Film's suggestion that a serial killer did it doesn't fit like a glove
The head of the network offering a new theory about who killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman still believes that O.J. did it.
That may be the most damning thing we can say about "My Brother the Serial Killer," which airs Wednesday on Investigation Discovery. It suggests that Glen Rogers (below), a part-time painter, killed Simpson's ex-wife and her friend while trying to retrieve a pair of diamond earrings at the NFL star's behest.
"You may have to kill the bitch," Simpson told Rogers, according to a profiler quoted on the show.
That's double hearsay — an alleged quote of an alleged quote — and would likely be considered too unreliable to be admitted in a courtroom. But that sort of so-called evidence abounds in "My Brother the Serial Killer."
The ID Films documentary offers an occasionally intriguing new take on one of our most famous unsolved mysteries. But by failing to acknowledge and address the weaknesses in its supposed evidence, it comes up as short as that glove did on Simpson's hand.
The documentary already has sparked fury from Goldman's relatives for suggesting that Simpson wasn't the real killer. The football star, now serving time for robbery, was acquitted of the murders but found liable for the deaths in a civil trial and ordered to pay millions of dollars.
ID President Henry Schleiff defends "My Brother the Serial Killer" by saying it isn't out to prove that Rogers committed the killings. Rather, the idea is to give viewers new facts and let them make up their own minds.
Personally, Schleiff told TheWrap, he still thinks Simpson is probably guilty.
"I think that he is still the most likely or beyond the most likely suspect," Schleiff said. "But I don’t know with all certainty. I don't think you can completely rule this guy out … He has one horrible skill, and that is his ability to kill people."
Schleiff said the documentary doesn't point out inaccuracies or inconsistencies in the evidence against Rogers because ID viewers are savvy enough to root them out on their own.
"We have a really smart audience, and I don't think they need to be told what the warnings are or all the caveats," he said.
Rogers, convicted of one murder in Florida and another in California, is awaiting execution in the Sunshine State. Though the show focuses on his brother and sister coming to the realization that Rogers was a multiple murderer, the possible Simpson connection "was frankly a key part of the interest in the documentary," Schleiff said.
Much of the information linking Rogers to the killings comes from his brother, Clay, who narrates the film. He has the type of background that would invite jurors' skepticism: He has admitted to robbing people with his brother decades ago, served jail time and says during the documentary that he and his brother once chanted to raise demons. He describes the feeling of one clawing him from the inside out.
But perhaps his biggest problem is his trouble with specifics, including about how his brother supposedly knew Nicole Brown Simpson. Glen Rogers was working as a painter in Los Angeles in the months before the murders, and the documentary surmises, without evidence, that he might have done work on her home.
According to Clay Rogers (right), his brother reported "partying" with O.J.'s ex, and he planned on "takin' her down" because she was well-off financially.
"Glen told me that he had set up Faye Redmond and Nicole Simpson, and they met him at a Van Nuys nightclub," he says on camera. "He set 'em up to rob 'em. Whether or not he was gonna kill 'em or not I don't know. He expected just the two girls to be there. But I guess that Ron Goldman showed up."
That statement may set off alarms for people who followed the 1994 criminal trial. First, Clay Rogers is thinking of Faye Resnick — not Redmond. She was the admitted drug abuser who was living with Brown Simpson when the latter was killed. Simpson's lead attorney, Johnny Cochran, suggested during the trial that Brown Simpson and Goldman may have been murdered by drug dealers trying to collect a debt from Resnick.
It's unclear from Clay Rogers' statement what happened to his brothers' alleged plan to rob Resnick and Brown Simpson at a nightclub, or why Goldman supposedly appeared as well.
Whatever the case, he doesn't seem to be describing the night of the killings: As exhaustively explained during the trial, Goldman was a waiter and friend of Brown Simpson's who was murdered outside her home as he visited her to return a pair of eyeglasses left at his restaurant.
The documentary addresses none of these points of confusion. But Schleiff acknowledged Clay Rogers might not be a completely reliable narrator.
"I don't think the memory or being able to identify, years later, specific names or dates, happens to be the strength of anybody, particularly these guys," he said of the Rogers siblings. Still, he believes, they have no motive to lie.
The Goldman family begs to disagree. An attorney for Ron's father, Fred Goldman, noted that most high-profile slayings yield false confessions from people seeking the spotlight.
"You can pack the Los Angeles Coliseum with 100,000 Glen Rogerses all confessing to the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, and nothing would change the fact that O.J. Simpson murdered these two people in cold blood," said the attorney, David J. Cook.
But Clay Rogers' believability isn't the biggest obstacle to the documentary's. The film repeatedly airs claims from Glen Rogers' siblings that he confessed to more than 70 killings.
It fails to note, however, that he recanted those statements in 1995, which might call into question his other supposed admissions as well.
They include those he allegedly made to Anthony Meoli, a criminal profiler who exchanged letters with Glen Rogers and met with him. Meoli said that Rogers told him from death row that he had killed Brown Simpson and Goldman while trying to retrieve the $20,000 earrings because Simpson wanted them back after giving them to his ex-wife.
Rogers also showed him a painting, Meoli said, of headstones with the names "Ron" and "Nicole" and drew the supposed murder weapon. (Pictured: a headstone that supposedly says "Nicole." You be the judge.)
Meoli said Rogers also described how he carried out the killings in brutal detail and mailed his mother an angel pin he said he had stolen from Brown Simpson, who collected angel memorabilia.
Simpson went to the crime scene after the killings to check out Rogers' work, Meoli said. As a result, his shoeprints were found there, along with something that may have been another shoeprint. That possible shoeprint belonged to Rogers, the documentary suggests.
The documentary doesn't explain how Rogers allegedly knew O.J. Simpson or why Simpson would trust him enough to involve him.
The filmmakers didn't interview Rogers — understandable since he is on death row. But his pending execution gives him an obvious motive to try to delay it by any means possible, perhaps by confessing to crimes he didn't commit. The documentary fails to raise this possibility.
Few know the details of the case better than the Goldman family, who say they weren’t told about the documentary until this week. They took issue with the decision to air it Wednesday.
"This is another attempt to capitalize on the most famous crime in our history, during what is an otherwise slow news week," said Goldman's sister, Kim.
The reason for the slow news week is Thanksgiving, a day the victims' families will now be forced to spend thinking about the murders.