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Kato: Couldn't corroborate O.J.'s alibi

By
TERRI VERMEULEN

LOS ANGELES, March 22 -- O.J. Simpson's former house guest, Brian 'Kato' Kaelin, testified Wednesday that he told Simpson the day after his ex-wife and her friend were slain that he could not corroborate the football legend's alibi. In his second day of testimony, Kaelin said he and Simpson were watching a television news report June 13 when Simpson suggested that Kaelin could confirm that Simpson was in his house during the time of the double slaying the day before. 'He said, 'No, Kato knows I was in the house,' Kaelin said, referring to the news report. 'That was it. 'Kato, you know I was in the house.'' Kaelin said he responded that he 'didn't see him go in the house' after the two got back from a McDonald's restaurant about 9:40 p.m. last June 12, 35 minutes before, prosecutors contend, Nicole Brown Simpson, 35, and Ronald Goldman, 25, were stabbed and slashed to death outside her Brentwood condominium. After returning from the restaurant, Kaelin said he went to the guest room at the football Hall-of-Famer's Brentwood mansion without seeing Simpson go into the house. Simpson, 47, is on trial in Superior Court on two counts of first- degree murder for the killings and could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted. Prosecutors contend Nicole Simpson and Goldman were slain about 10:15 p.m., and they say Simpson had no concrete alibi for the time period. Simpson's attorneys have contended that he was trying to reach his girlfriend, Paula Barbieri, on a cellular phone in his Ford Bronco and practicing golf shots in his yard about the time the killings occurred 2 miles away.

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A limousine driver testified last year that Simpson told him he had overslept and had been in the shower in his house. One of the most colorful witnesses so far in the trial, Kaelin appeared far more subdued than during his first day of testimony Tuesday. Kaelin denied telling a friend, Grant Cramer, that Simpson told him, 'Oh, thank god, you can tell them I was home all the time.' Under questioning by prosecutor Marcia Clark, Kaelin testified that he may have talked several times with Simpson and Simpson's then- attorney, Howard Weitzman, on the telephone after being interviewed at length by police. He said the two told him to 'tell the truth.' Kaelin acknowledged that Simpson may have asked him to come back to his Brentwood mansion, where Simpson discussed how he believed Kaelin could corroborate his alibi. Prosecutors used Kaelin's testimony to try to set up the last time Simpson was seen and show that Simpson had time to commit the killings. Kaelin testified that he saw Simpson between 9:35 and 9:40 p.m. as he stood at the door of his luxury Bentley car after the two went to McDonald's to pick up some fast food. Simpson had eaten as he drove home, and said he would not likely have time for a nap before he left for Chicago, Kaelin said. Kaelin said he heard three thumps on the wall of his guest house about 10:40 p.m. while talking to a friend on the phone. Kaelin, who thumped his fist on the witness stand three times to demonstrate what he had heard, said he initially believed it was an earthquake, but became alarmed 'there was someone back there' upon learning there hadn't been a quake. Kaelin said he went outside and explored the grounds twice to try to determine what caused the noise, but did not go far because he had a small flashlight and was scared. Simpson initially agreed to try to help him investigate what had caused the sound, but changed his mind when he realized what time it was, Kaelin said. He said he spent about five minutes talking with Simpson, and Simpson left for the airport about 11:15 p.m. Police detective Mark Fuhrman has testified that he found a blood- stained right-handed glove -- a crucial piece of evidence -- the following morning near an air conditioning unit protruding from the outside wall of Kaelin's room. The glove matched a left-handed glove found at the murder scene. Kaelin also said he saw blood spots on the foyer of Simpson's home in the morning of June 13, apparently calling into questions the defense's theory that police may have sprinkled a portion of Simpson's blood sample, taken that afternoon, to implicate him in the killings. Under intense questioning by Clark, Kaelin acknowledged that Simpson appeared to be in a rush and was 'frazzled to get in the car.' He denied telling anyone, however, that Simpson was more frazzled and nervous than he had ever seen him before. Kaelin also acknowledged that Simpson 'could have been upset and angry' when he told Kaelin earlier that he 'wanted a white picket fence with a family, but it was over (with Nicole Simpson) and he wasn't sure about (his girlfriend) Paula (Barbieri), if she was the one.' Kaelin said Simpson had told him that night that his ex-wife didn't want to let him talk to their daughter, Sydney, at a dance recital hours before Nicole Simpson and Goldman were slain. Other prosecution witnesses have said the former football hero appeared to be 'simmering' and staring at his former wife during the recital. Kaelin said Simpson seemed upset when he remarked that his ex-wife and her friends were 'wearing tight outfits (at the recital) and he wondered if they could be grandmas and wear those outfits out.' Kaelin's testimony also raised questions about a dark-colored knapsack he saw near Simpson's Bentley the night of the killings. Kaelin said he offered to put the bag in a limousine waiting for Simpson, but Simpson told him that he would pick up the bag himself. Prosecutors have not yet said whether they have been able to account for the knapsack. During questioning by Clark, the aspiring actor cracked several jokes, amusing the normally stone-faced jury. Simpson also appeared entertained by Kaelin. When Clark asked if Simpson seemed 'real excited' when Kaelin asked to accompany him to McDonald's, Kaelin responded, 'Wouldn't you?' In another instance, Clark asked how Nicole Simpson's Akita, Kato, got over to Simpson's estate during its occasional visits there. 'Did it come over by itself?' Clark asked Kaelin. 'It drove,' Kaelin said. The famed house guest said he has gotten more acting jobs since the murders than in the previous decade, during which he was not very successful. Kaelin said he still hopes for a career. Kaelin acknowledged that he remains Simpson's friend, but said, 'I know my job is to be 100 percent honest and that's what I'm going to do. '

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