The O.J. Simpson jurors heard from more than 100 witnesses, but their climactic decision apparently rested on one man: the young limousine driver who took Simpson to the airport.
Allan Park, a man always working on a time schedule, gave jurors a precise accounting of every crucial minute he spent at Simpson's estate the night of June 12, 1994 - and that is what they asked to review shortly before they announced they had heard enough.In a marathon trial that focused on such esoterica as DNA analysis and the waxing and waning of the moon, the jurors took less than four hours to finalize their verdicts. And the last thing they heard was a court reporter re-reading a limited portion of Park's testimony.
"I thought it was a very important part of the trial," Park told KCBS-TV after his testimony was read. "And it shows that it was."
Although prosecutors saw Park's testimony as their cornerstone, the story he told could have helped either side.
On the side favoring guilt:
Park said Simpson failed to answer a ringing door buzzer at 10:40 p.m.; he was there to fulfill Simpson's order for a 10:45 p.m. pickup for Los Angeles International Airport, where Simpson planned to catch a red-eye flight to Chicago. The driver was alarmed. He contacted his boss. Shortly thereafter, Park saw a shadowy figure approaching the front door. At 10:55 p.m., Simpson came on the intercom and said he had overslept.
Park said he belatedly remembered that he found Simpson's Rockingham estate by looking at a painted address number on the curb but couldn't remember seeing Simpson's white Bronco parked on the street that night. Prosecutor Marcia Clark then sprang a startling piece of evidence: a photo of where Simpson's Bronco was later found parked - right next to the address number on the curb. Prosecutors allege Simpson was late because he had been out murdering his ex-wife and her friend - and drove home in the Bronco.
On the side favoring innocence:
Simpson walked out the front door of his mansion at 11:01 p.m., nattily dressed for his trip. He was immaculate; some witnesses said later he looked like he could have been in an ad for men's clothing. If he was the killer, how could he have executed such a brutal crime, disposed of a weapon, returned home and changed out of bloody clothes so rapidly? Prosecutors claimed that Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were slain between 10:15 and 10:20 p.m.
Park had not mentioned the curb marking during earlier testimony to the grand jury and at a preliminary hearing. How did it come to mind?
"In a conversation with my mom," he said.
His mother is a criminal lawyer who sat in the courtroom during his testimony.