As if O.J. Simpson’s case could get any more bizarre, TMZ reported this morning that a knife found at Simpson’s estate has finally surfaced after being held at a police officer’s home for years, possibly since 1998.
The O.J. estate was demolished in 1998, which led to a construction worker finding a folding buck knife buried on the property. The date of the actual discovery of the knife remains foggy. TMZ reports hearing several different versions of this. However, discovery of the weapon seems to coincide with the house being demolished.
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) March 4, 2016
Of course, the construction worker what any respectable person would do: He took the knife to the street, flagged down an LAPD cop, and turned the weapon over to him.
But the police officer, instead of submitting the knife as evidence, decided to take it home.
The TMZ source said that the cop kept this knife for years. He considered having it framed, and the piece engraved with the O.J. Simpson murder case number.
When he retired in January, 2016, he finally decided to go about getting that number. So he contacted a friend who worked in LAPD’s Robbery Homicide Division (RHD). He asked his friend to get the Departmental Record number for the Simpson case, so he could have the engraving done.
Not surprisingly, the Robbery Homicide officer was incensed by this. He reported it to his superiors, who immediately demanded that the knife be relinquished to authorities.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) March 4, 2016
The knife is now being held for fingerprints, forensic, and DNA testing. Authorities caution that nothing is known yet.
Since Simpson was acquitted in October of 1995, the case is still open. But since he was acquitted, he cannot be tried again, no matter what the evidence on the knife may reveal.
One of the great mysteries in the murders of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman was that no murder weapon was ever produced. Despite all the blood evidence, some of which was badly handled, the lack of a murder weapon seemed to further boggle the already cluttered proceedings.
The L.A. Times reported that attorney Carl Douglas, who helped defend Simpson, called the discovery “ridiculous.”
“It’s amazing how the world cannot move on from this case! And it, and the media, is apparently still fascinated by everything O.J. Simpson.”
Douglas added that he remembered there being evidence that two knives may have been used: one with a straight edge, and one with a serrated edge.
There have been a number of false leads over the years. During the criminal trial, prosecutors honed in on a 15-inch knife with a retractable blade that Simpson purchased at Ross Cutlery in downtown Los Angeles. CNN reported that the store’s owner, Allen Wattenberg, testified that his employee sold O.J. Simpson a 15-inch stiletto knife on May 3, 1994. He said Simpson asked that the knife be sharpened.
Upon investigation, the knife was found to be in pristine condition and was never used as evidence.
In 1994, the year of the double homicides, a woman found a kitchen knife covered in red stains less than a block from Simpson’s home.
Testimony in the double homicide trial took about nine months. It involved about 120 witnesses, 45,000 pages of evidence, and 1,100 exhibits.
In September of 2007, Simpson was arrested in connection with a robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room. He was booked on six counts of robbery, assault, burglary and conspiracy. He was found guilty on 12 counts, including kidnapping and armed robbery. He was sentenced to 33 years in jail.
The “trial of the century” remains fodder for the media even decades later, and is the current subject of an FX series starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. as Simpson.
The L.A. Times reported that when the new owners of Simpson’s Rockingham estate decided to flatten the mansion in 1998, a construction worker joked, “We haven’t found the knife yet.”
[Image via Ethan Miller/Associated Press]