Four Wisps of Blood

A "DOOR SILL": One of the most annoying of the defense arguments for me is the discussion of the "four wisps of blood," because I consider it was a case in which Cochran knowingly and deliberately threw dust in our eyes. Fuhrman said something like, "I saw four wisps of blood on the Bronco door sill." Cochran said something like, "Aha! One can not see the sill with the door closed. You must have opened the car." (Fung also saw these wisps of blood, but they were never later seen after the car was moved to the police impound.)

    The problem arises from the meaning of the word "sill" which is different to these two men. The most common understanding is the one Cochran is referring to, and is familiar in an expression such as "Mama put the pie on the window sill to cool." We visualize that there is a horizontal surface on the bottom of the window opening, and that is where Mama put the pie. And that is correct. Extending that to a "door sill" we see that when the car door is closed, that kind of a sill will be concealed. So far, so good. But, if we go to the window and examine it thoughtfully we will see that the opening is bounded on the bottom by a strip of wood. It is on the top surface of the strip of wood where Mama put the pie. In fact, it is the strip of wood, not only its top surface, that is the "window sill." The sill has a vertical surface, as well as the more commonly mentioned horizontal surface. It is the same with the Bronco door sill. It is really a piece of steel beneath the door that has both a horizontal and vertical surface. Although the horizontal surface is concealed when the door is closed, the vertical surface is not.

    You can verify this for yourself. As you drive around town look for an old Bronco, and glance at its driver's door. You will see that below the (closed) door there is a strip of painted steel about an inch high above the bottom of the car. This one inch high steel strip below the door is the "door sill," and you can clearly see it on a Bronco with the door closed as you drive by. It was on this one inch high vertical surface that Fuhrman saw the "four wisps of blood." It is furthermore significant that he saw the wisps only on the sill, and not on the bottom of the door itself. It indicates that the wisps were transferred there while the door was open. (There is, of course, also a horizontal surface to the Bronco sill which is only accessible when the door is open, but this is not where Fuhrman saw the wisps. Sometimes the horizontal surface of a car's door sill is called the "rocker panel." At least that is what Popeye Doyle called it in "The French Connection.")

    FOUR WISPS OF BLOOD: Now, let me explain what the wisps were. On the bedroom sock there was, of course, the famous "glob of blood." Much less discussed was the fact that on these socks, between the position of the shoe top and the pants hem, there was a pattern of fine droplets of blood. According to my understanding of the crime, Simpson stepped into the blood pool when it was both extensive and deep. As a result, his footfall caused a splash of blood, and it was some of these droplets that landed on the sock. There is no reason to believe that the spray was thrown up only to the sock and no higher, and any droplets that did rise above this level would have landed on the bottom of the pants Simpson wore.

    When Simpson got to the Bronco behind the condo, fine droplets of blood on the bottom of his pants leg were still wet. At that time, he dragged the inside of his left leg against the vertical surface of the sill, and four of those droplets transferred to the sill, leaving "wisps." That is what Fuhrman and Fung saw, and it would have been visible to them whether the door was open or closed. It is an indication both of the fact that the person who drove the Bronco had just stepped in blood, and that the blood he stepped in was deep.

    Now, those wisps that Fuhrman and Fung saw disappeared after the car was removed by the police from Rockingham. And, we should not be surprised at the fact. When the tow truck driver got into the Bronco to set the controls, he also dragged the inside of his left pants leg in the place where the four wisps were, and thereby smudged them off onto his own clothing.

    (Incidentally, a related topic is the cause of the "glob of blood" on the bedroom sock. This is a little long to explain, and it is not strictly on the topic of the "four wisps", so I will not go into it here. I will say, however, it is not a stray piece of blood that Simpson picked up while near the bodies at Bundy. We can see this, since it was on a part of the sock that was probably covered by the shoe. The glob came into the place it was later seen because of a very specific -- and very natural -- act that Simpson did at Rockingham.)

    TESTIMONY: On July 5, 1994, LAPD Detective Mark Fuhrman testified in the preliminary hearing concerning these marks...
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A AT THAT TIME THERE WAS -- I INSPECTED THE DOOR MORE CLOSELY. I GOT DOWN ON THE GROUND AND LOOKED AT THE DOORJAMB AREA, WHICH WOULD BE IN PHOTO A. THIS AREA [Indicates], THE SEAM OF THE LOWER DOOR WHERE IT OPENS.

Q WHERE THE DOOR MEETS THE FLOOR OF THE DRIVER'S SIDE OF THE CAR?

A YES.

Q WHAT DID YOU SEE THERE?

A I SAW FOUR -- THREE OR FOUR LITTLE LINES, RED-STAINED LINES, THAT LOOKED LIKE A BRUSH MARK WHICH ALSO LOOKED LIKE BLOOD. THEY WERE VERY SMALL, ABOUT A QUARTER OF AN INCH LONG.

Q WAS THE CAR MUDDIED AND DIRTY?

A NO, NOT AT ALL. VERY CLEAR.

Q WAS IT AS YOU SEE IT IN PHOTOGRAPH A?

A YES
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    During the time that he described the location of these blood stains the courtroom camera showed Exhibit 8A, and the pointer (presumably in Fuhrman's hand) moving over it to come to rest on the bottom of the door as shown in the illustration, herein [4WISPS.JPG].4wisps.jpg (39112 bytes) Interestingly, Fuhrman did not originally describe this as the "door sill," but as the "doorjamb area." Also, he was able to point out the place where he saw the stain, even though it was on a picture of the Bronco with the door closed. Furthermore, he says that he saw this as is depicted in photograph A (of exhibit 8), with the door closed.

    There is no doubt that the issue of "blood on the door sill" was a manufactured question; even the language of "door sill" was manufactured.

    (How they got there, why not later seen.)

Dick Wagner • Van Nuys, CA (11/13/98) NG 470a rev 3/15/03

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