A Los Angeles police detective on Thursday told of how he informed O.J. Simpson that his former wife had been killed. While Simpson was clearly upset at the news, the detective testified, he was strangely uncurious about the circumstances of her death, including whether she had been murdered or had died of natural causes.

The detective, Ronald Phillips, described how, having tracked down Simpson at his room at the O'Hare Plaza Hotel in Chicago, he telephoned the defendant saying that he "had some bad news for him." Then he told Simpson that Nicole Brown Simpson had been killed."I think the first words out of his mouth were something to the effect, `Oh, my God, Nicole is killed. Oh, my God, she's dead,"' Phillips recalled. "And then he got very upset. I kept trying to calm him down, and he continued to be upset, which I expected. And I finally said, `Mr. Simpson, please try to get ahold of yourself.' "

But the call, made from Simpson's home, was quick - it lasted five minutes and cost but 70 cents - in part because Simpson pledged to return to Los Angeles on the first available flight and in part because he asked very few questions.

"Did Mr. Simpson ask you how she was killed?" Marcia Clark, the chief prosecutor, asked him.

"No," the detective replied.

"Did he ask you when she was killed?"


"Did he ask you if you had any idea who had done it?"


"Did he ask you where it had occurred?"


"Did he ask you anything about the circumstances of how his ex-wife had been killed?"


Simpson, who had arrived in court in an upbeat mood on Thursday morning, turning to his sisters in the front row and greeting them as a politician greets constituents, listened almost sleepily as Phillips began his account. But as the officer described their conversation, Simpson shook his head disgustedly.

Then, as if disputing the officer's recollections point by point, he began speaking to his lawyers in short, emphatic sentences, whose timbre, if not its contents, could be heard on the other side of the courtroom.