Simpson Defense Presses Drug Link A Detective Faced A Barrage Of Questions. The Judge Ruled The Defense Can See Some Fuhrman Files.

Posted: March 09, 1995

LOS ANGELES — O.J. Simpson's lead attorney suggested yesterday that Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman had received a "Colombian necklace" from drug dealers who slashed their throats in retribution for unpaid debts by Nicole's

drug-addict friend, Faye Resnick.

In a caustic assault on the lead investigator in the case, attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr. accused Detective Tom Lange of overlooking drugs as a motive for the June 12 murders, even after learning that Resnick had stayed briefly at

Nicole Simpson's condominium until entering drug rehabilitation four days before the killings.

"Have you ever heard of something called a Colombian necklace?" asked Cochran, who defined it as a brutal practice in which drug dealers "slice the neck of a victim, including the carotid artery," as a "payback for not having paid for drugs."

"I've heard that," said Lange.

"If Faye Resnick was free-basing cocaine on a daily basis at the Bundy location - so much so that she had to have a drug intervention by June 8 of 1994 - would that change your opinion about this possibly being a drug-related killing?" asked Cochran, who offered no proof for his hypothesis.

"If I were pursuing a drug-related homicide, that would probably come into play, yes," Lange said. "But I had nothing to lead me in that direction."

"You don't turn a blind eye on evidence just because it might point toward Mr. Simpson's innocence, do you?" Cochran pressed.

"Just the contrary," said Lange, who added pointedly: "Every bit of evidence that I have in this case points toward the defendant."

Questions about Resnick's alleged drug use were just one of many tacks Cochran took yesterday in trying to show that Lange and his colleagues had overlooked clues and mishandled evidence.

As Cochran confronted Lange with the now-familiar litany of mistakes, the usually unflappable detective grew testy during his seventh day on the stand.

"And you spelled out for us the other day that you do make mistakes, isn't that correct?" Cochran said.

"Just like everyone else, I certainly do," Lange said.

"We're not talking about everyone else right now. We're talking about you," Cochran said. "You make mistakes?"

"Mr. Cochran, I make mistakes, yes," Lange said icily.

Often repetitive, Cochran's grilling was occasionally comical, as when Lange explained police attempts to end an ice-cream controversy, one of the case's stickiest issues.

The defense has said detectives erred in not examining more closely a cup of ice cream found inside Nicole Simpson's condominium to determine whether it was fully melted when police arrived shortly after midnight - a possible factor in fixing the time of the murders.

When Lange revealed yesterday that police had recently conducted their own test on the melting rate of Ben & Jerry's cookie-dough ice cream, Cochran challenged their conclusions - contending that they had the wrong flavor.

"Did you find out at any point in the course of your investigation that the flavor purchased was Rain Forest Crunch - did you ever find that out?" Cochran said, citing as his authority an 8-year-old friend of the Simpson children.

Lange, in his just-the-facts monotone, said, "My information was one chocolate fudge and two cookie doughs."

On a more serious note, Cochran challenged Lange's assertion that Goldman had not put up much of a fight.

Cochran pointed out that Lange's conclusion differs with that of the county's pathologist, Irwin Golden, who testified in a preliminary hearing that cuts and bruises on Goldman's hands were signs of a struggle.

"You're not a doctor, right?" Cochran asked.

"Correct," Lange said.

Also yesterday, Judge Lance Ito ruled that Simpson's lawyers can review material from police investigations into whether Detective Mark Fuhrman could have planted a bloody glove behind Simpson's estate.

Ito said the defense may also review interviews conducted during a police probe into allegations that Fuhrman once commented on Nicole Simpson's breast enlargement.

The judge turned down a defense request to explore allegations that Fuhrman displayed Nazi paraphernalia at his desk. Ito said the item in question - a Los Angeles Times political cartoon depicting the fall of the Berlin Wall - had no bearing on allegations that Fuhrman is a racist.

Fuhrman is expected to follow Lange to the witness stand this week.

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