A tearful O.J. Simpson was locked alone Saturday in a 7-by-9-foot cell, his emotions in tatters after his surreal flight from charges that he murdered his ex-wife and a friend of hers.
"As bad as he has been in the past four days, it's the worst I've ever heard him," Simpson's attorney, Robert Shapiro, told The Associated Press. "He was crying. He apologized to me for disappointing me."Simpson was in a high-security section of the sheriff's Men's Central Jail. A deputy was posted around the clock outside the cell on a suicide watch.
Simpson met for about four hours with a psychiatrist in the jail. Shapiro spoke with Simpson over the phone and at the jail but said legal strategy was not the main topic.
"Our concern is for his mental and emotional welfare," the lawyer said.
Simpson will not be allowed other visitors until his arraignment, scheduled for Monday morning.
Prosecutors filed a criminal complaint accusing the football legend of fatally stabbing Nicole Brown Simpson and waiter Ronald Goldman on June 12.
District Attorney Gil Garcetti acknowledged that it will be a challenge to find a jury that can overlook Simpson's fame.
"This is a man of beauty, of grace, of talent," Garcetti said at a news conference.
"But do not lose sight of the fact that it was Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman who are the true victims in this case," he said.
Simpson slipped away from a friend's house Friday just before he was to have turned himself in. Five hours later, he led police on a 60-mile chase that ended on the cobblestone driveway of his $1.2 million Brentwood mansion.
Police Chief Willie Williams denied Simpson was given preferential treatment that allowed him to flee. He said it wasn't the first time a suspect had reneged on an agreement to surrender.
"The difference was the world wasn't watching," Williams said. "If the person didn't show up, we went out and got them that afternoon, that day and no one knew about it."
Millions watched the ordeal live on national television. In Los Angeles, thousands of people lined freeways and city streets and some cheered the former star running back for the NFL's Buffalo Bills and University of Southern California.
Clutching a family photo, Simpson was coaxed out of a white Ford Bronco and gave himself up just before 9 p.m. The driver, Al Cowlings, a longtime friend and former teammate of Simpson's, was arrested for investigation of harboring a fugitive and released on $250,000 bond. Cowlings was in his Pacific Palisades home Saturday but refused to talk to anyone.
"Do not call. I have no comment," he said by phone.
Later, Cowlings stormed out of his house and yelled at reporters, "Just leave me alone." He then drove off in a white Mercedes. He returned about 30 minutes later, knocked over a TV cameraman and left again.
With Simpson under lock and key, the case is in the hands of lawyers, and there were signs his defense was having problems. Henry Lee, a prominent forensic scientist hired by Shapiro, has turned down Shapiro's request to stay in California and left for his home in Connecticut.
The Chinese Daily News reported Saturday that Lee examined a cut on Simpson's hand Thursday and couldn't determine whether it was caused by a broken drinking glass - as Simpson's lawyers asserted - or in a fight.
"There are some indications, circumstantial evidence and motive provided by the police, but there is no direct evidence, so the evidence is not conclusive," Lee, speaking Chinese, told the paper.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, said they still hadn't decided whether to seek the death penalty. The charges included the special circumstance of a multiple killing, which can warrant the death penalty.
Evidence had mounted last week against Simpson, with everything from blood samples to a glove reportedly linking him to the crime outside Nicole Simpson's Brentwood condominium.
Still, it came as a shock to many when the Los Angeles district attorney's office filed the murder complaint Friday naming Simpson as the only suspect.
Simpson has his defenders.
"We love you O.J. May God be with you," read a sign posted at his estate. Another sign encouraged, "Be strong, my brother."
The case took a number of strange twists before Simpson was arrested, starting with visibly angry police announcing Friday afternoon that he had reneged on a surrender agreement and disappeared.
During a televised news conference, Shapiro put out a plea for Simpson to turn himself in for the sake of his family and friends. .
A California Highway Patrol officer spotted Simpson's Bronco on Interstate 5 in Orange County, near the cemetery where Nicole Simpson was buried.
More than a dozen patrol cars followed the Bronco, which traveled at 20-50 mph. In the auto, Simpson was reportedly pointing a handgun at his head. A police negotiator was in contact with him over a cellular phone.
About 90 minutes later, Simpson was back home. With Cowlings serving as mediator, Simpson was talked out of the Bronco after about an hour.
He was allowed to go inside his home, use the bathroom, drink a glass of orange juice and call his ailing mother, Eunice Simpson. He was then driven to jail.
In San Francisco, California Pacific Medical Center reported that Eunice Simpson, 72, was in stable condition after she fell ill watching television coverage of her son's flight from justice.
Text of 911 call
The following is an excerpt from a 911 call made Friday evening by Al Cowlings during the freeway pursuit of O.J. Simpson. He spoke to a California Highway Patrol officer.
Cowlings: "This is A.C. I have O.J. in the car."
Officer: "OK, where are you?"
Cowlings: "I'm coming up the 5 freeway."
Cowlings: "Right now we're OK, but you gotta tell the police to just back off. He's still alive. He's got a gun to his head."
Officer: "OK, hold on a minute . . . "
Cowlings: "He just wants to see his mother. Let me get him to the house."
Sports world, media critics respond to story
- Simpson's jersey, Heisman removed from trophy case/D2
- Price of O.J.'s football trading cards soars skyward/D2
- NBC's switch to L.A. chase upsets Knicks-Rockets fans/D2
- Why bother with trials? Let media prosecute/A17