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THE O.J. SIMPSON MURDER TRIAL : Jury Forewoman a 'Mother Figure' to Some on Panel

October 03, 1995|HENRY WEINSTEIN | TIMES LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER

The forewoman of the O.J. Simpson jury is a resident of South-Central Los Angeles who said she had a "sick feeling" in her stomach when she first heard Simpson was a suspect in the murders of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Lyle Goldman.

On her jury questionnaire, the 51-year-old woman said she had no personal opinion about the former Mrs. Simpson "other than I hate she died such a brutal death."

As for Simpson himself, Juror 230, as she has been known for months, said: "I have the same feelings I had before he was accused. I respect him as an individual based on his past accomplishments." She described him as a "superb athlete" and said she had seen his Hertz commercials.

Some former jurors predicted that the neat, bespectacled woman, who likes to crochet, would be selected to lead the predominantly African American panel. Michael Knox, dismissed from the panel March 1, described her as intelligent and a "mother figure" to some panelists.

The woman has not been publicly identified, but she provided insight into her attitudes and background in answers on a written questionnaire and from responses during oral questioning.

On her questionnaire, she wrote that she was a high school graduate with two years of college education. She said she was a supervisor in a Los Angeles County department. She has at least one child, a daughter.

She said she considered racial discrimination against African Americans "a somewhat serious problem" in Southern California.

She said she would have absolutely no problem deciding the case solely on the basis of evidence, even though she was familiar with some of the events leading up to the trial--including the low-speed freeway chase, and 911 calls made by Nicole Brown Simpson.

"I wouldn't look outside," the woman said under questioning from Deputy Dist. Atty. William Hodgman. "I'd stay with the evidence."

She also told Hodgman she would not be biased in evaluating testimony offered by former Los Angeles Police Department Detective Mark Fuhrman, whom defense attorneys contend planted a bloody glove at Simpson's house in an attempt to frame him.

When defense lawyer Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. asked her about an earlier statement that she wasn't "jumping for joy" about the prospect of serving as a juror in the high-profile case, she responded:

"What I meant was if an application came by my desk: 'Juror wanted, $5 a day, no experience required,' you know, 'maybe sequestered for six months,' I don't think I would have jumped at the chance to apply."

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