O.J. Confidential
High-profile P.I. Bill Dear believes he knows who killed Nicole Simpson. It's
not who you think.
By Carlton Stowers

It was a Friday in June 1994, and Dallas private investigator Bill Dear,
dapper as ever in his three-piece suit, monogrammed shirt and alligator
boots, had completed his speech to the National Conference of Investigative
Reporters and Editors and remained in the St. Louis Convention Center to
answer questions.On that day, however, attending journalists seemed less
interested in his litany of recollections of high-profile cases he'd worked
during a colorful, sometimes controversial, three-decade career. Never mind
his investigations that had been spun into nonfiction books; solving the
murder of an Ohio millionaire, tracking down a missing 16-year-old genius and
an abducted 5-year-old girl; the tales of dangers faced and bad guys put
behind bars; the staff of assistants he employed who helped him sleuth around
the world; the bigger-than-life persona that Dear had long perpetuated as
"the real Sherlock Holmes." The topic of the day, clearly, was a crime that
had occurred thousands of miles away in an upscale California residential
area known as Brentwood. There, in the realm of Los Angeles' rich and famous,
the slain bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman had been found. The
savage murders that had occurred in the doorway of Nicole Simpson's Bundy
Drive condo only five days earlier had been locked onto the front pages of
newspapers throughout the world and were an around-the-clock concern of the
electronic media. The prime suspect: the murdered woman's ex-husband, O.J.
Simpson, Heisman Trophy winner, NFL Hall of Famer, movie star and pitchman.
What, the famed P.I. was asked, did he think about the case? "I told them
what I believed to be true, based on what I'd heard and read," Dear says.
"O.J.'s blood was found at the Bundy crime scene. Nicole's blood was at
Simpson's home on Rockingham. Ron Goldman's blood was in Simpson's Ford
Bronco. This, I said, looked exactly like what it was: O.J. was guilty." It
was later, as he stood in the convention center lobby, that Dear noticed a
strange look on his son Michael's face. Having accompanied his father on the
trip, the young man had sat in on the question-and-answer session. "You've
never done that before," he finally said. "I didn't have to ask what he
meant," the elder Dear recalls. He had, in a from-the-hip reply to a
reporter's question, joined the nationwide chorus that was proclaiming O.J.
Simpson guilty even before the investigation was complete. The credo he had
sworn to throughout his career--never assume, always verify--had been
violated. Three weeks after the murders--after watching the live coverage of
the bizarre slow-speed chase along a Los Angeles freeway that finally ended
in Simpson's arrest, after reading and re-reading every news report he could
lay hands on, after filling a legal pad with questions he wished
answered--Dear was on a plane to Los Angeles. Though he had been talking of
slowing the frantic pace of his career and moving into semiretirement, he was
off on what would turn into a six-year odyssey. It became, he admits, an
obsession. Working independently, without assistance from Los Angeles law
enforcement or the "dream team" of lawyers assembled to defend Simpson, Dear
went in search of a truth he was convinced had not yet surfaced. Unlike many,
he saw reason to doubt that O.J. was, in fact, guilty of what was being
called the Crime of the Century, many questions that to him weren't
answered:··· If the crime scene had been the horrific bloodbath described by
media reports, why was it that such small amounts of blood were found in
Simpson's Bronco? ·· ·If he had made his getaway from Nicole's condo and
driven directly home to make certain he caught a scheduled late-night flight
to Chicago, didn't it stand to reason that there would have been blood on the
vehicle's gas pedal, brake or steering wheel? ·· ·Why, in the wall-to-wall
beige carpeting inside Simpson's home, was there no blood left by a man who,
just minutes earlier, had stabbed and killed two people? ·· ·In a limited
time frame, how had he disposed of bloody clothing? And, assuming he'd done
so, why would he have overlooked the pair of socks later found in his bedroom
with a single droplet of blood on them? And what of the murder weapon? ··
·Why, after what authorities assumed was a violent struggle with victim
Goldman, did Simpson have no bruises or scratches except for a small cut on
the knuckle of one finger? And if the finger had, in fact, been injured
during the murders, why was it that there was no cut on either of the gloves
Simpson was supposed to have worn? ·· ·Then, the most troubling question of
all: If Simpson was wrongly accused, who else might have committed the
horrific crimes?Today, after dozens of trips to California, visits with
world-renowned forensic specialists in the United States and Europe,
interviews with people who the Los Angeles Police Department and the L.A.
County District Attorney's Office showed little or no interest in and reviews
of previously uncovered medical records, Dear is convinced there is a strong
suspect who was never considered. "What I initially set out to do," he says,
"was make the list of people who were considered among the inner
circle--family and friends of O.J., Nicole and Ron Goldman--and see who could
be eliminated." In time, all but one was. In his recently self-published book
, O.J. Is Guilty, but Not of Murder
, Dear presents a case that O.J.'s
troubled son, Jason, 24 at the time of the murders, should have been viewed
as a prime suspect. (The Dallas Observer has not attempted to investigate
Dear's theory, other than to verify statements of fact.) "I'm not accusing
him of murder," Dear says, "but this is a man with a history of mental
problems, a man who was seen carrying a set of sharp chef's knives on the
night of the murders." He is also, Dear says, someone who lied about his
whereabouts at the time of the crime. "At the very least," Dear says, "he
should have been questioned."
Dear says today that Jason Lamar Simpson was apparently never interviewed by
investigators. As proof, Dear pulls a copy of a deposition given by Jason
prior to the 1996 civil trial in which his father was found responsible for
the crimes. In response to questions from attorney Daniel Petrocelli about
his ever being questioned about the murders by the LAPD or the district
attorney's office, the young Simpson's answers were "No."That is but one of
many things Dear found troubling as his investigation progressed. Why was it,
he asks, that unidentified fingerprints discovered in Nicole's condo were
compared to 15 others, yet there was never any attempt to match them to
Jason? To satisfy his curiosity, Dear has requested copies of all
fingerprints taken at the crime scene. "My investigation," he writes,
"uncovered the fact that the day after the murders...O.J. retained a
high-profile criminal defense attorney who specialized in death penalty
murder cases to represent Jason Simpson. Why would he hire a criminal
attorney to represent Jason, who was not even a suspect at the time?" The
police, Dear says, had, from the outset of their investigation, been
convinced that Jason had an alibi for the time--shortly after 10:15
p.m.--when the murders were committed. Jason Simpson was a chef at a trendy
Beverly Hills restaurant called Jackson's, and he had allegedly worked until
11 p.m., then was picked up by a girlfriend who was driving his Jeep. They
had gone directly to her apartment to watch a movie on television. However,
when Dear located the girlfriend and interviewed her, she told a different
story. Because business had been slow that evening, she said, Jason had
closed the kitchen early and left work at 9:45. According to her account,
Jason had left her place at approximately 11 p.m. Then, in his civil
deposition, Jason provided yet another version: He indicated that he left the
restaurant between 10 and 10:30 p.m., drove his girlfriend to her apartment,
kissed her good night in the Jeep, then went directly home where he watched
TV alone until three in the morning. "All three versions," Dear says, "can't
be right." One thing that is consistent in each version, however, is that
Simpson did have his set of chef's knives with him when he left the
restaurant. Why, Dear asks, did those assigned to the case not bother to
check Jason Simpson's background? "If someone had done so," he says, "it
would certainly have raised some red flags." In his 339-page book, copies of
which he recently sent to the California Attorney General's Office, the Los
Angeles County district attorney and the Los Angeles Police Department, Dear
offers evidence that the young Simpson was on probation for aggravated
assault at the time of the Bundy Drive murders, having attacked a former
employer. Medical records obtained by Dear list a lengthy history of mental
problems, suicide attempts and excessive use of drugs and alcohol. On at
least two occasions, Jason Simpson, diagnosed by his doctor as suffering an
intermittent rage disorder that was being controlled by the drug Depakote,
had physically assaulted ex-girlfriends. One, who Dear quotes at length,
described Simpson as being gentle and loving at one moment, then angry and
out of control the next. In the book, she describes one of many violent
incidents that occurred between them: "He [Jason] grabbed me and pinned me
down on the bathroom floor. Then he grabbed for my braids. He started
whacking off my hair with his chef's knife." Several times, she told the
private investigator, Simpson had attempted suicide. On one occasion, she
recalled, he had broken a plate-glass window, had picked up one of the shards
and began slashing at his wrists. "He was yelling, 'See what I'm going to do?
I'm going to kill myself.' It was all so crazy. He was acting like a madman,
somebody else, somebody I didn't know." The violence and anger, she told
Dear, generally occurred when Simpson was not taking his medication. She said
that she had seen Jason two months before the murders occurred, and he had
told her he was no longer taking the Depakote. "I asked him," Dear quotes her
as saying, "and he told me, 'No, that medication was fucking me up in the
head. I'm not taking that shit anymore.'" As one forensic psychologist who
reviewed Dear's findings stated in Dear's book, Jason Simpson was, at the
time of the Bundy murders, "a walking time bomb." Attempts to contact Simpson
through his attorney and a former employer were not successful.
The den of the 64-year-old Dear's quiet Midlothian home is a testimony to the
fervor he's attached to his lengthy--and expensive--effort to prove that the
investigation done by the LAPD and district attorney's office amounted to
little more than "a relentless rush to judgment." He estimates he's spent
$600,000 on his marathon fact-finding mission. Exercise equipment now shares
space with large trunks filled with the files he's accumulated. In a bookcase
are copies of 40 other books that have been written on the Simpson case.
Photographs and legal documents related to the murders are spread across a
pool table on which a game hasn't been played in years.Still, it is a setting
far different from that one would have found the flamboyant P.I. in another
time in his career--back when the swimming pool adjacent to his sprawling
southern Dallas County mansion had a canal that extended into the master
bedroom, when his closet was filled with 200 suits and a like number of
custom-made boots and the jet black Corvette he drove had personalized
license plates. In those days, Dear was in Canada one week, Europe the next,
working at a breakneck pace to earn the millions people were willing to pay
for his expertise. It was a time when he owned a popular steakhouse and a
thriving western clothing store; when he watched over his own school for
wannabe private eyes and wrote books on his most fascinating cases. Hell yes,
he says, he loved it when Playboy was comparing him to Sherlock Holmes at the
same time the British tabloids labeled him "the real James Bond." Dear, it
seems, was one of those born to warm in the spotlight. As a 15-year-old
growing up in Florida, he says he witnessed a robbery while making his
morning paper route deliveries. Following the getaway car on his bicycle, he
took down the address it eventually pulled in to and phoned the police.
Proclaimed a hero in the next day's paper, he was soon being followed by
another car that twice ran him off the road. Assuming someone was attempting
to scare the youngster from testifying, police provided him a daily escort on
his paper route until the trial was over. By 20, he says he was the youngest
sworn police officer in Florida history. One of the first things the young
patrolman did was cite legendary Teamsters Union leader Jimmy Hoffa for a
traffic violation. More headlines. He's been there ever since. In the
mid-'50s, Dear left Florida for Dallas, convinced that a career as a private
investigator offered more excitement and considerably better paydays than
carrying a badge. Adopting a workaholic routine, he was soon busy
investigating homicides, helping clients collect on insurance settlements and
locating children who had either run away or been kidnapped. Soon, his
reputation began to spread. So did his business. By 1979, he was on the
campus of Michigan State University, delving into the Dungeons and Dragons
-playing background of a 16-year-old prodigy named James Dallas Egbert III
who had disappeared into a labyrinth of steam tunnels beneath the school. Two
months passed before Dear finally located the troubled youngster hiding in
Morgan City, Louisiana. From the experience came his first book, The Dungeon
. Then there was the Byzantine murder case in Bath, Ohio, where Dear
moved into the home of millionaire victim Dean Milo, even wearing his
clothing and sleeping in his bed in an attempt to gain some "feel" for the
crime. As unorthodox as his practices might have seemed, his investigation
resulted in the convictions of 11 conspirators, including the victim's
brother, as well as another book, Please...Don't Kill Me. Later, he was hired
by the Tarrant County grandparents of a missing 5-year-old. He managed to
track her to a small town in Nebraska where she was being held by her
mentally unstable father. The story's happy ending featured Dear and the
little girl stepping off a plane in Dallas as the minicams recorded the
joyful reunion. Each round of publicity, he quickly learned, resulted in a
new wave of calls from prospective clients. Those were the days when he was
at his self-promoting best, a time when he was lionized by some and labeled
more sizzle than steak by others. His detractors were quick to point out that
the gushing newspaper and magazine profiles never bothered to mention the
cases he didn't solve or that much of the legwork credited to him was
actually being done by the sizable staff he employed. At one point,

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