A chance conversation at the Los Angeles Police Academy sparked an investigation into a knife found years ago on the property of O.J. Simpson, according to an attorney for the former officer who turned the weapon in.
The knife is now being tested by authorities. The attorney said in an interview this week the rusty 5-inch fixed blade with no serrated edge does not fit the description of the weapon used in the slayings of Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman.
Trent Copeland, attorney for retired officer George Maycott, said it was "never his intention to get attention" and it was pure chance that his client came across the knife inside a toolbox when he was clearing out items during a move.
"It is a knife that could do damage," Copeland said, "but it doesn't appear to have the characteristics of the knife used in this case."
The knife has brought a frenzy of new speculation surrounding the 1994 killings but also deep skepticism in some quarters over whether it's just one more fruitless lead in the case.
Several sources familiar with the current investigation into the weapon say they are skeptical of the knife. The LAPD is nonetheless conducting a forensic examination, including checking for DNA. Copeland said he doubts given the knife's condition that much biological evidence will be found, although his client never cleaned or used the knife. "It was many, many years after the murders," Copeland said.
The attorney said speculation about the knife has been crazy, especially given the timing with the FX TV series "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" and suggestions the knife is somehow related.
Maycott, who retired in 1998 and was working a movie set in 2003 near Simpson's former Rockingham estate when a construction worker approached him and handed him the knife, saying it was from the grounds of the old Simpson home, according to Copeland.
Copeland said Maycott did not get the man's name or details of the find but did call the West L.A. Traffic Division to see what to do with the knife. After a few conversations with LAPD staff, he was informed that Simpson had been acquitted of the double murder and the knife would be of no use moving forward.
Maycott didn't think about the knife again until recently coming across it while cleaning, Copeland said. As a joke, the former officer decided to get an evidence tag with the police report number for it, Copeland added.
While buying a holster at the Police Academy, he mentioned the knife to a former colleague, asking whether he could get the evidence number for the Simpson case, Copeland said.
That buddy told another person, who, in turn, informed robbery-homicide detectives.
Investigators took possession of the weapon Feb. 10. Copeland said his client has not heard anything from the LAPD.
"He has not cleaned it. It is dirty and rusty, and debris has fallen off it," Copeland said.
The attorney said he was hired after the LAPD indicated the potential for legal action against the former officer.