely and smell some bushes and mark as many objects as they were inclined to.  If the average is 1.0 mph, the speed when he is actually making progress is probably 1.5 mph or more (still a slow pace).  (Note that on re-cross examination there is this: “MR. DARDEN: So is it fair to say that it takes you about what, three minutes to walk a hundred meters with your dogs?  MR. HEIDSTRA: Yeah.”  At roughly a yard to a meter, this pencils out to 300 feet in 3 minutes, which is almost exactly the values that we have determined and used in this analysis – 100 feet per minute.)

 

               2 – Heidstra is very emphatic that he began this trip at 10:15.  But, as he tells Petrocelli in the civil trial, “I was reading my paper and looking at TV, and I forgot about the time.  And one of my dogs gave me a signal, and I looked at my watch, and it was 10:15.  And I said, hey, we better go now.  So I know exactly it was 10:15.”  To this, Petrocelli says, “So you took -- you took the two dogs and you left your apartment.”  Heidstra answers in the affirmative.  By this we know that Heidstra realized at 10:15 the need to leave, and thereupon gathered up his dogs, putting a leash on one of them, went out the door and locked it, and made his way to the sidewalk in front of his apartment house.  Since he lives in an apartment in the basement, all of this would take a bit of time to do, and I have conservatively estimated one-and-a-half minutes from the time he looked at his watch until he got on the sidewalk to begin this trip.

 

               3 – It is hard from Heidstra’s description to identify the exact location of the place where he turned back to the alley (the “turning point”) more accurately than within about 50 feet.  However, he is very clear that he passed the alley and walked some distance before he “turned back and went to the alley.”  However, he also says (concerning the turning point), “I just arrive on Bundy. I didn't go on Bundy.”  (In the civil trial he says, “Just beyond the alley there…  Almost in the curve.”)  From Figure 3 we see that this street runs (in the orientation of the figure) fairly straight and toward the south-west from the alley for about 130 feet, and then goes into a turn about 120 feet long, bending toward the south.  At the end of the turn, the street is going north and south, and in that area (from just north of Nicole’s condo) it is unmistakably “Bundy Drive.”  In fact, the entire length up to the alley is probably technically “Bundy,” but Heidstra passed the alley and yet described that he “didn’t go on Bundy.”  So, the transition for him is somewhere west of the alley.  I have guessed that he considers the transition to occur where the south-westward straight part meets the curved part.  Halfway between that and the alley is where I have assumed the turning point to be, and that is 70 feet west of the alley.  (However, Heidstra also says, “There is a big curve here, big curve here on Bundy, and I stopped there,” which would put the turning point about a hundred feet farther on; I have tried to be conservative with my estimate.)

 

               The time at which Heidsta reached the turning point is easier to know.  He describes it as “Oh, it takes me about twenty minutes to get down there, so from 10:15, 10:30, 10:35,” and since up to this point his walk with the dogs is a thing Heidstra had done hundreds of time, there is good reason to believe his estimate of 10:30 to 10:35.  Heidstra said that when he reached this point, he suddenly began to hear the Akita “barking like crazy hell broke loose with the Akita,” and the dog had not barked before he got to that point.  More than a block to the south, Denise Pilnak heard a dog start to bark loudly where she had not heard a dog before, and she also described the time when this happened as having been at “about 10:35,” and at the earliest, “It could be 10:33 because I've retimed those activities.”  (Pilnak has portrayed herself as being very time conscious.)  We can be reasonably confident that these two witnesses were both hearing the same thing from different perspectives, and since they substantially agree on the time, we can be confident in that.  For this analysis I have used 10:33 as the onset of barking, which is within their estimates, and better fits the experiences of other witnesses than other values in that range. 

 

               4 – As one enters the alley from Gorham the first 25 feet is quite steep; in fact, my feet slip on the loose gravel there, and I am conscious of making slower progress as I go up into the alley.  Figure 10 [ALLYHILL.JPG]allyhill.jpg (29484 bytes) shows the entrance of the alley from Gorham, as Heidsta went up it.  (Heidstra says, “I went up in the alley there to high level ground.”)  Undoubtedly, Heidstra with his one infirm dog would go up that place more slowly than in other parts.  I have arbitrarily estimated that over this short span, Heidstra would go at a third of his usual pace.   Normally a 25 foot span would take him 0.27 minutes, but because of the steepness, it will take him 0.81, so I have added 0.5 minutes to account for this obstacle.  (This factor was not included in models before “I”.)

 

               5 – As Heidstra went down the alley with his dogs at some point he passed a transverse alley that goes east to Westgate, but does not go west.  Shortly south of that Heidstra stopped to listen to the Akita still barking on Bundy, which had now been joined by another dog in a yard at hand who was also barking.  This is the place from which he heard a man’s voice in the night to the west call out, “Hey, hey, hey,” and I have referred to the place where he heard this as his “listening post.”

 

               There is some uncertainty as to the exact location of the listening post.  He says that he was directly across from Nicole’s condo (and is rather adamant about it) and that would be behind 878 S. Bundy (the second house north of Dorothy on the east side of Bundy as Nicole’s condo is the second house on the west side), but in televised interviews Heidstra is photographed describing his experience from behind 874 S. Bundy, next door to the north.  Both of these houses are configured with an open concrete parking pad on the south and a garage on the north.  Because the ability to hear distant sounds – and particularly to tell their direction – is better from the open area than behind the garage, I have taken the listening post to be opposite the middle of the parking pad at 874 S. Bundy.  He must have heard the “Hey hey hey” from behind a parking pad, and not behind a garage because elsewhere he says that from his listening post he could see (presumably in a daytime reconstruction) the red tile roof of Nicole’s condo; this is not possible from behind one of the garages.  ( From the civil trial, “Q. Can you actually see Nicole's condominium from the alley where you're standing --  A. Well, you can see the roof, the tiles, the red tiles; that I could see, yes.”) 

 

               Heidstra described in the criminal trial that he had stopped at the listening post and waited for a while before hearing the “Hey, hey, hey.”  He says, “Well, I stood there listening to the commotion of the dog, the Akita.”  Then, “For a minute or so, more than a minute.”  I have taken this to be 1.7 minutes.

 

               6 – While he was standing at the listening post Heidstra heard a young man call, “Hey, hey, hey,” and an older man’s voice “fast talking” back to him for “fifteen seconds”; both voices were unfamiliar to him.  (However he also said that the duration of the second man’s voice was, “A few seconds, very short, very short.”  To Darden he says, “It was very short.” On re-direct he says he heard, “almost nothing, just the two voices very fast, very quick.”  So, it could have been somewhat less than a full 15 seconds.)  Heidstra could not understand what the second man said, and shortly later he heard a metal gate clang once.  At the time he heard the gate slam, he was no longer behind the parking pad, but had moved south to behind the garage.  (On cross-examination: “MR. DARDEN: That garage was in front of you when you heard the gate slam?   MR. HEIDSTRA: Right.”)  I have taken this to mean that Heidstra was interested in the voices he had heard and wanted to know more, so he moved promptly to go to Dorothy Street from where he could see what was happening on Bundy.  (Also he is asked in the civil trial what he did after the gate clanged and he says, “Well, then I continued out of the alley.”  Insofar as he was “continuing” out of the alley when he heard the gate, one interprets that he was already in progress toward Dorothy at that time.)   From this, I take the time from “Hey, hey, hey” until he began to go south in the alley to be only 0.3 minutes (18 seconds).

 

               7 – Heidstra walked down the alley, to Dorothy, east on that to a “big tree” that is about 60 feet east of the east edge of the alley.  Figure 11 [ALY&TRE2.JPG]alytre2.jpg (95762 bytes) shows the north side of Dorothy Street and the short path that Heidstra traveled from the alley to the tree.  Also, compare Figures 8 and 10 to see that there are no other “big trees” in the vicinity that could be confused with the one identified in this article.  The 115 feet from the presumed listening post to the Dorothy sidewalk is fairly level, it is bounded on the east by an austere whitewashed block wall and on the west by garages, parking pads, and a fence; there is nothing in the stretch to attract the interest of man or dog.  It also appears that Heidstra was anxious to learn more about the commotion on Bundy, so I expect that he moved without delay, and did not dawdle.  I have taken his speed from the listening post to the big tree to be 1.5 times his AVERAGE speed, which includes time to “stop and smell the flowers.”  This produces a speed of about 1.5 miles an hour (still a very slow speed), and is probably representative of the speed that Heidstra had moved on the rest of the trip when he was not stopped for the dogs.  (In the previous model “H” I assumed he traveled this space at 2 mph.)  Also notice that in the civil trial, “Q. How many minutes after that [entering the alley] were you at the other end of the alley?  [vague answer]   Q. Five minutes, at the outside?  A. Yeah, at the outside.”  This corresponds in our model to 4.2 minutes.

 

               8 – Heidstra waited with his dogs under the tree, and he watched the far corner of Dorothy and Bundy (about 290 feet away) while he continued to hear the dogs bark.  He says, “And when I was looking there from the commotion, I was listening to two minutes.”  Then he saw a vehicle approach Bundy from west on Dorothy, stop, and make a right turn to go south on Bundy.   There is much discussion about the kind of vehicle, but in the end it is most fairly described that Heidstra saw a “white SUV” (which could have been Simpson’s Bronco, but Heidstra did not definitely know it to be so).  In the criminal trial it was “white or light colored,” by the civil trial Heidsta thought it was definitely “white.”  However, Heidstra is not real accurate in his quantitative estimates, since he gives the impression that he was 150 feet from the white SUV, and he was actually almost twice that far.  He also says that as he was watching from the tree, “Two cars were passing on Bundy going south and north, I guess,” (and going too fast to identify) but later he changes this to be both cars going south on Bundy.  However, he is asked repeatedly about other cars than the white SUV, and he consistently says he only saw two cars going by on Bundy.

 

               Now, Bundy is the major north/south thoroughfare in the neighborhood, and I have been there after 10:00 o’clock at night and seen the traffic myself.  I do not believe that a span in which only two cars pass could be longer than 30 seconds, and certainly not as long as two minutes.  I think that Heidstra was “hyped up” by this mysterious experience with sounds in the night, and he estimated this time as being longer than it actually was.  As a result, I have taken the waiting time before seeing the SUV to be one minute, and I think this is overestimating the fact.  (In fact, in the civil trial, there is this…  “MR. PETROCELLI: And again, after you got to the other side of the alley, about how many minutes went by before you believe you saw the car?  … A. A minute, minute and a half, or something like that.”  This is in very good agreement with the premise here of one minute, particularly when taking into account that the half minute difference between “getting to the other side of the alley” and “waiting under the tree,” could lead to a value of half a minute in literal devotion to the civil trial transcript.)

 

               9 – There is nothing in particular about the appearance of the white SUV that would drive Heidstra away from his vantage point under the tree.  The same motive that caused him to go there and wait for a minute or so to understand the commotion with the dog on Bundy could have motivated him to wait a little longer before leaving there, to see if more would develop.  I have assumed that he tarried for one more minute after the appearance of the white SUV before heading back home.  (A delay after seeing the SUV was not assumed in models before “I”.)

 

               10 – There is some uncertainty about Heidstra’s speed on the way home from the tree, but it is so slow that he repeatedly remarks on the fact, and he said he stopped once en route to look back to Bundy.   On-redirect in the criminal trial he says, “slow walking back with the dog.  I repeat it again, very slow.” and, “Slowly went back home, yes.”  From the civil trial, “I proceeded to go home to my apartment, very slowly, with my older dog, who was very slow.  His rear legs are pretty bad.  We very slowly go back.  Q. And then you did what?  A. I went, while the dogs were barking, never stopped, I went on to my apartment, and stopped one time and looked back again on Bundy.”  In the model we have accounted for this by computing the time available for that part of the trip to reach the sidewalk in front of Heidstra’s apartment building at 10:53.5, computing the time it would take at the nominal speed (1 mph), and assigning the surplus time as being “Loiter.”  Accordingly, Heidstra appears to have taken about 2-1/2 minutes longer in this segment than one would expect, if he had not walked remarkably slowly and stopped once to look back.  (Also, the trip from the tree to Heidstra’s apartment is slightly uphill.)

 

               11 – We have computed the back-end timing from the fact that when Heidstra got into his apartment “they were announcing the eleven o’clock news.”  I take this to be 10:59 (see below).  Assuming the same minute-and-a-half to get into the apartment from the sidewalk that we used to get out, Heidstra leaves sidewalk at 10:57.5.  But, Heidstra stood on the sidewalk listening to the commotion from Bundy for some time…  “MR. HEIDSTRA: Well, I stood in front of where I live for a couple of minutes listening to the commotion of the dogs. They were still barking... And all of a sudden they went slow and slow barking and I went inside.”  From the civil trial, “And I came in front of my apartment and listened to the commotion of these two dogs.  And I stood there for three minutes or something, listening to the Akita barking like crazy.  And then all of a sudden, he slowed down a few barks. So I said, well, he's calming down now.  So I said, well, it's over, the whole commotion.  So I slowly went into my apartment with the two dogs.”  From this I have used a three minute time for standing on the sidewalk in front of his apartment house for Heidstra to listen to the sounds in the night.  Thus, Heidstra arrived at his home at 10:53.5.

 

               Notice that this gives good agreement with events that were happening down on Bundy unseen by Heidstra.  The best interpretation of the Schwab and Karpf testimony is that Schwab encountered the Akita at about 10:55, and at that time the dog ceased his constant barking and began to bark intermittently.  In our model, based on the time that Heidstra got back into his apartment, this event happened at 10:56.5: very good agreement.

 

               12  On cross examination, Darden tried to get Heidstra to say that the “announcement” of the news he saw when he walked into his apartment could have been a “teaser” that occurred five or ten minutes before the hour.  Heidstra seemed to understand the concept and rejected it.  He said, “The news was just starting.  It was just starting.  They announce the news.  It was not that the news was coming.  It was already there.”  In my experience with LA television, they can “announce the news” and mention a few topics at a minute before the hour, run a raft of commercials exactly on the hour, and then begin to describe the stories at a minute or so after the hour.  From this, I believe that Heidstra got into his apartment at 10:59.   Also from Darden’s cross-examination we learned the specific part of the building that Heidstra lives in: Heidstra lives “in the front… in the sub-garage” of his apartment house.

 

               13 – In previous analyses I have been slavish to Shively’s description of the clock error in her car.  (It was the only time reference for her experience of nearly colliding with Simpson.)  As I began this analysis I could see that scenarios that satisfied all other witnesses produced less of a clock error than the “eight to ten” minutes I had been using for this.   So, I phoned her and discussed the matter; I had misunderstood.  What she had intended in our 1998 conversations (and what she probably said) was that the error in her “little stick-on battery-operated” car clock could have been as much as “8 to 10 minutes.”  I asked her specifically whether she thought the error could have been 4 to 6 minutes, and she said she would not be surprised if it had been.  The clock error implied by this model is 5.4 minutes.  Hence, I consider that there is no contradiction between this analytic model and Shively’s actual experience.

 

               14 – This scenario puts Simpson as arriving at the Rockingham gate at 10:48.6, near the end of Park’s phone conversation with his mother.  So, Park is at that time inside the limo and not in a good position to hear the sounds of Simpson’s arrival at the other gate about 150 feet away from him and beyond the limo, two estate walls, and much vegetation. 

 

               15 – This scenario puts the earliest practical (and most likely, I believe) time of the “three thumps” at 10:50.1, which is 3.9 minutes before the latest time for Kato to have hung up the phone conversation with Ferrara, and about in the middle of his many estimates of this span (“two to five minutes.”)  However, 10:50.1 involves a 6.1 minute error for Ferrara’s estimate of this period, but she is not close to right in any of the scenarios we have studied.

 

               16 – A major result of the study is to find that the time from “Hey, hey, hey” to seeing the white SUV is 2.9 minutes.  Since it is conservatively estimated that it would take Simpson a minute and a half at a minimum to walk slowly down Nicole’s back walk, get into his car, and drive to where Heidstra saw him (not accounting for indeterminate delays at footprints “M” and “S”), this only leaves 1.4 minutes if “Hey, hey, hey” was Goldman’s encounter with Simpson for Simpson to murder Goldman, slit Nicole’s throat, return to Goldman to transfer 35 of Nicole’s head hairs, and set out.   Not enough time for that.  Even the most zealous Simpson critic could not seriously claim that all of that could be done in less than two minutes, and none of the more plausible models studied here gave a time for this span of more than 3.5 minutes.

 

               17 – Also notice that the time from the onset of the Akita’s barking (up near Gorham) was 10:33 and the “Hey, hey, hey” was at 10:38.7.  So, the gate was open before 10:33 (in order to allow the dog to get out), and presumably something had already happened to cause the dog to be “barking like crazy hell broke loose with the Akita.”  The adherents of “Goldman was the voice that cried ‘Hey, hey, hey’” seem to have two unattractive alternatives… 1) The gate was opened and the dog was caused trauma by Simpson’s attack on Nicole which continued for five minutes before she was rendered helpless, then Goldman came along just as Simpson was about to finish her off.  But, if that is so, why was she unable to scream or escape in that time?  Or, 2) Nicole was promptly subdued before 10:33, but Simpson just hung around waiting for Goldman to show up and complicate his life.  In both cases, the dog ran away from the scene rather than staying near the action and barking, as a dog would be expected to do.

 

              (According to Heidstra’s timeline, “Hey, hey, hey” couldn’t have been Goldman/Simpson.)

 

          Dick Wagner • Van Nuys, CA   (3/29/02)   H_TIME.doc

 

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