Last week, America further renewed interest in one of the country's most notorious murder trials in modern history when Los Angeles police announced that a knife purported to be the murder weapon in the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman was handed over to law enforcement - nearly eighteen years after it was found. A flurry of media coverage ensued, reviving the speculation that tainted the O.J. Simpson murder case from the beginning. However, the knife is unlikely to be of significance - it is doubtful that the knife will contain any forensic evidence, and it would be nearly impossible to try O.J. Simpson again for the murder charges.
According to Los Angeles police Captain Andrew Neiman, detectives learned of the knife last month, when a retired police officer informed LAPD of the knife's existence. Allegedly, a construction worker disovered the knife while razing Simpson's former home on Rockingham Avenue in 1998 and subsequently handed it over to an off-duty police officer. The officer, who retired in the 1990's, believed the case closed, and kept the knife among his personal possessions all this time.
Even if the knife did contain evidence linking O.J. Simpson to the murders, Simpson was acquitted of the murder charges one day after jury deliberations began. Double jeopardy prevents him from being tried again on the same charges. Simpson could be tried on a federal indictment for violation of civil rights, but as Alan Dershowitz (a member of O.J. Simpson's legal team) pointed out, the statute of limitations is likely passed on any supposed violation.
If the knife is traced to Simpson, it could lead to other charges - such as accomplice liability if a third party helped conceal the knife or other evidence. However, LAPD has not been able to locate the construction worker who originally handed the knife over and linking the knife to O.J. could be extremely difficult.
Public interest in the O.J. murder trial has recently risen as a result of the FX television series, "American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson," which debuted in February. The series' first episode became the networks most watched premiere ever, drawing 12 million total viewers in the first week. Once reports of the knife surfaced, FX cleared its network schedule to show all five previously aired episodes commercial-free.