There was growing skepticism this weekend that a knife reportedly found at the former home of O.J. Simpson more than a decade ago had any major value in the infamous murder case.
The knife was supposedly found while crews were tearing down the Simpson estate in Brentwood after the property changed hands. But the owner of the company that did the demolition said none of his employees ever found a knife.
“I think it’s a joke. I think it’s just filler … no one on my crew found anything” said Mike Weber, 70. “I had instructed my people, ‘If you find anything, don’t keep it. Tell me, we'll take the appropriate action.’ ”
A retired Los Angeles police officer who was given a knife found by the construction worker called the Los Angeles Police Department to report it years ago, his attorney said Friday.
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When the department showed no interest, retired Officer George Maycott put it in his toolbox, where it sat for more than a decade, attorney Trent Copeland said.
“He thought it had no evidentiary value,” the attorney said.
The LAPD is investigating whether the knife is tied to the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman and is conducting a forensic examination. Department officials say that at this stage, they have nothing to tie the knife to the slayings.
Copeland said Maycott, who retired in 1998, was working as a security guard on a movie set in 2003 when a construction worker at the demolished estate handed him the knife.
“Hey look, I found this knife on what I think is O.J. Simpson’s property,” the worker said, according to Copeland, recounting Maycott’s recollection of the encounter. “It is dirty, muddy and rusted out, but do you guys want it?”
Copeland said that within moments of receiving the knife, Maycott called the LAPD’s West L.A. Traffic Division.
The attorney said his client was put on hold and later told that the Simpson case was over. He was told, “O.J. Simpson has been acquitted, and there is double jeopardy … there is nothing we can do.”
Copeland said his client feels the LAPD is being dragged through the mud.
“He also doesn’t want to be portrayed as the villain here, as the bumbling cop who had evidence here and did not do anything with it … . He did ask what he should do with that knife.”
Los Angeles police said the department was now testing the knife for DNA evidence and also trying to sort out the bizarre chain of events that brought the knife into their possession.
Earlier this year, Maycott contacted someone at the department to get the Simpson case number. He told the person that he was in possession of the knife.
Law enforcement sources said a preliminary review suggested that the weapon appeared to be unconnected to the brutal 1994 slayings.
Simpson was charged in the deaths but was found not guilty by a jury. Prosecutors never introduced a murder weapon into evidence, and there has been two decades of speculation about the knife used.
Weber and others involved with Simpson and his former estate in Brentwood said they doubt the knife will be of value.
Weber’s crew was at the site for six weeks tearing down the home and reworking the ground, but work was being done at the property for at least two years as a new home was built, he said.
When he was there, Weber said the scene around the North Rockingham Avenue home was a bit of a circus.
“When I was going to work I had my two children. I wanted them to be a little part of history. There was enormous attention. I was being interviewed by (radio station) KNX while I was driving to work,” Weber said. “A lot of people wanted me to sell them a piece of the home. I wouldn’t personally allow it. That’s blood money.”
Ever since the knife news broke Friday morning, Weber said he’s been getting emails from friends with links to online stories, some recalling how he told the media back in 1998 that he would look for the weapon.
“Jokingly, I said I was looking for the knife. And that’s not just being flippant. We never found it.”