A forensic expert witness who testified for the O.J. Simpson defense team during the sensational 1995 murder trial spoke to news outlets this week about the possibility that DNA evidence is recovered from a knife recently uncovered at Simpson’s former home. Although the former athlete and broadcaster cannot be retried for murder, DNA found on the knife may finally provide a murder weapon after more than two decades of searching.
Knife Found on OJ Property Turned into LAPD
Last week the Los Angeles Police Department announced it was examining a knife which was reportedly found years ago on an estate which once belonged to OJ Simpson. The knife was turned over to the LAPD by an ex-Los Angeles traffic officer who was allegedly given the item by a construction worker who claims to have found the knife while renovating OJ’s former estate sometime “back in the 90’s.” Following his retirement, the officer turned the knife in after holding on to it for almost two decades, apparently under the belief that the case was closed and any potential evidence no longer mattered.
Whether or not the knife is the weapon which was used to kill Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994 has yet to be determined, but the development provides an interesting twist during a time when attention to the case has been reawakened by recent FX television dramatization of OJ’s arrest and trial. Simpson, who has been in jail for a robbery conviction in Nevada since 2008, is protected from a second murder prosecution by double jeopardy, but the LAPD is still testing the knife for a potential link to the notorious murder, which officially remains unsolved.
Former OJ Forensic Expert Witness Speaks About Knife
Dr. Henry Lee, who testified as a forensic expert witness during OJ’s mid-90’s trial, spoke with a Connecticut news station following the discovery of the knife to discuss its potential impact. According to Lee’s expert analysis, the knife could still contain enough biological evidence to connect it to Brown and Goldman, which would confirm it is the murder weapon. Lee, who has not been asked to examine the newly discovered weapon, told reporters that forensic experts working in a lab could potentially identify DNA sufficient to connect the weapon to the victims and potentially perpetrator depending on how well preserved the weapon was.
When asked directly if DNA could be recovered from the knife, Dr. Lee responded, “If the knife underneath someplace, yes, if protected. If knife exposed to environment you probably can still find some mitochondrial DNA. If you find hairs, because that’s a really brutal murder so there should be sufficient amount of blood, or tissue, or cells still, or hair on them.“ Dr. Lee went on to explain that police should first determine if there is blood on the knife before analyzing whether or not it is human blood. If there is human blood on the knife, Dr. Lee said it is possible to create a DNA link.
Dr. Lee cautioned, however, that rust on the knife could result in a false positive and concluded that a DNA connection, while possible, would be difficult. The knife is being examined by LAPD forensic experts this week.
Knife Will Have Little Effect on OJ Simpson
Tampering excitement about the knife’s discovery is the fact that several false murder weapons have been turned in over the years, and the timing of this discovery – which syncs perfectly with the FX television series – is suspicious. Even if the knife is connected forensically to OJ, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman, it is unlikely to impact Simpson, who cannot be tried again for the murders. According to representatives for OJ, there is a small concern that it could negatively impact his upcoming parole hearing. Simpson is eligible for parole in November of 2017, and there is some speculation that should the knife forensically connect him to the murders the Nevada parole board could use that fact to reject his attempt for parole.
Of course, this series of events is both distant and unlikely, but as the American public regains a new interest in the OJ Simpson murder case the discovery of the knife potentially used to commit the crimes opens up a new story for police, forensic experts, and the media to investigate.