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April 18, 2001
4:11 AM   Subscribe

"High-profile P.I. Bill Dear believes he knows who killed Nicole Simpson. It's not who you think."

Fascinating read, whether or not you have a strong opinion on the case or just a slight interest. Dear initially thought O.J. did it, but now believes the police department came to a conclusion too quickly and as a result completely missed his prime suspect. [ via Alt-log ]
posted by lia (29 comments total)

 
Consider the source, and hold tight to your grain of salt.

This self-styled "book report" (see bottom of page) comes from the DOA, which has sold its soul to the DeMoN. The Observer used to be a great rag, but it's lost its spine, its genuine purpose, and is now only interested in shock and spin. It used to be a beacon of insight, but now it's just trying to incite. Dear's findings are provacative, but the truth is we'll never know for sure.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:11 AM on April 18, 2001


Are we to assume that OJ would have known it was Jason but kept silent to see how he would make out in a double murder charge? Dear's insightful DNA evidence: they are closely related and thus could share the same DNA. But DNA is distinctive.
posted by Postroad at 6:10 AM on April 18, 2001


Did you notice that the person who wrote this article co-authored another book with Dear? This is an advertisement for a book, not an objective article.

More importantly, Jason killed Nicole because she didn't go to his restaurant for dinner?!?
posted by Outlawyr at 6:45 AM on April 18, 2001


The Dallas Observer isn't owned by the parent company of the Morning News. It is part of the New Times network of alternative papers. As an Observer freelancer in the early '90s and a longtime Dallasite, I don't think the Dear story is any different than the kinds of things the paper has always ran.
posted by rcade at 6:46 AM on April 18, 2001


Outlawyr, did you ever hear the story of the man who beat another boy's father to death at the boys' hockey game because of (if I remember correctly) a fight? People kill each other over stupid shit all the time - that's just the first one that popped into my mind. I don't know all the details of OJ's son's life, but if he does indeed have intermittent rage disorder, chances are his view of reality is more than a little skewed, and he might very well have seen killing as a justifiable consequence for the slight.
posted by starvingartist at 7:54 AM on April 18, 2001


One problem with that StarvingArtist. What you describe is heat of the moment murder. This appears to have been premeditated, which would undermine the whole intermittent rage thing. This guy isn't the incredible Hulk. He stayed enraged long enough to drive over to Nicole's, wait for her outside or lure her outside, and kill her and Goldman with the Ginsu? And then had the presence of mind to erase any clues that would lead to him? I ain't buyin' it.
posted by Outlawyr at 8:05 AM on April 18, 2001


never mind. mixed metaphor. you and I don't think the same way.
posted by starvingartist at 8:19 AM on April 18, 2001


I hardly thought it was an objective article either, and the DNA point sounded stupid to me, but Dear did point out some things that have been in my mind since the trial, like how could something so vicious, especially when the victims fought back a) not wound the attacker (O.J. had just a tiny scratch or two, if I remember correctly) and b) leave so little blood evidence on O.J.'s clothes and thus in his car.

Like starvingartist, I do know that people have killed for stupider things than percieved insults (and they don't even have to have intermittent rage disorder; a week's worth of ObscureStore stories will illustrate this), so to me, that wasn't the point. I guess I'm just wondering why someone in the victim's circle who could be said to be predisposed to violence didn't have their alibi checked and rechecked. I mean, even if you're sure the person you suspect did the crime, you're still legally obligated to make sure you've eliminated every other possibility, right? Of course we'll never know for sure what happened, but Dear makes you wonder.
posted by lia at 8:22 AM on April 18, 2001


Ultimately, I think this kind of hindsight speculation by complete outsiders (read: MeFiers, unless you were involved in the investigation) is pretty useless. If you believe OJ was guilty, you're going to believe that. If you don't, probably any well-supported or even just well-argued alternate theory is going to sound plausible. Just like the JonBenet Ramsey case, I really don't think we'll ever know what happened. And personally, I don't really care. There are more immediate things in my life than who killed Nicole Simpson.
posted by starvingartist at 8:32 AM on April 18, 2001


I think I missed the "mixed metaphor".
posted by Outlawyr at 9:07 AM on April 18, 2001


never... mind...
posted by starvingartist at 9:17 AM on April 18, 2001


Just like the JonBenet Ramsey case, I really don't think we'll ever know what happened.

Oh please. We may not know what happened in the JonBenet Ramsey case, but we know that OJ killed Nicole and Fred. The evidence presented in the civil case was even more compelling than the evidence in the criminal trial, which was damning enough.

Defense attorneys, like conspiracy theorists, make their cases by bringing out tiny details that they claim are inconsistent with the overall case. OJ was much stronger than either of his victims who could have been intimidated by the knife. If someone grabs you from behind and stabs you, any amount of struggle you put up might not injure the assailant, and he might not have all that much blood on his clothing. I don't know whether that's the case here, but there are ways that he could have killed them and still not have had that much blood or injury.

Just because no one was there to witness the murder doesn't mean that the physical evidence isn't enough to tell us what really happened. That's the same argument creationists use: "no one was there; we'll never really know."
posted by anapestic at 9:32 AM on April 18, 2001


I just grabbed my journal entries from the time, because something seemed eerily familiar. A direct quote from my observations during the trial, following the testimony of the limo driver - "I wonder if it might've been Jason that he saw. In the dark, how could he tell?" I'm sufficiently weirded out now to need some chocolate.
posted by Dreama at 9:33 AM on April 18, 2001


anapestic, were you actually in the courtroom? Were you the head of the investigation? You do not know what happened. All you know is what was reported to you through the media. And OJ was declared guilty wayyyy before that trial even started.

Please note - I am not saying OJ is not guilty. I am not saying OJ is guilty. I don't know, and I cannot possibly pass judgment.
posted by starvingartist at 9:47 AM on April 18, 2001


And don't ever compare me to a creationist again. Please.
posted by starvingartist at 9:47 AM on April 18, 2001


anapestic, that's exactly what the defense is supposed to be doing; it would be malpractice if they didn't. That said, the burden is on the prosecution -- if the case isn't 100% airtight, if even the teeny tiniest doubt lingers in one person's mind about the case they've presented, they're not supposed to win. It isn't fair to compare them with conspiracy theorists, all of whom are nutjobs who are totally wrong, because all governments are comprised of upstanding individuals who have nothing but our welfare in mind and are thus completely honest and forthcoming about everything.
posted by lia at 9:53 AM on April 18, 2001


lia: That's absolutely wrong. No case is 100% airtight. In a criminal trial, the prosecution is supposed to win if they prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. And...

starvingartist: Reasonable people in general have no doubt about OJ's guilt. They have passed judgement both on the reliability of the information delivered to them and on the implications of that information. Your assertion that you cannot pass judgment because you have no personal knowledge of what happened is the same abdication of your ability to reason that creationists' arguments rely on.

What is it about creationists you revile, if not their rejection of the evidence for evolution presented by biologists on the same terms?
posted by nicwolff at 10:45 AM on April 18, 2001


Crap. To say there is a mountain the size of Everest of evidence against OJ Simpson.

Of course, OJ is now looking for the "real killer" on golf courses across America.
posted by owillis at 10:55 AM on April 18, 2001


if the case isn't 100% airtight, if even the teeny tiniest doubt lingers in one person's mind about the case they've presented, they're not supposed to win

lia, it's called "reasonable doubt." Not "any doubt whatsoever."

It is the job of a defense lawyer to get his or her client off, regardless of the client's guilt. It is our system, and the lawyers are merely playing the system, but given that it's not necessarily their job to find the truth, I don't see that the comparison is unfair. Or perhaps it's only unfair to the conspiracy theorists, who at least usually believe what they're saying. In any case, they use the same logical tactics.

And so do the proponents of the intelligent design theory. I heard one on the Diane Rehm show this morning, and basically what he's saying is that there are natural phenomena of "irreducible complexity." That is, because we're unable to explain how they could have arisen solely through nature, we have to posit an intelligent designer to explain them.

I didn't have to be in the courtroom, and I didn't have to be there when he killed them. I'm not sure how the media could have so misreported the trial and the evidence that I would have gotten a false impression. Looking at all the evidence from both sides, and not having pre-judged before the trial, I don't think there's any reasonable doubt. If our judicial system required absolute knowledge, we'd never convict anyone, since even eyewitnesses get it wrong sometime.
posted by anapestic at 11:01 AM on April 18, 2001


I'm not sure how the media could have so misreported the trial and the evidence that I would have gotten a false impression.

Too bad the jury didn't turn to the media for its information, it might have saved them all that bothersome paying attention and thinking in the courtroom.
posted by kindall at 11:28 AM on April 18, 2001


Forget it. Everybody seems out to get me because I don't want to declare OJ guilty, and I can't seem to express my thoughts properly enough to convey my meaning. Nicwolff, my assertion was that since I could only view the trial proceedings through the media, I automatically had a slanted view of the facts, whether intentional or not on the part of the media. If we could deliver verdicts by watching a trial on TV, we wouldn't need juries in the courtroom anymore. I don't feel that I can pass judgment on a trial I watched on TV. So sue me. Anapestic, I don't know you personally, but I don't believe that you didn't prejudge if you watched any of the TV coverage at all. Didn't they have to go through a bunch of jurists to find 12 who hadn't seen this thing on TV?
posted by starvingartist at 11:52 AM on April 18, 2001


My original point was that the article is one-sided and bias. The person who wrote it admits this himself. It's not like the stuff the Observer used to print back when it was really an alternative mag. How can a zine be alternative if it's owned by a network of papers, even if they claim to be alternative? Eventually they become a parody of the very publications to which they were trying to be an alternative.

Laura Miller used to be the Observer's lead writer, and I liked her early stuff. When she became a member of the Dallas City Council, the Dallas Observer just went irrevocably downhill. One can't take any of it even remotely seriously anymore. I miss the Herald now more than ever.

And this argument over OJ is, pun intended, overkill. We don't know. We never will know. Further, no one cares any longer. And perhaps that's the saddest part of the whole thing. The only thing the trial proved was that a fair trial in America, under the scrutiny of a prejudging media, is an illusion.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:58 AM on April 18, 2001


Oh, and about the creationists thing again (cause I forgot), not only do they reject evolution evidence out of hand, they also base all of their own evidence and theory on faith. They believe it to be true, therefore it is. Nowhere does faith enter into my argument. Actually, a lot of people who believe that OJ is guilty are closer to the creationist way of thinking:

"OJ is guilty!" "But what about all these unanswered questions? What about a lot of the evidence being circumstantial?" "Pfft! Whatever! I believe he's guilty!"

I'm exaggerating a little, of course, but I've heard it before (and not just about OJ.)
posted by starvingartist at 12:00 PM on April 18, 2001


We never will know.

That specific quote is from ZachsMind, but it's been said a couple of times before.

Why do we have to settle for never knowing? Regardless of the bias in this article, regardless of the apparent evidence against OJ, Jason was _never_ eliminated as a suspect, which means an avenue of investigation in the most publicised murders and trial of my lifetime was never explored.

And yet people are content to just sit back and say "Oh well, whatever."

I don't think further investigation into the murder of two innocent people is a bad thing, and if this guy's book at least forces the actual investigators to eliminate one more suspect then we're actually that much closer to knowing.

When did expanding knowledge become a Bad Thing?
posted by cCranium at 1:00 PM on April 18, 2001


starvingartist, the comparison between your argument and the creationists' argument (which, by the way, is not the same as calling you a creationist) had nothing to do with faith. It had to with taking a small sample of the evidence and blowing its importance out of proportion.

In science, as in law, you can't always know things directly. No one has seen protons, neutrons, and electrons, but we can imply their existence from a whole lot of evidence. In a way, it's circumstantial evidence, but most of us believe it. And in both science and law, there are standards as to what is an acceptable level of doubt. Science has confidence intervals. You can never be 100% sure that results were not the results of chance rather than causation, but you can be 95% (as an example) sure.

What a lot of us are saying is that the available evidence reduces the level of doubt to a level that is so small as to be negligible. And many of us have considered the so-called unanswered questions as well as the circumstantial nature of the evidence.
posted by anapestic at 1:09 PM on April 18, 2001


(which, by the way, is not the same as calling you a creationist)

Aarrggh! I didn't say that! I said "Don't ever compare me to a creationist again. Please." Exact quote. When you twist my words like that, even that little bit, you start to invalidate my arguments in a very unfair way. I realize what you were doing with your comparison. My knee jerked, because I regard creationist theory, faith-based as it is, as a completely blind and stupid extension of religion. I don't even want to be compared to them.
posted by starvingartist at 1:23 PM on April 18, 2001


How can a zine be alternative if it's owned by a network of papers, even if they claim to be alternative? Eventually they become a parody of the very publications to which they were trying to be an alternative.

You could say the same thing about any alternative newspaper once it becomes profitable, regardless of whether it is independently owned or owned by a conglomerate like New Times. The main thing the Observer lost when the Times came in was the individuality of the paper. New Times takes a cookie-cutter approach to its papers that I find boring.

Laura Miller used to be the Observer's lead writer, and I liked her early stuff. When she became a member of the Dallas City Council, the Dallas Observer just went irrevocably downhill.

I didn't have much use for Miller long before she quit the Observer to run for the city council. Too verbose.
posted by rcade at 1:27 PM on April 18, 2001


"When did expanding knowledge become a Bad Thing?"

Exactly what I'd like to know, cCranium.
posted by lia at 4:29 AM on April 19, 2001


Ya got me copper. I'm against any periodical from becoming successful, because not only does it mean their true motive is profit and not sharing knowledge, but it inevitably also means the owners of said periodical must be getting more sex than me. And this cannot be allowed. =P
posted by ZachsMind at 7:57 AM on April 19, 2001


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