Advertisement

Judge Excuses Simpson Juror No. 32 From Case : Courts: The Pasadena woman sought dismissal because of ‘undue attention’ over number that matched the one the defendant wore as a football player.

Share
TIMES STAFF WRITER

The potential juror who drew O.J. Simpson’s old football jersey number last month--to the delight of the former athlete--decided she did not want the publicity and asked Monday to be excused from serving during Simpson’s double-murder case.

Superior Court Judge Lance A. Ito gave the 31-year-old Pasadena resident time to reconsider, but finally honored her request.

The woman, an engineering researcher whose name never has been made public, told Ito she wanted out because “there is undue attention being drawn to me because of my juror number.”

Advertisement

She later complained to reporters about a “Saturday Night Live” skit in which an Ito character winks at Juror No. 32. Family members and co-workers had badgered her about the identity of that juror, she said.

The woman also objected to the release of extensive questionnaires that prospective jurors filled out on their attitudes about such things as race, crime and the specifics of the Simpson case.

“The media ruined it,” she said. “There are some things in my life that are private.”

Simpson wore jersey number 32 throughout his celebrated football career with USC, the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers. The first potential juror to undergo initial screening last month was Juror No. 32, a coincidence that led Ito to remark about an “omen” and Simpson to nod vigorously in agreement. On Monday, Ito said he would “retire” 32 as a number to identify potential jurors, jurors or alternates in the case.

Simpson has pleaded not guilty to the June 12 slayings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Lyle Goldman.

Voir dire, or oral questioning of potential jurors, began last week and is expected to last at least a month.

In other developments Monday:

* Ito postponed a decision on whether to sanction the prosecution for taking too long to send samples to scientific laboratories for DNA testing, depriving the defense of information in preparing its case.

Advertisement

* Cathy Randa, Simpson’s longtime assistant, spent three hours before a grand jury, which was said earlier this month to have stopped taking testimony as part of an investigation of Simpson’s friend Al Cowlings. Randa’s lawyer accused prosecutors of harassing her.

* A shelter for battered women and children issued a “challenge” to the public to boycott Halloween costumes depicting Simpson or his ex-wife.

Simpson masks and blood-splattered football jerseys have become hot sellers at costume stores as well as blond wigs for women who want to dress up as Nicole Simpson.

The statement released Monday includes a quote attributed to the dead woman’s sister that describes such costumes as having “no redeeming value for our society.

“Murder and domestic violence is no laughing matter,” Denise Brown is quoted as saying.

Simpson in 1989 pleaded no contest to misdemeanor spousal abuse. Most of the members of the jury pool have indicated that they are aware of a taped call his ex-wife made to 911 in 1993 in which she said he had kicked in her door.

In court Monday, questions about domestic violence emerged again in the inquiries made of prospective jurors and led to the loss of one of them.

Advertisement

A 41-year-old Norwalk woman was excused after she said being in the courtroom “brought back past memories” of the 12 years of domestic violence she suffered.

“I can tell from the tone of your voice you are very sincere,” Ito told her before excusing her.

Voir dire is expected to continue today.

Advertisement