The Darwin Exception

because it's not always survival of the fittest – sometimes the idiots get through

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NV vs Simpson – The Aggressive Gunman and a Jailhouse call

Posted by thedarwinexception on September 26, 2008

It’s been a very long court week. Next week will be much shorter, as Monday will end at 3:00 and there is no court on Tuesday. So all we have to get through is today, the last day of the week…….and wouldn’t you know the State chooses today to offer up the most tedious, boring, dry testimony yet. 

But first off the state recalls Detective Caldwell, and he isn’t too long and drawn out. He simply confirms the search warrants, and that they were executed. Caldwell attended the search of McClinton’s house on September 16th. And then Caldwell identifies the guns that are in court as the ones taken in that search warrant. He testifies that McClinton had told detectives where they would find the guns in the home. 

As a result of a search warrant executed at Mr. Lucherini’s office on September 17th, detectives recovered the pillowcases with the footballs in them. 

On September 19th, detectives executes a search warrant on Mr. Miley’s office, who was Cashmore’s attorney. There they recovered lithos and Fromong’s cell phone. The phone was photographed and given back to Fromong. 

Caldwell then goes on to tell the jury that cell phones were a significant portion of the investigation – who called who, and when they called. Caldwell identified the cell phone numbers of all the parties involved and got the cell phone records for the pertinent dates in this case They also wanted the subscriber information from the phone companies – which is the name and address of the person who is billed for the number. The detective says that this entailed getting records from 3 or 4 different phone companies. 

Caldwell goes on to explain that he matched up the different records to determine who had called who and when – and sometimes this was not possible because Phone companies are sometimes not interested in incoming calls and they don’t record those – if the subscriber has a phone plan that includes incoming calls for free. Cell phone companies only keep track of billable minutes – if nights or weekends aren’t free, they won’t keep track of those calls. Same with incoming calls. SO sometimes Caldwell found he had no corresponding incoming call for an outgoing call to that party. 

Caldwell then shows the jury two charts he made – one which shows the property that was taken from the Palace Station and it’s journey, from the hotel room, to the person who took it, to where it was recovered. 

Then Caldwell shows the jury a huge two part chart of the phone calls between the individuals, complete with pictures. 

Caldwell then plays a recording of a phone call that OJ made from jail to his home. He was calling his girlfriend Christy Prody, but it was Arnelle that answered. In the phone call he tells Arnelle to get a hold of Linda Deutsch (laying to rest any arguments about where *her* sympathy lies – if you read any of her reporting on OJ, you know that she has long been an OJ supporter, although she says she reports “accurately”.) OJ tells Arnelle that he had a long talk with Al Beardsley, and that Beardsley wants to drop the charges, that he understands what happened and does not want to proceed with the complaint. 

So then the State goes through EVERY phone call between the parties – to prove the “planning” of the incident, although some calls prove nothing more than that the parties called each other. 

After all the phone calls are played, Bryson gets up to cross for Mr. Stewart and he makes the funniest point yet. Apparently, the police were in contact with Mr. Stewart and Stewart told then that he was going to turn himself in to the police- but not today. He was tired after all the wedding stuff and everything that weekend, and needed a good night’s sleep, so he would turn himself in the next day. And the police were like “Oh, OK, CJ, not a problem – go home and get a good night’s sleep and come back tomorrow.” 

I thought that was hilarious, for some reason, since, you know, I didn’t realize that you can just basically tell the police “Well, I’m too tired to be arrested right now.” 

And Bryson makes the point that here’s a guy you are charging with Armed robbery – do you usually allow armed robber’s to go home and get a good night’s sleep and be out on the streets? Don’t you consider armed robbers dangerous and don’t you need to worry about the safety of the public from Armed robbers? And here’s a guy that you are charging  with assault with a deadly weapon – didn’t you need to protect the public from this dangerous person? And a guy you are charging with kidnapping? How dangerous and how much of a threat could you have considered this guy to be, considering that you allowed him to go home and get a good night’s sleep before he turned himself in? 

The Bryson wants to play everyone of the 11 phone calls we’ve already heard with Caldwell, and he wants to ask Caldwell after each phone call “Was anything illegal said?” Which is like, ridiculous, and the judge says so. She says to Bryson, “Look, dude, you are a skilled attorney I’ll bet that you can come up with a question to encompass *all* the calls at one, there’s no need to play every single call again.” Thank you, Judge. 

The Grasso gets up to cross for OJ and he wants to know why it is that Detective Caldwell made his little chart of the phone calls between the parties and included Arnelle’s picture on the chart, but not Riccio’s. Which is kind of a good point. He says to Caldwell “Arnelle wasn’t charged with anything, was she? Arnelle wasn’t implicated as a part of the robbery, wash she?” And Caldwell agrees that she wasn’t. Grasso says , well, Riccio was the one that planned the meetings, he was the middle man between the buyer and the seller, he’s the one that got everyone to that room that night, and actually has the most calls to OJ, but he doesn’t have his picture on the chart. Caldwell says he just didn’t put Riccio’s picture on the chart. 

Grasso then asks about the jail call that was played – the one to Arnelle. In this call OJ also tells Arnelle that Beardsley is going to get “the rest of” OJ’s stuff to OJ-  and OJ tells Arnelle “for the kids.” Grasso points out that even though OJ is in jail and has charges facing him, he still seems concerned about the rest of the property that he believes is his. 

Grasso then asks the detective why he only played this one call, when there were dozens of calls that were made by OJ from jail. The detective has no answer, but the implication is clear – between the chart that didn’t include Riccio, but did include Arnelle, and the one phone call from jail that was played, it make sit seem that the detectives were slanting the evidence in the state’s favor. When you add this to the evidence of the CSI analysts laughing and joking about how they are going to “get OJ”, it doesn’t look flattering. 

Grasso then conducts a quite brilliant cross of the detective about the tape transcripts that this detective had made. Grasso goes through about a half dozen places in the tape where the words are obviously wrong. Some of the places he points out that are wrong even change the whole context and meaning of the sentence being spoken. And Grasso points out that he is not the FBI, he doesn’t have earphones on, and he’s not even playing the super duper enhanced versions of the tapes, and he can still point out all these errors in the transcription. He very deftly gets the witness to admit that the transcripts are not reliable. 

Of course, the transcripts are not evidence, and the judge hasn’t admitted them as such. And the transcripts are not the actual tapes. But coming on the heels of Beardsley’s “I can’t authenticate these tapes!” one does wonder how many jury members may conflate the two. 

As a little interesting tidbit, on the tape of the CSI agents and police who were processing the scene in room 1203 that Riccio got on audiotape, one of the detectives mentions that “as a result of Riccio going to the police, they had PC [probable cause] on OJ and were able to arrest OJ.” Hmmmmm…… They also talked about how they had “an eyeball” on OJ and were following him around. 

When Roger re-directs for the state he makes the point that yes, Beardsley *is* the one that contacted Riccio first, according to the phone records and that the detective *also* said on the tape that they were waiting for the video surveillance tapes as further evidence before they arrested OJ. NO rush to judgment here. He lasso makes the point with the detective that 3 days before the jailhouse call where OJ says that Beardsley doesn’t want to press charges that Beardsley was talking to Fromong telling Fromong “Don’t back off these charges!”

Then we have questions from the jury. 

1. Why did you include Arnelle on the chart at all? ANSWER: Because she was the one who called to reserve the room that the incident was supposed to take place in. She called a bunch of different places -including the Palace Station to inquire about getting rooms and getting connected rooms. 

2. After you heard the tape from OJ to Arnelle did you check to see if Beardsley had called him or he had called Beardsley and if this call between OJ and Beardsley had actually taken place? ANSWER Inmates can’t receive calls in jail, and I didn’t check to see if OJ had called Beardsley. 

3. Who called who on the 15th? ANSWER I don’t know what you are asking. 

4. Collectively, how many man hours have been spent on this case? ANSWER: Well over 1,000

5. Why was Riccio’s picture not included on the chart? ANSWER: There were many different charts made up in the process – this final one was chosen because it was the easiest to read and follow – many of the earlier ones included Riccio’s picture. 

6. Are there any calls between OJ and Beardsley on the 15th? ANSWER: I haven’t looked into that. 

7. Are there logs of OJ’s calls after the 15th and if so, are there calls to other people involved in this case? Yes, and yes. 

8. Are there records of Bruce Fromong’s calls? He isn’t on the chart. ANSWER: We don’t get phone records for victims in cases. 

As follow up – Mr Roger then asks a few questions of the witness. He asks the detective specifically about the call between OJ and Beardsley where Beardsley supposedly told OJ he wanted to drop his charges. He asks the detective if this call took place before or after OJ was incarcerated. The detective says he doesn’t know when that call took place. Roger asks if OJ’s cell phone records reflect a call to or from Beardsley and the detective says that he hasn’t looked. 

Grasso then asks his own questions. He points out that since OJ couldn’t receive calls in jail, that when this call took place, if it was while OJ was incarcerated, that the call would be taped since OJ would have had to have made the call and all outgoing calls from the jail are recorded. The detective agrees that this is so. Grasso asks the detective if he could look into when and if this call took place, and if he could bring that information back with him when he come to testify in the defense’s case in chief. The detective says he will. 

The next witness for the state is the aggressive gunman in room 1203 that night – Michael McClinton. 

McClinton is a 50 year old resident of Las Vegas. He describes his profession as “House services and security”. He has been friends with Walter “Goldie” Alexander for over 20 years. Well, not really friends – more like “associates”. McClinton met OJ through Alexander probably 5 years ago and sees him occasionally – usually only with Alexander. He knows Stewart – but only from seeing him around town. 

On September 13th he got a call from Walter Alexander, who had flown into Vegas from his home in Arizona to attend the wedding of a mutual friend. He wanted McClinton to pick him up at the airport, but McClinton couldn’t because he had to pick up his daughter from school around the same time. McClinton made arrangements to meet him later in the day at a gas station or something out on the West Side of town. 

McClinton picked Alexander up and while they were in the car Alexander got a call from OJ who wanted to see Alexander. McClinton and Alexander went to get something to eat then headed to the Palms to go to OJ’s room and talk to him. 

When they got to OJ’s room there were two other guys coming out as they were going in. McClinton says he wasn’t introduced to the gentlemen (we know from the tape he was.). McClinton and Alexander talked to OJ about some stuff that OJ was taken from him 8 or 9 years earlier that he wanted to get back. OJ said he had an inside man at the Palace Station who he was talking to. This guy had information about the guys who had the stuff and they were in Vegas. OJ said his inside man was going to set up a meeting so OJ could have a buyer go in and check the stuff out. 

It was at this point that McClinton says OJ asked him about his concealed weapons permit. McClinton says that Alexander had told OJ that McClinton had one. OJ asked McClinton if he could see it and McClinton took it out of his wallet and showed it to OJ. OJ wanted to know if McClinton had a gun with him at that time and McClinton told him no. OJ asked McClinton and Alexander to come along with him to the meeting and act as security. They agreed to do so. They were supposed to meet OJ at the Palace Station an hour or two later. 

After they left OJ’s room, McClinton and Alexander went back to McClinton’s home to shower and change and retrieve McClinton’s weapons. He got the weapons from his dresser drawer and then drove to the Palace Station. Alexander got a call from OJ on the way to the Palace Station. OJ said that he was running late. McClinton and Alexander proceeded tot eh Palace station and arrived before OJ – they knew that he was with Clarence Stewart and were aware of Stewart’s vehicle. When OJ and Stewart arrived McClinton and Alexander flagged them down and Stewart parked close to McClinton’s car. McClinton and Alexander walked from McClinton’s vehicle over to OJ and OJ said to get in Stewart’s car and wait a few minutes – that he had two men in the hotel at the moment acting as buyers and checking out the property. The inside guy was supposed to call OJ when everything was set up. McClinton says they talked briefly about what was going to happen and then Stewart and Alexander left the vehicle to go check out the situation. They came back and said that Riccio was in the lobby with the two guys and then they all left Stewart’s vehicle and went into the lobby. 

McClinton says that they went to the lobby, met Riccio and the two other guys, that there was some discussion about how to proceed – Riccio wanted all the guys to spread out – and then Riccio led them to the room. McClinton says that as they walked to the room there really was no one speaking, but that as they got to the door OJ told him to pull his gun and “look menacing”. 

Riccio opened the door and they all filed in. McClinton says his gun was drawn as he entered the room. When OJ entered he started screaming at the two men in the room about his stuff. He then yelled “Don’t let anyone out of this room.” And continued to yell at the two men. 

Stewart walked towards the left side of the room and frisked Mr. Fromong. Alexander went to the right side of the room and unplugged the telephone. 

McClinton says he had his gun in his left hand the entire time he was in the room, and that OJ was standing so close to him that at one point their shoulders were touching. McClinton says that Alexander did take his gun out at one time – but that it was only for a moment. McClinton says that he himself was doing a lot of shouting. Along with OJ. McClinton says that basically every time OJ yelled, that he yelled. McClinton says he was giving orders since OJ was basically only addressing his comments to the two men. McClinton says that at one point they yelled at Riccio so as to not blow his cover with the other men in the room. McClinton told Riccio that he would “crack his fucking head”. McClinton says OJ and Riccio were “acting” with one another. 

The property was on the bed, neatly arranged, and McClinton says he started yelling for the others to “bag this shit up.” McClinton says that Fromong and Beardsley didn’t bag the stuff up – Cashmore, Ehrlich and Alexander did. They used pillowcases from the pillows on the bed, and some stuff was already in boxes. 

McClinton says he saw one cell phone in the room – that Fromong had been talking on it when they entered and McClinton had ordered him to hang up. McClinton says OJ wanted Fromong to make contact with a Mike Gilbert and Fromong was trying to look through his numbers on the phone to find Mike Gilbert’s number. The phone was on the bed at some point and it got picked up when the memorabilia was scooped up. McClinton thinks that Alexander eventually ended up with it. 

McClinton agrees that at some point he made a comment to the effect of “Good thing we aren’t in LA, or you’d be laying on the floor.” He didn’t say it to anyone in particular, but no, no one was allowed to leave the room. And Yes, OJ was ranting and raving the entire time they were in the room. 

After the items were packed up McClinton says he was ready to leave. He told OJ “let’s get out of here  – let’s go”, but OJ was still yelling and screaming. Finally McClinton squeezed OJ’s arm and OJ got the hint to leave. 

They went tot eh parking lot and put the stuff in the back of Stewart’s vehicle. McClinton says one skinny box that Alexander had was put in the back of McClinton’s vehicle. They were going to go back to the Palms. 

McClinton says as they pulled up to the Palms there was another vehicle there waiting – it was a white Q56 Infinity. There was a white female and a white male in that vehicle. Most of the property was put in the back of this vehicle. 

When McClinton was outside of his vehicle at the Palms OJ was ranting and raving about a phone call he had gotten on the way to the Palms – he was telling everyone that the two men were going to call the cops and he was directing everyone that :”there were no guns”. 

McClinton and Alexander went back to McClinton’s house and changed They took the guns and wiped them off and put them back in the dresser. McClinton got his audio recorder and put it in his shirt pocket. McClinton and Alexander wanted to record him – McClinton says that Alexander wanted to sell the tape to the tabloids. McClinton says they weren’t going to try to get him to say anything specific – but that OJ just “talks anyway.” McClinton and Alexander then left for the Little Buddha restaurant at the Palms. 

McClinton says he turned on the recorder when he got to the Little Buddha and saw OJ approaching him. This recording he later gave to the detectives and it i\s an accurate representation of the tape he made that evening. 

The state then plays the tape. 

mcclinton-transcript

The next night there was a party at Stewart’s house and McClinton attended. He asked Stewart where the property was at and Stewart said it “was in a safe place.” 

Alexander wanted to leave so he brought him to the Airport. McClinton told Alexander to call him after he got his ticket – because Alexander was sure he was going to be arrested. He wanted to get his ticket online like he had always done, but the site wasn’t allowing him to and Alexander thought this was odd. Alexander never called McClinton, so McClinton got worried and called him. Alexander picked up his cell phone, said “The cops have me” and hung up. 

McClinton says that while he was in California visiting a friend the cops executed a search warrant at this house. McClinton says the cops called him on his cell phone and they wanted him to come back to the house McClinton told them that he was out of town. 

When he was driving back from California Stewart called him. He said that he had a lawyer for McClinton and asked McClinton to come to the lawyer’s office – although it was 1 o’clock in the morning, McClinton did. 

When he got to the attorney’s office Stewart, his lawyer and another lawyer were there. They told McClinton that they wanted “No Guns” to have been involved in the incident, and since McClinton knew that he had had a gun, he went and found his own attorney. 

McClinton says that he pled guilty to one count of robbery and 1 count of conspiracy to commit robbery. 

On the tape OJ mentions to McClinton “Did you pull your piece out in the hallway? They have cameras, you know.” And McClinton tells OJ “No, man, I didn’t have it out in the hall.” Roger asks McClinton what “the piece” means and McClinton says “My Gun.” 

With that, we are done for the week. 

To Sum Up: Don’t hire an attorney who wants you to meet him at his office at 1 am. He’s got to be shady; When you are in jail, don’t call your co-conspirators. They record that shit; Cell phone companies don’t keep police records – they only account for billable minutes.

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One Response to “NV vs Simpson – The Aggressive Gunman and a Jailhouse call”

  1. JayDee said

    You know, every time I hear that ‘mystery Lexus’ testimony I get the feeling we’re being told what happened to the knife back in ’94. In the current case, the following question arises: if you honestly believe you’re just taking back your own property, why are you making advance arrangements to hide the evidence? And why, specifically, did you make those arrangements with people unknown to the rest of the participants?

    Who’s gaming who here?

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