An FBI expert Friday painstakingly worked to braid a handful of hairs and fibers into the delicate final links in a chain of circumstantial evidence linking O.J. Simpson to the killing of his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.
Graphically compelling and more readily comprehensible than the DNA evidence that has consumed much of the prosecutors' case, the pattern of so-called trace evidence prosecutor Marcia Clark laid out was among the most damaging yet presented against the former football star.
Testimony by Special Agent Doug Deedrick, who heads the hair and fiber unit of the bureau's Washington, D.C., crime lab, was closely followed by the jurors. They peered intently at the agent's charts, which displayed strands of hair magnified to 250 times their actual size.
Deedrick testified for less than three hours Friday. But the soft-spoken FBI agent presented findings that appeared to tie Simpson more closely to the killings than ever. Among the most telling of his conclusions were:
That the blue knit watch cap found near the feet of Goldman's body bore numerous hairs that "exhibit the same microscopic characteristics" as those contained in a so-called "reference sample" taken from Simpson's head. Nine of the hairs were found inside the cap; two were recovered from the outside. Deedrick said the large number of hairs inside the cap suggested that Simpson had worn it.
A single hair closely resembling Simpson's was found on Goldman's shirt, and Deedrick testified that it probably was deposited there through direct contact.
Thirty-five hairs that had been "forcibly removed" and were similar to Nicole Brown Simpson's were found on Goldman's shirt and similar fragments were found on his pants.
Finally, Deedrick said a 12-inch hair with the same microscopic characteristics as those of Nicole Simpson was found on the bloody glove discovered on the grounds of Simpson's Brentwood estate. When Clark asked whether the hair had been "naturally shed or forcibly removed," Deedrick described it as "cut and torn."