O.J. Confidential

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Los Angeles Police Department homicide Detective Vic Pietrantoni, now assigned to the Simpson-Goldman case, says he's received a copy of Dear's book but has not yet read it. "A lot of folks around the country have opinions about what happened that night," he says, "but we feel we did a thorough investigation and that we have the right suspect. But, yes, my mind's always open."

Dear's foremost question focuses on motive. Why should Jason Simpson be considered a suspect in the murder of a former stepmother he cared for and a waiter whose only apparent reason for being at her home that Sunday night was to deliver a pair of eyeglasses left behind by Nicole's mother?

The young Simpson apparently had been close to Nicole. It was, Dear writes, Jason who often volunteered to take Nicole, who loved to dance, to local clubs when his father begged off. According to Dear, Jason and Nicole had remained good friends even after her breakup with O.J.

But, Dear says, she had embarrassed him on the day before she died.

"You'll remember that the family was to attend a school dance recital that afternoon," Dear says. "Jason wasn't going to be able to attend because he was scheduled to work. He'd talked to Nicole about it, suggesting they all come to Jackson's Restaurant for dinner afterwards. She'd agreed that it was a good idea."

Jason, Dear says, was excited about the prospect of demonstrating his cooking talents for Nicole and her family. He'd made reservations and even bragged to fellow employees that they would be stopping in for dinner, according to fellow workers who spoke to Dear. At the last minute, however, Nicole had phoned to say they had decided to go to Mezzaluna, a less expensive neighborhood restaurant, instead.

In the book, Dear suggests the possibility that Jason, angered and embarrassed over being stood up, drove to Nicole's condo after dropping his girlfriend off at her apartment. Perhaps, he writes, there was a confrontation during which the young Simpson's rage boiled over. Maybe Goldman arrived just as that rage, no longer held in check by doses of Depakote, peaked. End result: two people dead.

Taking his theory a step further, Dear suggests the possibility that Jason, frightened by the realization of what has occurred, places a call to his father to tell him what had happened. O.J. rushes to the Bundy Drive address and sees that there is nothing he can do--but try to protect his son.

Even the controversial DNA evidence presented at O.J. Simpson's criminal trial comes into question in Dear's book. The blood chemistry of fathers and siblings, he points out, have similar genetic characteristics. And, what of the footprints allegedly left by shoes favored by O.J.? Writes Dear, "O.J. and Jason have approximately the same size feet. Jason also had access to O.J.'s clothes closets and was known to have taken items of clothing from his dad at will."

Once his investigation was completed, Dear took his case to experts. Skeptical at first, they agreed after reviewing the P.I.'s findings, that Jason Simpson should, in fact, have been considered a suspect. Among them was James Cron, former commander of the Dallas County Sheriff's crime scene unit. "I'd say that everything Dear uncovered would certainly make one question why Jason Simpson was not eliminated as a suspect," he says. "That's just standard procedure."

Well-known British crime scene experts Terry Merston and Peter Harpur reviewed Dear's findings and concluded that O.J. Simpson was not the killer of his ex-wife and Goldman but was likely at the crime scene at some time after the murders. Additionally, their 24-page analysis concluded that the stab wounds on the victims were more likely to have been inflicted by a sharp knife with a single-edged smooth blade rather than the long-bladed, double-edged stiletto supposedly owned by O.J. Simpson and described by the prosecution as the murder weapon.

Several psychologists who reviewed Dear's evidence concluded that Jason Simpson should have been considered a suspect. Wrote one, "After reviewing all of the history of suicide attempts, failed relationships in which isolation and moods of violence and dependency were interwoven, it seems more and more likely that Jason psychologically could have been a very reasonable suspect in the murders."

Among the material Dear asked doctors to review was what he refers to as the "Dear Jason" letter.

During a four-month period during which the investigator tracked Simpson's movements, a weekly routine of checking the contents of the young man's trash developed. Among the items collected were numerous liquor bottles, empty prescription bottles--and, on one late Tuesday night, a wadded page from a three-ring notebook. "At first," Dear says, "it looked like a letter that had been written to Jason, then marked over by a series of lines and circles." It took him hours to decipher the block-letter writing beneath the scribbles.

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Carlton Stowers
Contact: Carlton Stowers