O.J. Simpson: Digging deeper into a police interview

Interrogation by LAPD June 13, 1994. The following is an excerpted from Dr. Hodges’ article in the F.B.I. publication “Suicide and Law Enforcement”, Behavioral Science Unit, Quantico, Va, 2001. He also presented this profile and his new profiling method at the F.B.I. Conference, “Suicide and Law Enforcement”, in Quantico, September 2000.

Summary: Simpson’s repeated thoughtprints of “attempted escapes from police” in his interrogation by the LAPD four days prior to the infamous Bronco chase accurately predicted his actions (also validating his thoughtprint messages). Additionally, his thoughtprints about not possessing a gun accurately predicted he wasn’t going to commit suicide.

On June 17th, 1994 O.J. Simpson’s famous Bronco chase took place. In his interrogation earlier that week we find O.J. predicting—between the lines— his Bronco chase. As we will see, skilled listening could have helped to clarify his guilt and very likely have prevented his elopement from incarceration.

Detectives Phil Vannatter and Tom Lang of the L.A.P.D. had interrogated O.J. Simpson on June 13th, 1994, the day after his ex-wife’s murder. A close look at the interrogation reveals valuable information and suggests O.J. was unconsciously warning the detectives of his extreme sensitivity to incarceration and his proclivity to run from authorities when faced with trouble. Again listening to someone’s stories in addition to their direct answers provides major clues to a person’s deeper motivations-unknown to them consciously.

Early in the interview, Vannatter inquires about two of Nicole’s previous complaints of violence on O.J.’s part:

P.V. And she made a police report on those two occasions?

O.J. Mmmm hmmm. And I stayed right there until the police came, talked to them.

T.L. Were you arrested at one time for something?

O.J. No, I mean, five years ago we had a big fight, six years ago. I don’t know. I know I ended up doing community service.

P.V. So you weren’t arrested?

O.J. No, I was never really arrested.

T.L. They never booked you or …?

O.J. No

P.V. Can I ask you, when’s the last time you’ve slept?

Out of the blue, O.J. spontaneously volunteered how he had stayed until the police came in a previous investigation which should have raised some red flags as suddenly someone running from police was on his mind. If the detectives had investigated thoroughly they would have discovered Simpson was lying—initially he did talk to police officers at the time but when they attempted to take him in, he escaped out a side entrance to his driveway in his Bentley. Simpson continued to deny his being arrested was ever a consideration, further indicating his discomfort with incarceration.

Note, too, how Vannatter unconsciously moved away from a line of inquiry which made Simpson uncomfortable and which could have yielded more valuable information, instead changing the subject to an easy direct answer. Simpson had introduced the thought of running from the police unconsciously to warn the detectives—his deeper intuition had a phenomenal need to tell the truth—and Vannatter could have allowed him to keep talking but instead he introduced the idea of sleeping?If the detectives had known about unconscious communication they could have observed O.J.’s need to confess and known which areas to probe much as a psychiatrist uses a patient’s deeper perceptions as a guide in psychotherapy.

[Later in the same interrogation O. J.’s thoughtprints confirm the same message.]

Then O.J. spontaneously begins to tell a story?He then describes becoming entrapped on the freeway by three other cars working together in an attempted hijacking. At first, the car in front of him slowed down suggesting a police speed trap up ahead, and O.J., also speeding at the time, slowed down, too. Suddenly, O.J. discovered the three cars were trying to entrap him as the one in the rear started bumping him. Thinking quickly, O.J. escaped the trap by going on the shoulder of the road, and then held up his lighted cell phone to communicate to the criminals he intended on calling the police. O.J. then gave false chase to one of the cars to scare the driver. Later that night, Simpson reported the incident to the police and made plain he had no weapons in his car at the time.

In his story, O.J. makes three different references to running from the police: initially he and the other driver are trying to escape the police in a car. Then the driver attempts to escape from O.J. who is acting as a policeman and has just called one. The whole story centers around.. O.J.’s fear of entrapment which he links to people (including himself) attempting to escape in a car from the police. In O.J.’s story, the themes of entrapment strikingly linked to the police and of people running away in cars along with using a cell phone to communicate with the police during the attempted escape eerily fit the Bronco chase four days later. Combining this with Simpson’s earlier spontaneous denial that he wouldn’t run from police (when in fact he has in the past) should have made the investigators extremely suspicious that already O.J. was harboring secret plans to elope in the back of his mind.

Additionally, [mentioning in] his story where he had no gun and his later thoughts about giving up his guns suggest that O.J.’s suicidal threats during the Bronco chase were efforts aimed at gaining sympathy and suggest he presented no real danger to himself nor ever intended on using his gun. In describing a false chase where all he had was a phone and not a gun he also seems to predict what the outcome of the Bronco chase will be. Repeatedly, during that chase in his conversation with Detective Tom Lang who talked him in (brilliantly bonding with O.J. and appealing to his significant separation anxiety), O.J. continues to say he’s not going to hurt anybody. (Interestingly, O.J.’s autobiography entitled Born to Run written in 1971 opens with a scene where he is running from police as a young teenager, first in a stolen car and then on foot.)
More on O.J. Simpson
Decoding the “Suicide” note
Police interview: Digging deeper

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