Five years after the publication (well, self-publication) of his book O.J. Is Guilty, but Not of Murder, local private detective Bill Dear is moving his search for Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman's killers to the big screen. On March 27 at the Angelika Film Center, 275 locals handpicked by Dear will take a sneak peek at a rough-cut of Dear's two-hour documentary called The Overlooked Suspect: The Murders of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman. "We're looking for feedback," says Dear, who has submitted the documentary to the Los Angeles Film Festival (which takes place this June--where else?--in Brentwood) and the Toronto International Film Festival.
Produced by Dear and Phil Smith Productions, a corporate video company based in Southlake, the doc brings together the results of Dear's obsession for the last 12 years: finding out who really killed O.J. Simpson's wife Nicole and Mezzaluna waiter Ron Goldman on June 12, 1994. The flamboyant P.I. claims to have "shocking and unbelievable, but true" new evidence implicating Jason Simpson, O.J. Simpson's son from his first marriage, in the slayings. Dear claims to have spent $1 million proving that Jason, who was a 24-year-old chef with a troubled mental and emotional history at the time of the murders, committed the crimes and that O.J. covered it up to protect his son. A BBC documentary, O.J.: The Untold Story,was based on Dear's gumshoe work.
Now 31, Jason Simpson recently married and is living with his father near Miami, Dear says. He has had no comment when contacted by journalists regarding Dear's allegations. "I would love for him to sue me," Dear says. "Then I could take his deposition."
For junkies of true-crime stories, Dear's book offered lots of intriguing information but no proof. One Los Angeles police report alleged that 18 months before the murders, Jason had attacked a boss with a knife and assaulted several girlfriends. He'd tried to commit suicide several times by drug overdose or self-inflicted stab wounds. Psychiatric records Dear obtained indicated Jason suffered from a "rage disorder." And he carried to and from work a set of chef's knives. But according to a deposition Jason gave in the civil case against his father, police never questioned him.
Dear says Jason was never taken seriously as a suspect because police believed he had an air-tight alibi: He had been preparing food in an open kitchen in front of several hundred paying guests at a Beverly Drive restaurant, left work at 11 p.m., then watched TV with his girlfriend. Dear says he's now punctured that alibi. He bought Jason's Jeep to search for blood drops and obtained a treasure trove of material that surfaced from a storage unit Jason had rented until he failed to pay the bill.
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"I have Jason's diaries and his forged time cards," Dear says. He hopes to present new evidence to an L.A. grand jury after the film is released. Of course, this raises the question: Is O.J. still offering that reward for information leading to the conviction of the real killer? —Glenna Whitley