Blood samples match Simpson, sources report


LOS ANGELES -- The blood type of samples recovered at the scene of a brutal double slaying match that of O. J. Simpson's blood, a potentially important piece of evidence in the investigation of the killings of his former wife and a man she knew, Los Angeles police sources said yesterday.

The former football star's blood type is different from those of the two victims, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman, a source said. Although even rare blood types are shared by many people, any discovery of Mr. Simpson's blood type at the murder scene could lend credence to the suggestion that he was there, sources said.

A more exact test to determine whether the DNA in the blood sample matches Mr. Simpson's has not yet been concluded, sources added.

Mr. Simpson's newly hired lead attorney, Robert L. Shapiro, was unavailable for comment late yesterday. Howard Weitzman, who represented Mr. Simpson until yesterday and continues to serve as an adviser to his legal team, said he was unaware of any test results concluding that Mr. Simpson's blood type matched samples recovered from the scene.

Although sources have said Mr.Simpson is the main suspect in the investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department has declined to confirm those reports, and Mr. Simpson has not been arrested, much less charged with any crime.

New details emerged yesterday about a matching pair of gloves whose existence Mr. Weitzman vehemently has denied. According to police sources, investigators found two work gloves, one at the scene of the crime and the other outside Mr. Simpson's Brentwood mansion.

Both had blood on them, though tests for the blood on the gloves still have not been completed, sources said. According to one source, the glove at Mr. Simpson's home was found outside a side entrance near a trail of drippings that have been determined to be blood.

"That would be inconsistent with what I was told," said Mr. Weitzman, who has said a police official assured him that there was no second glove found at Mr. Simpson's home. "Beyond that, I have no comment."

Sources said Mr. Goldman's wounds indicated he fought fiercely when attacked, and they said Mr. Simpson was scratched and cut when police interviewed him several hours after the crime.

Mr. Weitzman and others familiar with the investigation said Mr. Simpson spent much of the day at his Brentwood mansion, grieving over the death of his former wife, surrounded by members of his family and in consultation with his legal team.

As authorities sifted through the evidence in the case, Mr. Simpson switched lawyers, hiring Mr. Shapiro to head his legal team. Mr. Shapiro promptly announced that he would seek a second autopsy and private forensic tests, and said the football great was under treatment for depression.

"He is deeply upset," said Mr. Shapiro, one of Los Angeles' best-known lawyers. "He is under a doctor's care for depression. . . . He is going to be in seclusion with his family to grieve over the loss of the mother of his children."

Mr. Weitzman -- who has vigorously defended Mr. Simpson's innocence over the past three tumultuous days -- has given up the lead role to Mr. Shapiro, a celebrated lawyer whose clients have included Darryl Strawberry and Tina Sinatra.

Explaining why he has stepped down, Mr. Weitzman said in a statement: "I have decided because of my personal relationship with O. J. Simpson and my many other professional commitments I can no longer give O. J. the attention he both deserves and needs."

Mr. Shapiro said he told Mr. Simpson to avoid watching television or reading newspapers and to focus instead on his family.

Two black limousines were seen leaving Mr. Simpson's Brentwood mansion yesterday afternoon, and a few hours later, he was filmed by a television station as he drove away from O'Connor Laguna Hills Mortuary, where his former wife's body was being prepared for burial.

"We had a viewing . . . to send my sister off. We all went and paid our respects," said Denise Brown, Nicole's older sister. "And . . . yes, O. J. was there. But what's the big deal? It's his ex-wife. My God, it's somebody we all love. We just want to let her go in peace."

A source close to Mr. Simpson said he visited his children, who are staying at their grandparents' house in Orange County, before returning home.

In a brief statement released after he took over the case, Mr. Shapiro said Mr. Simpson was at his Brentwood home waiting for a limousine when Nicole Simpson, 35, and Goldman, 25, were killed Sunday night.

Mr. Simpson traveled to the airport late that evening and then caught a "red-eye" for Chicago. A source said he was the only passenger to travel in the first-class section of the American Airlines flight from Los Angeles International Airport.

Mr. Weitzman had previously said he believed that Mr. Simpson was in the limousine or at the airport when the killings occurred. So far, an exact time of death has not been released by authorities, although Mr. Weitzman has said he was told that it was about 11 p.m. Sunday -- supporting his contention that Mr. Simpson could not have committed the crime and still gotten to the airport in time to catch his flight.

Los Angeles police discovered the bodies after midnight and called Mr. Simpson at his Chicago hotel Monday morning to tell him that his former wife had been found dead in Brentwood. Mr. Simpson returned to Los Angeles that morning and was questioned by police the same day.

Among Mr. Shapiro's first moves after taking over for Mr. Weitzman was to solicit the services of a criminologist and a pathologist, whom he would not identify except to say that each is a nationally recognized professional.

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