VIEW FROM THE ROCKINGHAM GATE
On Simpson's frantic return from Bundy, he shed blood drops in his driveway near the Rockingham gate. In the usual pedestrian (manual) mode for the Rockingham gate, a person would simply push the gate open from its left edge, slip through an opening a couple of feet wide, and let the gate close behind him, as Simpson's interview video tape illustrates. But these blood drops, one on the outside and two on the inside of the gate, are more near the center of the driveway than on the left hand side, and this has caused the dramatic suspicion by Bob August that Simpson did not go through the gate by way of the manual mode of operation, but must have got into his own yard by going through the Salingers' yard.
I have replied that one can not know that these drops were necessarily shed as Simpson WENT THROUGH the gate, but only knows that they were shed WHILE HE WAS IN THE VICINITY of the gate. It then remains to propose a good reason why he should have loitered in the vicinity of the Rockingham gate long enough to shed three drops of blood -- and particularly to loiter toward the middle of the driveway rather than over on the less visible left side.
AND, LOITER HE DID: Figure 1 [RG_PLOT.JPG] is a map of the area. The blood drops identified by the police are shown there as red diamonds; we have located them on the map by videocaptures which show the evidence markers. For some of these (4, 5, 6, 7, and 8) we were able to identify the LAPD evidence number and show that on the map. For the others we have exploited unused (in our reckoning) numbers, and show those in parentheses. By connecting the dots, we show Simpson's presumed path from the Bronco to his front door as a blue line. In particular, the part of the path from item #7 to item # (10) coincides with the path of the shadowy figure (presumably Simpson) that Park saw, and so we are confident that the drops in that portion were serially shed and do constitute a "trail." Similarly, the drops of (2) through 5 are close together and were also probably serially shed.
However, we show this path with a broken line between #5 and #7, and believe that Simpson did not go directly from the Bronco to his front door but detoured 1) to go down to Kato's wall and pound on it (in order to eventually create a distraction for the limo driver when Kato came to investigate), then 2) to work in the shadows by the Bentley to remove the bloody shoes and put them into the book bag, which was adventitiously left over from his earlier recreation of "chipping golf balls" (described in the Simpson interview video). So, this portion of the trail between #5 and #7 is interrupted, we believe.
We see that in the portion of the trail in which we are most confident, #7 through #(10), the drops are about 30 feet apart. In the preliminary hearing on July 3, 1994, Allan Park said of the speed of the person he saw walking there, "Walking pretty fast." In the civil trial (November 20, 1996) he said, "He was moving quickly; he wasn't -- it wasn't a run; it wasn't a walk. It was a quick-motion walk... heading this way, ... cutting the corner into the house." A "brisk walk" is about 3 miles per hour (250 feet per minute), and this seems a little faster -- perhaps 300 feet per minute. Accordingly, the time that Park had a clear view of the figure was about 2/10 of minute, or 12 seconds, and in that time the figure shed two drops (#8 and #10). [To go 30 feet at 300 feet per minute requires 1/10 minute, or 6 seconds.]
But, in the vicinity of the gate, the figure shed drops #4, #6, and #5 in a similar period while going only 18 feet. Since this person was capable of going 62 feet in that time, as seen by the path that ends at the porch, he spent [(62 - 18) / 62] * 12 seconds doing something other than walking -- he was apparently loitering. That is, of the 12 seconds in the vicinity of the gate, the figure spent 3.5 seconds moving, and 8.5 seconds just waiting.
WHY WAIT, WHEN YOU HAVE A PLANE TO CATCH? I have proposed that when Simpson got back to Rockingham he knew the time was late and expected that the limo would already have come. Because of Simpson's direction of approach (up Rockingham, not across Ashford) he did not know for sure the situation with the limo. If it was his familiar driver (the "tall guy" he mentions in his deposition, and whom I have heard was Rocky Bateman with whom Simpson had some rapport) Simpson might be able to sweet talk the guy into dummying up about Simpson's late hour return. But, if it was a stranger (as Park actually was) then Simpson would have a problem getting into the house unseen (and unreported).
As Simpson testified in his deposition, Rocky knew how to let himself in the Ashford gate, so if he was driving, the limo would already be at Simpson's front porch, or -- if Rocky had arrived just before Simpson got home -- the limo would pull up to the porch in a few seconds. So, immediately as Simpson got home, his first priority was to look to the porch to see if the limo was already there (in which case he could proceed directly into the house after making up some story to tell Rocky about why he should say he had not seen Simpson come in) or watch the porch for a minute if the limo were not already there. Such actions by Simpson would be reasonable under the circumstances, and would account for his loitering near the Rockingham gate long enough to shed three drops of blood.
VIDEOTAPE IMAGES: As we have been going through videotapes of the criminal trial, we stumbled onto one that gives some indication of the visibility toward the porch from the Rockingham gate. Generally, as one looks straight down the Rockingham driveway one's view is unobstructed toward the garage to the east, but as one looks progressively more to the north (the left), intervening objects increasingly obstruct the view. First the Bentley automobile, then one gets a narrow good view of the kitchen doors just north of the car, but beyond that the bottom of the view -- below about a man's waist -- is obstructed by foreground shrubs. Finally, at about the line along which one looks to the front porch, there is the trunk of a coral tree and more shrubs that completely block the view farther north (toward the Ashford gate).
To illustrate the fact, we have captured [at 5:30 on our tape #37] some stills from defense exhibit #1102 which was played in court at 9:36 am on April 13, 1995 (search on "This is one we were marking, your Honor, 1102?"). The incident occurs during Scheck's tedious cross-examination of criminalist Fung. This, and two other videotapes, were raw news crew footage offered by the defense to show Fung and Mazzola transporting gathered evidence to their van, and thereby to contradict some detail of Fung's testimony. The defense intended to show only the portion with Fung and Mazzola, but the court insisted on seeing the whole tape, to make sure there was not contradictory context.
Just after the Fung/Mazzola excursion, there is a scene of Fuhrman and two other detectives walking up Rockingham from where they have apparently parked among the crowd of cars and TV vans farther down the street. They approach the camera, turn to their right, and go in the Rockingham gate. The camera follows the trio as they go through the gate (Figure 2 [RG_VIEW1.JPG]), and the camera then gets as close as it can -- according to the perspective, it goes up to the driveway apron, but not to the gate, and it is on the right side of center of the gate opening. The camera follows the rest of the action from that position. (Fuhrman is the man in the tan slacks and the black jacket; Det. Roberts may be the man in the gray suit.)
In Figure 3 [RG_VIEW3.JPG] the three men have reached the end of the Rockingham portion of the driveway, turned north, gone past the kitchen door, and are now passing the breakfast nook windows, heading for the house front porch and door. Notice in the upper left corner of the frame the bright red blossom of the coral tree (blooms in June in Brentwood), and the fact that foreground shrubs obscure the men from about the waist down. Not shown are the immediately following frames in which the shrubs obscure them from the chest down within another two or three strides.
The three men turn east again when they get to the front porch, but because of the distance and the perspective this is only a few degrees of angle farther to the left than the previous scene. We see in Figure 4 [RG_VIEW5.JPG] that they (and a view of the porch) are almost completely obscured. I have highlighted the two figures that are barely visible: Fuhrman's left shoulder in the black jacket can be seen, and Roberts in his gray suit -- shoulders, neck, and the bottom of his head -- can be made out. But notice that the trunk of the coral tree and shrubs completely block the view farther to the left -- toward the Ashford gate.
CONCLUSION: The lines of sight from the camera position, "C" in Figures 2, 3, and 4 are shown in the map of Figure 1. By coincidence, these pictures were taken along the same line of sight to the porch that Simpson would have had from the left pilaster as he pushed through his gate. As we have seen in Figure 4, that position does not allow a view low enough to see the hood of a car, and allows only glimpses, here and there, of a standing man's head. So, even though Simpson could have got into his estate by pushing through the left side of the gate, that was not a good enough position from which to evaluate his situation. By moving to the location of blood drop 5, however, his view is improved: he can see farther to the north, or alternatively, see more of the porch. Furthermore, the relatively close spacing of the drops in that area indicate that he spent more time than was necessary simply to make progress to the front door.
I consider that these indications are a verification of the hypothesis that Simpson loitered for a few seconds in the middle of his driveway in order to size up the situation with the limo, before proceeding with a plan by which he hoped to get into his house unseen by the limo driver.
(Simpson tarried by his front gate upon returning from Bundy -- probably to look for the limo.)
Dick Wagner ( Van Nuys, CA (1/05/03) RG_VIEW.TXT