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Jury Rapt as Simpson Tries Bloody Gloves

June 16, 1995|STEPHANIE SIMON and BILL BOYARSKY | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Such behavior, prosecutors argue, shows that O.J. Simpson may have obsessively stalked his ex-wife in a violent relationship that ultimately ended in murder.

The second witness will testify that she saw O.J. Simpson shove Nicole Simpson against a Bentley parked in the driveway of his Rockingham Avenue estate. Elizabeth Holmes, a personal trainer who worked for Simpson's neighbors, "heard a loud thud when Nicole Brown Simpson struck the car," according to the prosecution's motion.

Ito has not announced when he will consider the prosecution's motion to call Redfern and Holmes.

"In any issue like this, the judge has to do a balancing act in terms of how relevant the testimony is against any unfair prejudicial impact it might have," Loyola law professor Laurie Levenson said.

Gloves Take Center Stage

Before the glove demonstration, the afternoon seemed to be going reasonably well for the prosecution.

Bloomingdale's buyer Brenda Vemich identified a charge-card receipt, signed by Nicole Brown, for the $77 purchase of two pairs of Aris Isotoner gloves.

She testified that the gloves Nicole Simpson bought on December 18, 1990, were called Aris Isotoner leather lights--the same expensive style, she said, as the gloves found at the crime scene and at Simpson's estate.

But on cross-examination, Vemich acknowledged that she could not tell from the receipt what size or color gloves Nicole Simpson had purchased.

In a relaxed, jovial manner, Cochran himself tried on the glove found at Simpson's estate to ask Vemich about its size. Stretching out his hand, he tried to tug the torn leather down over his wrist--in a gesture Simpson would later mimic. He then asked her whether the glove was really an extra large.

"Yes, it is, but it doesn't fit you," Vemich said.

"Right, it's small," Cochran said.

"It's too big," Vemich instantly contradicted him.

"Since I'm wearing it, it seems too small, but we won't argue about that," Cochran responded. That exchange, little more than a lighthearted aside at the time, illustrated the difficulty inherent in determining a glove's fit.

After Cochran had finished his gentle cross-examination, the prosecution called Rubin.

A chatty, relaxed witness, Rubin acknowledged that he could not determine the year in which the crime-scene glove was purchased. Aris manufactured thousands of pairs of similar gloves between 1982 and 1992 and Bloomingdale's had an exclusive contract to sell them.

Of the 10,000 pairs of gloves the company manufactured in 1990, he said, about 300 were extra-large brown gloves of the type linked to the murder scene. Fewer than 240 pairs were sold, he said.

With court scheduled to end an hour early so a juror could see a doctor, it looked as if the testimony might end there. But moments later, Darden asked Simpson to don the glove.

"They couldn't ask Simpson to do a dress rehearsal," law professor Smith noted. "It was a one-time shot."

Times staff writers Andrea Ford and Henry Weinstein contributed to this story.

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