An O.J. Simpson prosecutor dropped what he called "the other shoe" in the state's DNA case Friday - new DNA results tentatively linking Simpson's blood and that of murder victim Ronald Goldman to Simpson's Bronco. But jurors may never hear about it.
The judge said the tests, which bolster other evidence now under defense attack, were started too late and might not be admissible in Simpson's trial."I still have the concern about the delay in the starting of the testing and whether or not any of that RFLP results will be admissible before this jury," said Superior Court Judge Lance Ito. "That's an issue that has yet to be resolved."
The judge's remarks indicated he permitted the prosecution to go ahead with RFLP tests on mixed blood samples from the Bronco earlier this year, but the California Department of Justice lab delayed starting testing "for a significant period of time, approaching two months."
Some RFLP tests can take up to three months or more to complete, and the prosecution's results have dribbled in throughout the case. Many were presented to jurors last spring, while others, such as those on the Bronco blood, are ongoing.
Defense attorney Barry Scheck said the defense has had no access to the new tests and argued they should not be admitted.
Prosecutor Rockne Harmon countered that RFLP testing, considered more reliable than the PCR process, takes longer and results are only now appearing gradually in chemical strips.
"We have now produced a three-probe RFLP match consistent with the blood of Mr. Simpson and the blood of Ronald Goldman," Harmon told the judge. "We will continue to probe it.
"That's what they fear," he said of the defense, "the other shoe."
Simpson has pleaded not guilty to the June 12, 1994, murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Goldman, her friend.
Harmon and fellow prosecutor George Clarke wanted to use the results in a hypothetical question to defense witness John Gerdes, who has dismissed PCR tests performed on the same Bronco blood as untrustworthy due to contamination and sloppy evidence handling.
Ito refused to allow the question and suggested that the new tests could be attacked on similar grounds as PCR: that the blood had been exposed to the environment for so long that it was degraded and possibly contaminated by the time it reached the laboratory.
Meanwhile, Clarke put Gerdes through a rigorous cross-examination but drew only a few concessions from the calm, methodical microbiologist.