Joseph Bosco, a freelance crime writer who secured one of the few permanent seats at the O.J. Simpson criminal trial and turned his observations into a nonfiction book about the murder case, has died. He was 61.
Bosco died of natural causes July 8 in Beijing, where he had been living and working for the last several years, according to his son, Joe Bosco. He had been in poor health, his son said.
“A Problem of Evidence: How the Prosecution Freed O.J. Simpson” (William Morrow) was Bosco’s account of the 1995 trial of the former football star accused of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman.
The writer became a familiar courtroom character during the televised proceedings in downtown Los Angeles, which ended after nine months with Simpson’s acquittal on Oct. 3, 1995. Along with other book authors Dominick Dunne and Jeffrey Toobin, Bosco often could be seen near the front of the courtroom audience, wearing a brace after he broke his neck diving into the shallow end of a swimming pool.
In August 1995, Bosco, who was covering the trial for Penthouse magazine while gathering material for the book, became a minor participant when he was subpoenaed by the Simpson defense to reveal the source for a magazine article. Threatened with jail, Bosco took the stand and invoked the California journalists’ shield law. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Lance A. Ito eventually ruled that Bosco did not have to give up his source.
It was not the first time Bosco had sought protection from a shield law. After writing “Blood Will Tell: A True Story of Deadly Lust in New Orleans,” a 1993 nonfiction account of a Louisiana murder case, he received a subpoena to give up tapes of confidential interviews. He successfully challenged that order after a long battle.
Among his other books was 1990’s “The Boys Who Would Be Cubs: A Year in the Heart of Baseball’s Minor Leagues,” a behind-the scenes chronicle of the Peoria Chiefs, one of the Chicago Cubs’ farm teams that was managed by future big league skipper Jim Tracy.
Bosco was born Aug. 30, 1948, in Biloxi, Miss., and lived much of his life in New Orleans. He earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1972 and a master’s in fine arts at the University of New Orleans in 1976. He held a string of odd jobs before becoming a full-time writer in 1984.
Bosco had moved to China in 2002 to teach at Xiamen University and later was a journalism professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University.
In addition to his son, Bosco is survived by a sister, Sylvia Bosco of Ocean Springs, Miss.