Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Case Had Many Holes, Juror Says : Panel: Group agreed with forensic expert Lee that there was 'something wrong' with prosecution's evidence, he reports. Opportunities for contamination are cited.

October 04, 1995|EDWARD J. BOYER and ELAINE WOO | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

In the end, what swayed them wasn't the impassioned rhetoric of Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. or the calmer but no less dramatic appeals of Marcia Clark.

They didn't buy the prosecution's so-called mountain of evidence, from a barking dog to DNA. They didn't buy the motive, a husband exploding in jealous, murderous rage.

And the race card, played so brazenly in the defense team's blistering attacks on former LAPD Detective Mark Fuhrman, rated "barely a blip" for the most part on their mental radar screens.

In the end, said Lionel (Lon) Cryer--the juror who will long be remembered for his raised-fist salute to O.J. Simpson at the close of the fractious and unpredictable murder trial--what mattered was what wasn't there, the holes he said jurors kept finding in the prosecution case.

"It was garbage in, garbage out," Cryer, known as the juror in seat No. 6, said Tuesday about the prosecution's evidence. "There was a problem with what was being presented to [prosecutors] for testing from LAPD. We felt there were a lot of opportunities for either contamination of evidence, samples being mixed or stored together."

That summed up the panel's "whole mode of thinking" very soon after the 10 women and two men entered the deliberations room Monday morning, Cryer said in an exclusive interview with The Times. As they walked into that room on the ninth floor of the Downtown courthouse, Cryer said, the words of noted forensic pathologist Dr. Henry Lee, whom Cryer said the jury viewed as "the most credible witness" of all, reverberated in their ears.

Lee, Cryer recounted, said, "There is something wrong here."

"He had a lot of impact on a lot of people. A lot of people were in agreement that there was something wrong" with the prosecution's case, he said.

Their job finished at last, most jurors Tuesday tried to do a fast vanishing act, only to discover that their homes--in communities including Mid-City Los Angeles, Bellflower and Boyle Heights--had been staked out by media hordes.

But Cryer, a hefty 44-year-old telephone company marketing representative, decided to speak out, painting a picture of a panel that deliberated for the most part without acrimony or the racial tensions that many pundits had feared would tear it apart.

He said the 12 jurors began deliberations ignorant of one another's views.

"A lot of people thought we already had our minds made up," he said. "That was definitely not the case."

But, Cryer said, the determination that they were near agreement came barely half an hour into their discussions.

The morning began with the court clerk, Deirdre Robertson, rolling in a cart laden with the scores of exhibits that had been paraded before the panel over the past eight months.

Looking at that cart, Cryer recalled thinking, "This is going to take a long time."

But by 10 a.m., less than an hour after they had begun, they elected to take a straw vote. The secret ballots, collected in a jar, tallied "10-2, not guilty," he said. He still doesn't know who the two were. The discussion then narrowed to one theme: inconsistencies in the prosecution case.

The panel was troubled by the marking of evidence and the order of its introduction. "There were erasures on reports," he said. "We felt that there were some problems . . . that they were trying to cover their rear ends by making changes in reports."

He theorized that the LAPD "had such a bad track record with their high-profile cases in the past that they pounced on this case to try to not blow it at all costs. 'No matter what, we're going to make this case.' "

They also questioned why Detective Philip Vannatter would carry a vial of blood taken from Simpson from Parker Center back to Brentwood.

The bloody glove found at the Rockingham Avenue estate was the one piece of evidence Cryer himself "couldn't get past," he said, adding that he had serious questions about where it was found "and the fact that there was no other blood in that area at all."

The prosecution's contention that Simpson's rage and his need to control his ex-wife formed the motive for murder was unconvincing to jurors, Cryer said.

"I don't want to come off as being insensitive about brutality against women," he said, but prosecutors only presented one instance in which Simpson physically abused his former wife. "The 1989 incident was significant for all of us, because from '89 until her death, there were no other incidents where he touched her."

Quickly they agreed that they needed to re-examine the testimony of Allan Park, the conscientious limousine driver who kept checking his watch and looking for signs of his passenger, Simpson, whom he was to drive from the ex-athlete's Brentwood home to the airport.

Cryer said there were four points the panel wanted to double-check: how many cars Park said were in the driveway, how definitive was his memory of whether the infamous white Bronco was parked at the curb, what the dark figure Park said he saw entering the mansion was wearing, and where exactly Park spotted him.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|