River Of Blood
PREVIOUSLY: In a previous article ("Blood on Goldman's Clothes") I analyzed the distribution of blood stains on Goldman's clothing and was led to the conclusion (among others) that he was attacked and killed somewhere on the front walk, and that his body must have been heaved into the alcove where it was found. That analysis also led to the understanding that Goldman's murder consisted of two phases: in Phase 1 [K2&R_3.JPG] Goldman was seated, straight-legged, on the walk with the assailant squatting above and behind him. The assailant had his left hand over Goldman's mouth, and with his knife in his right hand butchered Goldman's left neck and head. During that activity, Goldman's awkward posture put his bleeding neck over his knee. In Phase 2 [RONKILLD.JPG], Goldman was "opened up" to lay flat on the walk. The original assailant continued to restrain him while another (Nicole's killer) finally killed Goldman with four deep stab wounds that caused mortal internal bleeding.
If the foregoing is true, then one might expect some indication of the fact in that confusing mess of blood stains on the front walk. Problem is... At the point in the process where the crime was done and the killers left the scene, there may have been some indication, but the scene changed from that point later. In particular, the slowly spreading blood pool from Nicole's throat wound began to run down the walk and obliterated some indications. Then, the Akita pranced around in the scene leaving a large number of paw prints. Finally, there is a persuasive indication (see article, "The Smear") that the killers wiped some blood stains into an unrecognizable "haze" before they departed. So, a superficial glance at the blood stains on the front walk does not give a clear picture of what was there before the obscuring events took place.
BASIC IMAGE: To deal with this, I have undertaken to identify the part of the front walk stains that flowed from Nicole's blood pool, and the parts that did not. Although I have consulted every picture of the scene that I could find, my basic point of reference was the famous "Fuhrman Points to Glove" photo which I show here as Figure 1 [CRIMESCR.JPG]. In the foreground almost the entire width (4-1/2 tiles) of the walk is seen, and it extends toward the sidewalk as far as 8 tiles; the blood stains on the walk show up quite clearly in this picture.
Two points attracted my interest immediately. First, there is a large blood spot in the middle of the third tile ahead of Nicole's head (at "A"). This does not touch a grout line in which blood generally flowed down to the sidewalk, and it is not connected to any other bloodstain. From these facts, it apparently was shed in some other way than the familiar prosecution scenario. Since it's not contiguous with the grout lines, it's not from Nicole's blood pool, and since it occurs about a foot outside the front gate it is not in an area where Goldman was believed to have been attacked.
Secondly, as we shall shortly see, there are numerous dog paw prints in the eastern end of the walk, but Figure 1 shows the western end, and there is no obvious tracking up of the scene by the dog there. Presuming that the dog came to the scene from the condo, he would probably have passed through the space between Nicole's head and the edge of the alcove -- he would have to step on Nicole's body, otherwise. Apparently, the spreading blood pool had not crossed that area by then, and the dog's paws were not stained. When he got farther down the walk, though, his paws did get stained, and we see his paw prints from that point later. What was this source of blood that the dog picked up in the middle of the walk, before Nicole's blood pool had spread that far?
OTHER IMAGES: Figure 2 [NICOLE4R.JPG] is the often seen view from the top of the front steps, looking toward the street after the coroner had removed the bodies; a bloody sheet left behind is in the middle foreground. Of course, the detail has been badly trampled up in the areas where there was still wet blood (as under Nicole's corpse) by the investigator's activities. But, later footsteps do not remove dried stains, and so when we see in this picture that there are no paw prints in the near foreground, we can fairly infer that none were laid down the night before. (Beyond about the middle of the gate, this image becomes too indistinct to say with any certainty whether there are paw prints or not.) Also, this image is useful because it will serve as the perspective template for later work.
Figure 3 [WALK_END.JPG] is from Darden's book, p. 280+12, and shows the street end of the front walk from the parkway. A streak of blood that overflowed the walk and went onto the sidewalk is obvious, though it is broken, apparently after it was dry, by someone passing on the sidewalk. The many dog paw prints on the sidewalk and Nicole's front walk are conspicuous, and there appear to be a couple of smears on both surfaces, though the cause is uncertain. (Boztepe and his wife went a little way up the walk when they discovered the body, and they may have stepped in, and smeared, wet blood.)
Figure 4 [BROWNR.JPG] is from Fuhrman's book, shows the scene also from the street end, and while Nicole's body was present. Some of the features of the previous figure are here seen a little clearer because of more advantageous perspective. However, the picture is not as crisp, and some of the objects that show here only as blurs show in Figure 3 as being clearly paw prints. (An original b/w scan of this picture was also consulted, and is a little crisper.)
Figures 5 and 6 are representative of a series of images that I captured from a videotape that panned along the front walk. Figure 5 shows the walk east of the coroner's sheet, and the large blood figure that I have called the "eastern large pattern" is clearly seen, and in considerable detail. Although this picture was taken after the coroner had trampled through, the eastern pattern, but not all of its detail, is also seen in the Fuhrman picture. This illustration also shows some examples of the many paw prints (at "a") and places (at "b") where leaves of the bordering agapanthus plants were broken and/or crushed.
Insofar as the coroner was at the scene about 12 hours after the blood was shed, all but the deepest puddles were probably dry and not susceptible to being marked up by those late-coming workers. Also, the coroner is noted for being fastidious, and packaging corpses in such a way that they will not leak around the neighborhood or in the corner's van, so it is unlikely that they added new stains by their work. In areas east of the front gate, I consider that the images seen after the coroner left are nearly the same as those when the blood stopped flowing the night before.
Figure 6 is similarly a picture after the coroner, but farther up the walk, where the sheet was placed. A paw print at the extreme right edge of the eighth row of tiles (two up from the near end of the sheet) is the paw print closest to the condo that I have been able to identify on the north side of the walk; from a blowup of Figure 4 I have been able to identify a paw print on the south side as close to the steps as row six. A number of broken agapanthus leaves on the 8th, 9th, and 10th rows are clearly visible on the right side of Figure 6.
(Other photographs not shown here were also consulted, notably NIC-FEET.JPG, from the article on this site, "Nicole's Feet," and the close-up of Nicole's back in Lange & Vannatter, p. 178+2 <top> ).
METHOD: I began by creating a template on which to indicate the stains. I took a copy of Figure 1, rotated and distorted it to produce Figure 7 with the same perspective as Figure 2. I extended the blank area to reach to the sidewalk, and added grout lines in yellow; edges of the walk are shown in orange. I arbitrarily numbered the rows and columns of the tiles to make it easier to reference details of the photographs, and I sketched in the outline of the coroner's sheet for the same reason. My plan was to leave the flow from Nicole's throat wound black, color places that were obviously not from this source as red, and color areas that were not clearly of one kind or the other as pink. The area behind Nicole, due to overflow from blood on the first step, was colored purple, and the area of the blood haze (identified in "The Smear") was shown in a rust color.
In identifying blood stains caused by the flow from Nicole's blood pool, I was guided by a few principles...
1. Isolated drops that do not touch a grout line are not overflow from the blood pool. In order to be caused by the blood pool, a bit of blood has to be contiguous with that flow. For example, the large spot on the third tile in front of Nicole's head of Figure 1 ("A") is known for this reason not to be from the blood pool.
2. Blood flows downhill, not uphill. The front walk slopes down toward the street and away from Nicole's body. Blood will flow in that direction, not in the opposite direction. Look again at the tile mentioned in the previous paragraph, and go one tile to the right. There is a thumb-shaped blob of blood on the uphill side of a grout line ("B"). This can not be due to flow out of the grout, because that flow would have been uphill.
3. It is recognized that surface irregularities in a tile may allow a small local flow to escape the grout and go onto the tile itself. But, where a pattern is seen which is continuous across several adjacent tiles, this can not be due to surface irregularities in the tiles, since adjacent tiles would have unrelated irregularities. Such a situation can be seen by returning to the tile mentioned in paragraph 1 here, and noticing that there is a long, slightly irregular, streak beginning in the upper right corner of that tile, reaching across the tile above it, and all the way across the tile above that ("C" in Figure 1). Such a coherent pattern must be due to something other than grout overflow alone, though later overflow could augment some of it.
LOOKING DOWN FROM ABOVE: After I had identified the source of blood stains, the colored pattern of Figure 7 resulted. Although this is revealing of the situation near the steps, beyond the gate the perspective causes the patterns to be so small and distorted as to not be useful. Also, in this perspective view it is hard to visualize the space occupied by any bodies, killers or victim, that might have been there. To remedy these problems, I created an orthographic projection, which is the same scene as seen from (theoretically) infinitely far away and directly above.
A blank area 4-1/2 tiles wide and 19-1/2 tiles long was created to match Nicole's front walk, fences and gate were sketched in, and a scaled female mannequin representing Nicole's body was placed at the bottom of the steps with her feet/legs projecting under the fence, as hers were. Areas of blood haze and overflow from the first step were colored in. Then the blood patterns in Figure 7 were digitally copied into this picture, skewing them to remove perspective, and scaling them, row by row. Beyond about row 10 the detail of Figure 7 was too poor, and so patterns from there to the sidewalk were sketched in freehand, referring to the photographs mentioned earlier to define the shape and location of blood stains. The result is the "straight down" view of Figure 8. Stains recognized as dog paw prints were omitted.
FEATURES: To facilitate discussion, the previous illustration is annotated as Figure 9, where several features of interest are identified with (light green) letters, and named in a key on the left. This figure also shows the area on the middle left of the walk in which there were broken/crushed border leaves, and it shows, with notes on the right, the relative distribution of the dog's paw prints. All of these factors can be deduced by careful inspection of the several photographs documenting the scene.
Some features are unremarkable, like the flow onto the public sidewalk at "a," and the many examples of grout line overflow onto the margins of the tiles, samples of which are identified at "b." But others are surprising for their size and location -- though not necessarily suspicious -- such as the voluminous flow at "c," that erupts so far down the walk, and the isolated large puddle at "d," similarly a long way from the presumed source of the blood The feature at "f" is a long straight line, a mystery for now, is identified later, below.
But, if the conclusions of "Blood on Goldman's Clothes" are true, then Goldman was bleeding on the walk, from his neck wounds particularly, and he was likely thrashing around somewhat at the time. What patterns are a residue of that? Well, the patterns at "e" ("eastern large pattern") and "h" ("western large pattern") show a fine structure (straight lines and globs associated with a central mass) which is consistent with a bloody victim's thrashing. On the assumption that Goldman was PRETTY MUCH in the same location during the butchering phase and the killing phase, and that his feet were closest to the street, we can distinguish between "e" and "h." Since his head was over his knee in the first phase, but he was stretched out on his back during the second phase, the location of his neck when he was killed should be the western stain, in the simplest scenario. The distance from Goldman's knee to his ear was about 39 inches, but the "e" and "h" stains are about 22 inches apart. Therefore, during the struggle to orient Goldman to the attitude in which he was killed, he appears to have been able to move himself (or was moved) about 17" inches farther toward the street. Interestingly, there are some long thin lines ( in "g") between these two stains that could be an indication of such movement.
There is a smaller pattern of blood and straight lines at "i." If Goldman's neck was at the middle of "h," his legs toward the street, and his arms above his head, then "i" is about where his hands would be. By flailing his hands in an attempt to fight back, Goldman would have left these marks. The isolated spot at "j" is the one previously described in Figure 1 as "A."
In contrast to the long thin lines seen in features "e" through "i," the feature at "k" is long, broad, and irregular. It is only identifiable because of its coherence, spanning at least three, and as many as seven, tiles in one extensive correlated pattern, most of it continuous. This is of the shape, and is in the location, that would be expected for the blood falling from Goldman's freshly murdered body as it was carried from "h," where he was murdered, to the edge of the alcove, where he was heaved into his final position. Feature "l" is a pattern of dribble -- on top of the bloody haze -- and is the last position in which the killer would have held Goldman's still dripping body off the ground before heaving it into the alcove.
ACTION: Animated figures, scaled to the dimension of the front walk, have been created and superposed on the blood stains. It was of interest to see if Goldman's conspicuously bleeding neck were put over the large suspiciously shaped patterns at "e" and "h," where wold the other parts of his body fall, and how would the killers fit into the space? (The human figures are shown at 50% transparency so that the fit with the underlying blood stains can be seen.)
Figure 10 shows the butchery phase, with Goldman folded double, his left neck over his left knee and both of those at "e." Notice that with Goldman in this position, his left hand reaches to "f," and if that hand were bleeding (defensive wounds) then he would leave the mark of "f" on the walk as he tried to reach behind himself to assault his attacker. Also, lines in tile C14 are at the location of Goldman's left shoe and parallel to it, they appear to be stains from the edges of his shoe of blood that has run down his leg. Furthermore, we see that there is room for both Goldman and his assailant in this posture without overrunning the bounds of the walk.
Figure 11 is similar, and shows Goldman in the killing phase lying on his back with his neck over feature "h." One of the killers is restraining him and the other is stabbing him with a knife. Notice that the end of Goldman's foot now coincides with the top of the mysterious puddle at "d," and it is reasonable to believe that the source of that puddle was blood that had run off Goldman's cuff and boot while he was in this position. Notice also that the maximum reach of Goldman's then-bloody hands is to feature "i," which can be understood to be marks that he left while he was in this position and trying to flail and defend himself with the last of his life. There is just barely width enough in the walk to accommodate all three of these men, and the stabbing killer's butt projects a few inches into the south agapanthus border. But, these are flexible plants, and if they are not crushed or broken they will spring back after the action passes. Also, other poses for the killers than the one hypothesized here are possible.
RESULTS: The bloodstains on the front walk fit quite well with the concept that Goldman was murdered there in a two phase action and his body carried to the threshold of the alcove and heaved in; many of the stains can not be reasonably explained in any other way. Figure 12 has been constructed to illustrate the situation when the fatal stab wound was delivered; now the action figures are shown as opaque. Also shown in that figure is the lookout on the sidewalk, who may have had a vicious dog on a long leash, who kept potential passersby from the scene for the two minutes that the operation required. There was also a getaway van parked on the street at the foot of the walk to prevent a view of the proceedings from the street or beyond. (See article, "Nobody Saw.")
At the end, the large overflow pattern at "c" continues to surprise me, but I can't find any obvious explanation of it in any scenario.
PAW PRINTS: There is also something to be learned in the distribution of the dog's bloody paw prints. As mentioned earlier, these are abundant at the sidewalk end, and are progressively more scarce as one approaches Nicole's body at the foot of the steps. This is the opposite of what would be expected, since the dog passed through the area at, or very shortly after, Nicole's blood pool started to spread. If there was any blood for the dog to step in under the conventional scenario, his prints would be most abundant near Nicole; but the opposite is the case. (I have previously estimated that it took a minute for the blood pool to spread a distance of a foot beyond Nicole's throat, and at least 20 minutes to spread halfway down the walk.)
However, the distribution of the paw prints is consistent with a scenario in which the dog passed Nicole's head before her blood stained the walk there, then continued down the walk and encountered Goldman's blood at features "k" through "d," which were bloody artifacts of where Goldman had just been killed.
CRUSHED LEAVES: The photographs show that a significant number of agapanthus leaves were crushed and broken from the north border just beyond (toward the street) the open gate. These are partly documented in dark green on the left side of Figure 9. With the postulated postures of the figures in Figures 10 and 11 there is no obvious reason why this happened. (Such a region of broken border leaves was not found on other parts of the walk.) One possible explanation is that the killer's helper switched from squatting to kneeling in the killing phase; then his toes would project into the agapanthus bed, and his careless movement could damage some of those plants, exactly in that location. Admittedly, that is just a guess.
CONCLUSION: This analysis of the pattern of blood stains on the front walk shows that some bloody vigorous activity occurred there -- some of it within six or seven feet of the public sidewalk. The results of this analysis are consistent with the previous conclusions of the distribution of blood on Goldman's clothes. That led to the idea that Goldman was first attacked while he was folded nearly double, then later laid flat in which posture his was stabbed to death; finally, his body was carried to the threshold of the alcove and heaved in. That scenario fits the blood patterns on the front walk, conventional scenarios do not.
Dick Wagner Van Nuys, CA (1/11/02) NG_738