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SIMPSON STILL HASN'T BEEN IMPLICATED

Three months and about 40 witnesses into testimony, prosecutors have yet to present a single piece of physical evidence positively linking O.J. Simpson to murder.

Their opportunity is coming up in what is being called the make-or-break phase of the case.Prosecutors have pointed to gloves and a hat, blood spots and shoe prints - all, so far, unconnected to anyone.

"At this point, if the jury was asked to deliberate, they would have to acquit because there hasn't been a single piece of physical evidence linking Simpson to the crime," said UCLA law professor Peter Arenella. "But that's not a criticism. The prosecutors haven't gotten to the heart of their case yet."

Now, with the focus shifting to blood evidence, legal experts say the prosecution will have its chance to win or lose.

"They now have to go to hard scientific evidence," said Loyola University Professor Laurie Levenson. "This is the most important phase of the trial."

Will the bloody glove found at Simpson's estate prove to match his blood and the victims'? Will hairs in the ski cap show the same characteristics as Simpson's hair? And what about blood on the Bronco?

Answers will be up to DNA experts.

So far, prosecution testimony has been divided into two phases aimed at showing motive and opportunity.

Deputy District Attorneys Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden called 39 witnesses to suggest, first, that Simpson was obsessively jealous of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and had a motive to kill her and, second, that careful examination of his movements on June 12 showed he had opportunity to do it.

They contend that her friend Ronald Goldman was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Criminalist Dennis Fung, who collected blood evidence from Simpson's home and the crime scene, was scheduled to return to the stand Monday.

"This will be the show-and-tell of all time," Levenson said.

She predicted prosecutors will try to simplify blood analysis evidence for jurors, while defense lawyers will try to confuse it as much as possible.

"It's like putting together the pieces of a puzzle," Levenson said. "You need all the pieces and right now they're missing the big piece - putting O.J. at the scene of the crime."

Arenella said prosecutors have a tough challenge: trying to keep jurors interested while leading them through a scientific morass.