The Los Angeles Police Department, in a press conference conducted Friday morning, has acknowledged that a knife was given to authorities within the last month, and that the knife possibly was found on property owned by O.J. Simpson at the time of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
Captain Andrew Neiman told reporters that the process of vetting the evidence continues, but he declined to provide details about the situation in order to not undermine the investigation.
The item was given to the LAPD by a motor officer who retired in the late 1990s. The officer, who was either off duty or already retired, was providing security at a movie site near the former Simpson property. The LAPD is trying to determine the identity of the person who gave the officer the knife.
“I was really surprised,” Neiman said. “I would think that an LAPD officer would know that any time you come into contact with evidence, you should and shall submit that to investigators.”
Neiman added that the retired officer, who wasn’t named, has said that he didn’t surrender the item earlier because he believed the case was closed. Neiman clarified that the case remains open.
Neiman declined to provide details about the knife. He said it has been submitted to the LAPD laboratory for testing.
Although Neiman isn’t a lawyer, he explained based on his 30 years of police experience that “double jeopardy would be in place here,” and that Simpson could not be prosecuted again for the murders.
Efforts are underway to find the person who gave the knife to the retired officer. Obviously, any effort to give the evidence value would require the construction of a reliable chain of custody. The person who found it would have to be able to testify that he or she found it on the property. The retired officer would have to testify regarding the whereabouts of the knife from the time he got it until the time it was given to police.
Ultimately, none of it matters absent DNA evidence that would connect the knife to the murders. Unless the knife carries DNA of someone other than the victims or Simpson, there’s really nothing that can be done.