The following scenario is an account of the crime as the author has deduced it from courtroom evidence and testimony, information in books on the subject, input from contributors to AFOJS, private correspondence and interviews, and independent investigations, reconstructions, and experiments. (See the author's site, http://www.wagnerandson.com for details.) Those sources collectively indicate that several individuals played specific roles in the crime. Even though they can not be identified yet, the killers have been given fictitious names in the scenario for convenience in following them through the events. The motive for the crime and the involvement of named individuals (e.g., Kardashian, Barbieri, Resnick, etc.) is speculative, but the conduct of the crime and the sequence of associated events conforms to the evidence and other factual information.
WHY: Simpson's long-time friend, Robert Kardashian had made his fortune in the recorded music business and had met many and varied people during that career; among them some with connections to the underworld. One such person (professional gambling branch) approached Kardashian for an introduction to Simpson in the summer of 1993. This contact represented an immense and very modern professional sports betting ring with (800) phone numbers, off-shore banking, internet web sites, and every modern resource. It was their aim to build a clientele among very wealthy "high rollers." Through his affiliation with Hertz, Simpson routinely met such men -- corporate officers, other celebrities like himself, influential people in government,... So, a deal was concluded. When Simpson was playing golf with such men he would pass along an (800) phone number that would connect with a world-class virtual sports betting parlor. In exchange for new clients that he brought, Simpson would get a "finder's fee." It was like free money to Simpson ("off the books," and untaxed), and he considered that the arrangement was a real windfall for him, and it gave him a thrill to deal with actual underworld figures.
But, in the latter part of 1993 Simpson was in a state of reconciliation with his ex-wife, Nicole, and she got wind of his favors for the mob. She went ballistic. She recalled the furor over Pete Rose's betting with professional gamblers, and his downfall as a result. Rose had only been a customer of the mob, and Simpson's connection would undoubtedly bring worse public ostracism, if it was ever found out. Nicole saw the prospect that her gravy train was about to become derailed, and she prevailed on OJ to withdraw from his mob connection and denounce it to those he had already steered. The mob was VERY angry with this development and threatened Simpson. He demurred that it was not his fault, Nicole made him do it. That was not a good enough answer, but it did raise the specter that she could expose the operation, since she herself was not at risk. The mob threatened Nicole, but she was adamant. A deal was struck: Nicole, OJ, and Kardashian would keep quiet about OJ's previous affiliation with the mob, and the mob would let bygones be bygones. However, in the tense and frightening weeks leading up to this stand-off Nicole did confide about OJ's mob involvement, and the mob's threats on her own life, to one person -- her closest confidant at the time -- Cora Fischman.
DECEPTION: As sometimes happens in dealings with the mob, those people were less than forthright, and they let it be known to Kardashian that the understanding with the Simpsons was only a stop-gap. The mob had suffered loss of face with those that Simpson had denounced the mob to, and rumors were spreading through the sports betting community that the mob had knuckled under to Nicole and OJ. That was intolerable, and it was necessary to make an example of somebody to restore a sense of discipline among those the mob dealt with. The mob would be satisfied, they said, if Nicole were murdered, and they encouraged Kardashian to arrange such a thing himself. In this way, the ill-fated Wasz plot to murder Nicole came into being in January, 1994. But, by the end Nicole was still alive, Wasz was in jail, and there was a trail of circumstantial evidence (and Wasz' own story) to implicate Kardashian, OJ and Barbieri in a plot to murder Nicole. (It is possible that this result -- Nicole not actually being murdered in January -- was just what the mob wanted. It left in its wake circumstances with which Simpson could be intimidated later, when the actual murder occurred, and be kept quiet about the mob's involvement.) At that point, the mob told Kardashian they would take matters into their own hands. (See, "Handing Off the Problem," on our site, http://www.wagnerandson.com.)
PLANNING: The mob has an influence with many people and businesses; one of these was the Mezzaluna restaurant in Brentwood, and one of the first acts in the mob's plan was to install their own man as co-manager of this tiny restaurant that barely had enough volume to warrant one full-time manager. As soon as he was in place, this man made contact with a mob affiliate, a woman named "Margot," who was well connected in the Brentwood social scene. She was known to be able to "arrange" solutions to difficult problems, particularly those that required extra-legal investigation or coercion. With her help, the new manager identified, then hired as a waiter, a local hanger-on and entrepreneur-wannabe who was a virtual (but not actual) orphan, Ron Goldman. Before the end of February, the mob sent their hit man, "Gus" out to L.A., and Margot took him on a tour and acquainted him with the circumstances that Nicole and OJ lived in. (See "Getting Serious")
In April, Gus came out to L.A., got himself an apartment, and set about to study the problem more closely. His earlier conclusion was confirmed: Nicole would be the easier target. O.J. was physically well protected, and so much on the move that it was hard to plan around him. Gus began to follow Nicole, and Margot developed sources of information on O.J. and Nicole. A friend of a friend of Nicole began to feed Margot with bits of gossip about Nicole; someone else who was habituated to the entertainment trade papers kept out an eye for any mention of O.J. A contact at Hertz was developed who knew when O.J. had events scheduled with them... It was all done very innocently, usually through third parties, with some pretext for the interest.
When Gus was not planning the crime, he engaged in training Margot's "associate," and amateur enforcer, "Steve." Steve was of good build, in his mid-twenties, and physically fit. But he was not in the same league with Gus, who had imposing upper body strength, cunning, and a cool, knowing approach to murder. Gus instructed Steve in the use of the knife.
It was quickly apparent to Gus that there were several ways to trick Nicole into exposing herself to attack. And then, Gus would do it with a knife, leaving a ghastly scene behind as an object lesson for those who had heard of Nicole's stubbornness, and might have a similar idea. Margot was amused. The harder part was in implicating O.J. Ideally, one would like something personal connected to O.J. to plant at the crime scene, and then would like to lure O.J. to see, immediately after the crime was done; while the smell of blood was still fresh in the air.
FRAMING SIMPSON: The attention to detail paid off. Margot learned that there was a location shoot for a movie production involving O.J. in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 3rd. She showed up on the set --ostensibly to hassle him to pay a disputed and small drug debt that Nicole had incurred -- but really to steal something personal that Gus could later leave at the crime scene. She stole the blue knit watch cap on his dressing room table. But, while she was there, an incredible coincidence unfolded: right there near the shooting was a cutlery shop, where the kind of knife that Gus had so often showed her could be bought. She taunted O.J. into buying such a knife, then got so close a look at it that she could go back to Gus, and describe it in sufficient detail that he could get two others like it to use in the crime. (One for himself, and one for Steve.) Having O.J. own the same kind of knife that would be used in the crime was a remarkable stroke of luck for Gus. While O.J. had been buying the knife, Margot looked around the dressing room; she found a pair of old worn gloves in the pocket of a jacket. She took those, too.
CATCHING NICOLE UNWARY: The critical part of the plan would involve the final encounter: Gus with Nicole. Gus was clear on what he needed: he needed a situation in which Nicole opened her front door after dark under circumstance where she thought she was sure she knew exactly who was on the other side of the door. It was very important to him that she be completely unwary until the moment he sprang. As long as those conditions were met, other details could be accommodated.
That requirement, though, implied another. There had to be a second victim: the person that Nicole thought was at her door. They rehearsed the scene in their minds: An expected visitor would come at night, the visitor would page her from the call box, Nicole would go to let him in. That person would wait at the gate for Nicole to admit him, and Steve would nail him from behind, as Gus had instructed. Nicole would proceed to the gate, utterly certain she knew who was there. Gus would grab her, drag her down the steps and kill her while Steve dispatched the visitor. Then they would plant O.J.'s stolen cap and gloves, arrange the scene for O.J.'s expected visit a few minutes later, and retire to their car. There they would call Margot on the cellular phone, to tell her the deed was done. Margot would call O.J. with some story that would lure him to the scene, and Gus would fly home that night. Nicole would be viciously murdered, and O.J. would be implicated. Margot loved it!
GETTING O.J. TO FRAME HIMSELF: The lure: Margot would probably have to do it herself. O.J. knew her, and she could probably trick him into taking her phone call, at least. Once talking to him, she would have to have a compelling story -- a really compelling story, considering the hostility and suspicion that O.J. had for her. The best lure was to tell O.J. the truth: That Nicole had been murdered by the mob, and O.J.'s own glove had been left on her body to incriminate him. If he hurried, he could get it away before the police found it. Of course, there was no mention of the other glove or the cap, left nearby, and no caution to avoid stepping in the abundant blood pools that had been deliberately left guarding both approaches to the glove. In order to retrieve the glove, Simpson could not help but step in Nicole's blood. Gus could arrange it so.
CREATING AN EXPECTATION OF MURDER: There was a friend of Nicole's that was a sometimes cocaine addict name Faye, rumored to have a disreputable past, and an exotic air. Margot took steps to get to know her better. Because of Margot's shadowy life, it was best to keep their relationship quiet; and Faye understood that. But, Margot was valuable to Faye; she could always score drugs for Faye, if Faye ran into trouble. Plus, Margot had the most awesome contacts, and knew the most amazing rumors about people in the Brentwood scene. Margot exploited this reputation, and began feeding Faye with rumors from "the most reliable possible sources" that OJ was so angry with Nicole that he was actually planning to kill Nicole. Without attributing a source, Faye breathlessly passed these rumors on to Nicole, her friends, and Nicole's sister, Denise. (Meanwhile, another of Denise's friends fed her the same anxieties from a different direction.) Nicole, herself, dismissed these tales as the paranoid rantings of a coke-dazed good friend, but sometimes tried to humor her out of friendship and affection for Faye.
The contact in Chicago did not give too promising an outlook for O.J.'s June schedule. In particular, from a report Margot received on the first of the month, it looked like the second week would be a washout. He'd be in Buffalo until Friday, June 10th, then go to Chicago on Monday, the 13th, and later in that week would be at a golf tournament in Atlanta. But then Margot heard from the friend of the friend of Nicole that O.J. would make a quick trip back to L.A. between Buffalo and Chicago: there was his daughter's dance recital late on Sunday afternoon. If he made that event, he'd probably either take a red-eye late Sunday night for Chicago, or go out early Monday morning. Bingo!
Margot put her plan to get Faye into Nicole's place on fast forward, and by June 3rd, Faye was sleeping at Nicole's condo. Things were in motion now: it had to be the weekend of June 12th/13th, and not too late, in case O.J. took the red-eye special. Margot would have preferred that it be done before 9:30 or 10:00, at the latest.
A MOLE: Faye was Margot's unwitting mole, living right there in Nicole's condo, and relating to events through a cocaine haze. (In the upside-down logic of mob operations, Faye was of enormous use in the plot to kill Nicole exactly because she was so protective of Nicole.) Now Margot could have a constant, accurate, and timely flow of information on Nicole's plans. And best of all, she could feed suggestions back up the pipeline through Faye, to influence Nicole. Faye had just enough awareness left to conceal from Nicole any definite relationship she had with Margot.
Faye took the spare keys to the condo, which she secretly delivered to Margot for "safe keeping," so that Simpson could not steal them to further his fiendish plot. The pieces were quickly falling into place. There would be a primary plan, along Gus's original lines. And then there would be two fall-back positions. If the primary plan failed early, they would drag Faye out, trump up some reason for her to visit Nicole, and have Faye be the person that Nicole expected at her gate. If that failed, they still had the keys, and would make a frontal assault on Nicole in her condo alone. The only slender possibility that it could still go wrong might be that Nicole could have a late evening visitor and not be alone. Gus said that little uncertainties like that are what gave the zest to what otherwise would be a boring chore. The possible presence of the Akita was another wild card that challenged Gus.
The back-up plans (use Faye as the goat, or storm the condo) would get the job done, but under circumstances that did not as safely insulate Margot through layers of intermediaries. If an investigation dragged on for days, eventually the police might find that the same name kept cropping up from different avenues: hers. The primary plan was much to be preferred.
From a contact in the Westside black-tie set, Margot learned that O.J. would be attending a benefit on Saturday night with his girlfriend, Paula. That could mean that O.J. would stay with her Saturday night, and led to the final decision of Sunday night for the crime. Margot indirectly facilitated and encouraged Barbieri to leave town on that Sunday morning so that Simpson would be alone that day.
THE MEZZALUNA: The Mezzaluna was an upscale restaurant that Nicole liked, where the manager was in on the plan. It was imperative that Nicole have dinner there after her daughter's dance recital. Margot called Faye, and fed the pipeline. In later chatter at the condo, Faye began talking about what a nice place the Mezzaluna was, and promising Sydney that if she did well at the recital her mother would take her for a very special dinner there afterward. Without realizing that the suggestion had come from Margot, Faye also wove into the dinner party image an ambiguity about whether O.J. would be invited. A week before the recital, dinner reservations were made at another place, but at the last minute -- the day before the recital -- plans were changed, and now there was a reservation at the Mezzaluna for a party of ten; another chair could be added for O.J. at the last minute if he were included.
GETTING FAYE OUT OF THE WAY: On Wednesday, June 8th, Margot met Faye for lunch while Nicole was at her son's graduation, and gave her some of the really, really, good stuff. Faye suffered a mild but frightening overdose that afternoon, and a convocation of Faye's friends was hurriedly arranged that night to persuade her thru "tough love" to check into a drug rehab facility. Faye did enter such a facility the next morning. Margot had greased the skids, and was sure that there was a phone where she could call Faye, and from which Faye could call Nicole. She had Faye stay in telephone contact with Nicole. Through Margot's artful manipulation, Faye never would understand that she was an accomplice in Margot's plan.
When Nicole left to go to Faye's intervention session, Gus and Steve were watching. They knew what the errand was, and how long she would be gone; it would be a perfect occasion to begin their preparations. Using the gate key that Faye had earlier provided to Margot, they opened Nicole's front gate and made some adjustments to the latch. It only took a few minutes, and when they were done the button on the intercom in Nicole's kitchen would no longer unlatch the gate. This would provide two week days and two week-end days before the murder for Nicole to become accustomed to accommodating to the latch failure, but probably not enough time to get it fixed. (With the unlatcher broken, Nicole would now have to come out to the gate, herself, to admit a visitor.)
It was now all over but the doing. But Margot couldn't leave it alone. She watched the late news Saturday night, and did see a film clip of O.J. at the benefit with his girl friend, Paula. The next day she casually cruised by O.J.'s estate on Rockingham. His car was gone, and it was back again, and gone again. He would be at the recital. Would Nicole relent and let O.J. come to dinner? There was really no contingency plan if O.J. visited with Nicole after dinner. After the recital was over, Margot made another trip; O.J.'s car was back! She called Gus with the good news from her cellular phone: O.J. would not be part of the dinner party.
THE PIECES FALL INTO PLACE: Events proceeded as planned. Margot drove to the Mezzaluna and parked at a location from which she could see the front curb. At about 8:30, she saw Nicole's family get into a car and drive away; Nicole escorted her children to a nearby ice cream parlor. The Mezzaluna manager called Margot on her cell phone and advised that he had been able to purloin the mother's glasses. (See "The Host.") The primary plan was still on track. Margot informed Gus by cellular phone, then drove to the parking lot of the rehab clinic where Faye was staying, to be on hand in case something fell apart at the last minute and the backup plan had to be implemented.
A little after 9:00 Margot called Faye inside the Exodus drug rehab house. Faye had talked to Nicole a few minutes earlier: Nicole was home, she and the kids were alone, she wasn't expecting any visitors. Good. Margot called Gus. Everything at the condo would be quiet. A young man would probably deliver the object -- a pair of eyeglasses.
Gus and Steve drove to Nicole's neighborhood and found a parking place on Bundy. It was a quiet night, and as they walked to the condo there was no one else on the street; few cars passed. They used the key they had got from Faye to enter the gate and made their final preparations: a piece of sticky paper over the gate latch to keep it from engaging in the strike, then they took their places, Gus inside the yard, and Steve outside the gate, in the deep shadows near the intercom. It was 9:30, and time to wait some more.
At the Mezzaluna, time passed; it was getting late. Goldman got off work at 9:30, and the managers invited him to sit and chat with them while they had dinner; it couldn't hurt an ambitious kid to hear what sager heads had to say about the business. At 9:37, Nicole's mother called about the glasses. At that hour, the restaurant was empty enough that there were as many employees getting ready to leave work as there were patrons, and the distinction blurred. All who were present were part of the whole, and the restaurant side of telephone inquiry was in the air for anyone -- worker or patron -- to hear, if they were interested in such trivia. At the end of the conversation, though, it did not seem that there was a specific arrangement for delivery of the glasses. The issue still hung, unresolved. Five minutes later there was another call: from Nicole to the young waiter, Ron Goldman. (See "Critical Phase.") The conversation was a little strange to him; it seemed that Nicole was frightened, and there was a tremble in her voice, but when he told the managers, they said she was not frightened, she was excited. Whatever.
The upshot of that conversation was that Goldman took the glasses and headed home to change his clothes before an impromptu meeting to deliver the glasses to Nicole -- a special favor for a well-connected older woman. As soon as Goldman left, the Mezzaluna manager called Margot; the backup plan wouldn't be needed after all. Margot drove quickly away from the Exodus House parking lot, and headed for a spot on Rockingham with a view of Simpson's Ashford driveway. Along the way, she called Gus, to notify him that the final piece of planning had fallen into place.
THE TRAP IS SPRUNG: At 10:09, Ron Goldman sprung the trap by paging Nicole from the call box by the gate. The moment the conversation was over, Steve leapt out, threatened him with a knife to his throat and kept him pacified until Gus had snared Nicole hurrying on her way to meet Ron at the gate. Gus and Steve proceeded to play the roles they had so often rehearsed (see "It Ain't the Astrodome.) In only a minute, Ron Goldman's body lay on the walk, and Nicole's lay at the foot of her porch. It had not gone well for Steve: he had tried to slit Goldman's throat, as Gus had taught him, but the waiter fought so hard, he almost escaped Steve's grasp. In the end, Gus had to finish him off with deep stab wounds to the body. Gus, on the other hand, had been in complete control of Nicole, and killed her exactly as he had planned.
Gus had not made much of an issue of it during the planning of the crime, but now, composing the scene was paramount. He picked up Goldman's body from the walk, and heaved him out of sight; he jammed Nicole's legs tightly under the little fence beside the walk to keep death spasms from altering the position he wanted her in. He pulled off the left hand glove and tossed it and the knit cap under a shrub. Then he pulled off the right glove and turned to drop it on Nicole's shoulder. Steve did not understand why it was important to do these things, but Gus was the professional, and he knew. (Gus wanted the left glove and the cap discarded in a place where O.J. would not see them, and the right glove to be in a place where he would see it. Gus knew the classical reactions to absolute horror -- so seldom seen by most -- and figured it would work in this case.) As they left, Gus opened the gate and pulled the sticker from the gate latch, then made a quick survey of the gruesome scene with his pen light to see if there were any tell-tale foot prints he should smudge into unrecognizability.
FRYING OJ'S BRAIN: They proceeded to their car; as Steve drove, Gus called Margot on the cellular phone. Margot was at that time in O.J.'s neighborhood, and had seen bags piled on the front porch: he hadn't left yet, but would soon. At 10:14 Margot dialed Simpson's number and got lucky; he answered directly. She told the story about their having killed Nicole, and framing him with his glove (see "The Luring Phone Call.) She watched then from a distance until she saw O.J. hurry to the Bronco holding something (a gun) in one hand, and drive off. She couldn't believe that after all of the uncertainty, the basic plan was really going to work. Every bit of it! She was ecstatic. The fact that the mutilated corpses of two people, one of them an utter innocent bystander, lay in a front yard on Bundy, had no significance for her. The plan was everything.
Gus had expected that O.J. would enter the yard from the sidewalk; he had left the gate open to make it easy to do. But as he drove frantically to Nicole's, O.J. worried about what he was walking into. Margot was so tricky... He reached up and took out the bulb from the dome light, so he could open the door to the Bronco when he got there without being seen. Then, he parked in the alley in back, both in the interest of speed, and to allow an unexpected direction of approach. He reconnoitered for a minute; everything was still. He listed for approaching sirens; nothing. He scaled Nicole's back gate, cutting his left hand and bruising his right leg in the process. Holding the gun in his right hand, and holding his bleeding left hand to his mouth, he hurried down the path, hesitated at the end, then turned and saw.
There in the dim light, he saw first that the condo door was halfway open. They had the keys! And then the smell of blood -- like a slaughterhouse or the back room of a butcher shop -- and the wailing of the dog out on the street, and a little mist in the air... He went the few yards more and then looked down, and saw... Nicole's body in a hideous pool of blood. He staggered forward in disbelief. His mind went blank; for a moment he was paralyzed. And then the absolute horror hit him, as Gus had known it would. He saw the glove -- his glove -- now horrifyingly covered with blood. And, in a surreal touch, the upturned glove held something shiny and unexpected -- keys on a Smokey the Bear key ring. He didn't understand that, but the offering glove seemed to say, "take it," so he put the key ring in his pocket, then snatched up the glove and staggered away.
Why did he this, why didn't he that? In such a state of mind, no reasonable reactions should be expected. Just an instinctive plunge into darkness, actions from reflex alone. No thought, no reason, no mind; all had fled. Gus had hoped it would work that way, that's why he had opened the front gate and removed the extraneous body, to maximize the psychic shock. The cut on O.J.'s hand and the trail of blood drops: that was an unexpected piece of good luck. The discarded right glove at Rockingham that matched the one at Bundy: that was not good luck, that was Gus' skill in knowing how O.J. would react, and making the right glove obvious to him. Horrified, O.J. picked it up and took it home; unthinkingly, he dropped it behind his garage. Actually, O.J. handled the situation rather well, taking measures to make his finger stop bleeding, getting washed the outfit he had worn to the scene, and disposing of the shoes. Cutting his hand in the Chicago hotel room was a game try at explaining the wound he suffered Sunday night, but ineffectual in the end.
KEEPING EVERYBODY QUIET (EXCEPT THE ATTORNEYS): The calculus at the trial was that O.J. should keep quiet about his fling with the mob and stonewall his innocent visit to the crime scene, but take his chances with his star-studded cast of attorneys. If Simpson told everything he knew, Kardashian and Barbieri could needlessly go down with him, and none of the three had had any part in the crimes. (See "Checkmate.") One or the other of those two was close to Simpson throughout the trial to remind him of that plan. All of Nicole's old friends turned on Simpson by the end -- except for Cora, because she had heard from Nicole's own lips about the mob involvement and the threats on her life. She could not explain the abundant evidence against O.J., but knew it was the mob, and not him, who had done the deed. She was, of course, afraid to talk herself, as Nicole had been, so confined herself to vague expressions of support for O.J.
It all worked out perfectly for the mob, even a zealous cop who spotted a jot of blood on the Bronco door handle a couple of hours later, leading to a very premature conclusion to any serious investigation. Margot and Gus and Steve are shielded now by the passage of time and the erosion of evidence and memory that might lead to them. The Mezzaluna is long ago closed, the people scattered, and the place is now on its second occupancy since. The D.A. was delighted to have a high-profile defendant to prosecute. The prosecution team was thrilled to be the darlings of the season's cause -- spousal abuse. The defense attorneys made their reputation -- for better or for worse. And, the media was selling soap. All were happy.
Even poor old O.J. -- so anguished at the start -- by the end seemed resigned. Perhaps he thought he really did do it, and had to count on his Dream Team of attorneys to help him beat the rap.
If you can arrange things so everybody is afraid to talk, you can get away with murder.
The foregoing is an unusual explanation of the crime, but I believe it is closer to the truth than the common explanations (e.g., Simpson killed the victims, or he was framed by members of the LAPD). I do not come to this conclusion arbitrarily but after careful study, as is document on our site, http://www.wagnerandson.com.
Dick Wagner Van Nuys, CA (4/25/00) SCENARO2.TXT
SENARO2.DOC 7 04/27/00