Lead detective in O.J. Simpson murder case weighs in on found knife

Before O.J. Simpson was the charismatic Hertz rental-car spokesman, or the actor in the Naked Gun movies, he was a Heisman Trophy winner and a Hall of Fame running back after standout careers with the USC Trojans and the Buffalo Bills.

But for the last two decades, Simpson is best known for being at the center of the "trial of the century," where he was ultimately acquitted in the murders of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

The victims suffered multiple stab wounds in the June 1994 attack, but the murder weapon was never found. But on Friday came the revelation that a knife had been discovered on property once owned by Simpson.

Predictably, that led to speculation that the knife could be linked to Simpson and the murders,  but retired LAPD detective Tom Lange, who was the lead investigator on the case, says that Simpson's property was thoroughly searched.

"It's always a possibility that it was overlooked," Lange said, via CBSNews.com, "but the time that we had and the time that Simpson had this knife, I would be very surprised if we would have missed something like this."

Sources told NBCNews.com that the found knife was "relatively inexpensive, small knife typically carried and used by construction workers, gardeners, landscapers or other laborers."

There's more:

The sources would not elaborate on specifics, but they said that the characteristics and condition of the knife were not consistent with the weapon used in the Brown and Goldman murders nor does it appear it was buried for a length of time that would put it in the time frame of the slayings.

Marcia Clark, who prosecuted Simpson in the murder trial, told Entertainment Tonight that she hopes investigators find out where the knife came from.

"If it does turn out to be connected to the murders of Ron and Nicole, it would be interesting if there was some evidence on that knife that pointed to who might have helped to bury it, if indeed someone else did," Clark said.

The timing of the newly discovered knife has also raised questions; The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, a docudrama about the trial, is currently airing on FX.

"You have to question the timing," law professor Laurie Levenson said, via CBSNews.com. "Right at the time of the miniseries on the O.J. case and all of the sudden they come up with this knife. It's gonna raise some eyebrows."

Added attorney Carl Douglas, a member of Simpson's "dream team" of lawyers during the trial: "It's amazing how the world cannot move on from this case. And it, and the media, is apparently still fascinated by everything O.J. Simpson. ...

"The case is over involving O.J. Simpson. He can never be prosecuted for those crimes again. So what I would say for anyone who's grasping for straws is please to move on with their life."

While Simpson was acquitted of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in 1995, he was found liable in the wrongful death civil trial in 1997 and ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages. In 2008, Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in prison for armed robbery, with the possibility of parole in 2017.

O.J. Simpson is currently behind bars for armed robbery. (Getty Images)
O.J. Simpson is currently behind bars for armed robbery. (Getty Images)
CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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