The Los Angeles Police Department says it's investigating whether a knife, allegedly found buried on O.J. Simpson's former Brentwood, California, property, could be the missing murder weapon in the 1994 double homicide of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman.
LAPD Capt. Andrew Neiman told reporters there's still a lot the LAPD doesn't know for sure.
They haven't yet confirmed that the knife actually came from Simpson's property, which is what TMZ reported and what the man who turned over the knife claimed.
Neiman also declined to describe the knife, which TMZ reported as a folding buck knife. He said investigators still need to determine whether it's real evidence or a "facsimile or a made-up story." (Given the renewed interest that the TV series The People v. O.J. Simpson has sparked in the case, it's not the most far-fetched idea in the world that somebody might make this up.)
Neiman did confirm that the knife was turned over by an LAPD traffic cop who retired in the late 1990s. That now-retired officer says he got the knife from a construction worker who was doing demolition on Simpson's former house on Rockingham Avenue. The worker allegedly found the buried knife and turned it over to the officer, who was working on a movie set. This incident might have happened as early as 1998, TMZ reported; it's not clear.
But that officer didn't turn over the knife to homicide investigators. The officer was either off duty or retired at the time — it's not clear which, Neiman said.
Either way, the officer apparently kept the knife for years. He may not have known that the murder case was still open even though Simpson had been acquitted, and that new evidence would actually be important.
He told a friend in the LAPD that he planned to frame the knife and engrave it with the record number for the Nicole Brown/Ron Goldman murder case. That friend told superiors, who urged the retired officer to turn over the knife.
Simpson is already serving a 33-year prison sentence in Nevada for armed robbery and kidnapping. He can't be tried again for the double homicide in a criminal trial since he's already been acquitted — although he did have to pay $25 million to the Goldman family in a civil suit.
The murder weapon was never found. A knife Simpson owned was suspected to be the weapon, but it was determined that knife had never been used. If this knife actually turns out to be the murder weapon, it could close the murder case and give the victims' families peace of mind.