O.j. Trial Rocked By Drama Potential Juror Tells How He Fought Urge To Commit Murder

Posted: November 01, 1994

LOS ANGELES — A prospective juror in the O.J. Simpson murder case wept yesterday as he revealed how close he came to killing a fellow soldier during the Korean War.

"I have had a very personal and dynamic experience with the will to commit murder," the man volunteered under questioning by Superior Court Judge Lance Ito. "I know what powers can be brought to play."

Asked to explain, he said with his voice trembling: "It's a very strong, emotional experience, and I may not be able to get through it."

At the judge's urging, the man wiped his eyes and launched into perhaps the most dramatic story told yet during the exceedingly personal questioning of prospective Simpson jurors.

The 61-year-old sheet-metal worker said he was serving in the Army during the Korean War and endured "a year of harassment" from a fellow soldier.

"Then there was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back," he said. "There was great anger and fear. I wanted to kill this man."

One night, as he stood guard duty outside the barracks where the man slept, he removed his gun from his shoulder, placed a finger on the trigger and contemplated shooting into the barracks to scare him out into the open so he could shoot him.

"But I thought, 'The minute I pull this trigger, I will be out of control,' " he said. "There were 32 men sleeping in that building. I had two 15-round magnums."

His voice broke and he began to cry. "It took all my strength, physical, emotional and spiritual, just to take my finger off the trigger."

Simpson watched with rapt attention in the silent courtroom.

The judge and lawyers conferred at the bench and agreed to dismiss the man. Ito thanked him for his candor.

At day's end, five people were questioned and kept, four were quizzed and dismissed and the final prospect was told to return for more questioning tomorrow. In all, 42 people from the first wave of roughly 84 prospects remain in the jury pool.

Ito planned to give lawyers the day off today to consider their choices, then let them begin exercising peremptory challenges tomorrow.

Peremptory challenges enable attorneys to remove any prospect without stating a reason. But they can't dismiss someone solely because of race or gender.

Twelve jurors and eight alternates will be selected to hear the case against Simpson, 47, who is on trial in the June 12 slayings of his ex-wife

Nicole Brown Simpson, 35, and her friend Ronald Goldman, 25.

In one of his strongest indications yet that he intends to sequester the jury, Ito told one prospective juror who complained about the prospect of being confined to a hotel for several months that he has a law clerk working full time researching possible recreational activities.

In other developments:

* Deputy District Attorney William Hodgman disclosed that his office received a tip that a prospective juror who already has been through the first round of questioning gave opinions about the case at work. The call came from someone who said the prospective juror was a co-worker. The judge said he would take up the matter tomorrow.

* Simpson suffered an attack of intestinal problems over the weekend, his attorney said. The judge inquired how he was feeling yesterday morning and Simpson replied: "Pretty good."

WHAT'S NEXT

THIS WEEK

Jury selection continues.

NEXT WEEK

Camera-ban hearing and Bronco evidence ruling on Nov. 7.

LATER THIS MONTH

DNA evidence hearing follows jury selection.

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