Here in Vegas, we famously have reproductions of an Egyptian pyramid, an Eiffel Tower and a Statue of Liberty. So it's somehow fitting that Clark County District Attorney David Roger ordered up a replica of Palace Station hotel room #1203, where the incident occurred that led to the current armed robbery and kidnapping charges against O.J. Simpson.
Here's the external view of it:
The 335-square-foot room, complete with wooden versions of the various furnishings of the room, was built in a basement conference room at the Clark County Regional Justice Center and was intended to be State's Exhibit #80 to be shown to the jury hearing the case against Simpson and co-defendant C.J. Stewart, one of the five cohorts to joined Simpson on this adventure. (I'm so sick of repeating the convoluted details of this case in each story I've done this week for The New York Times, so go here if you want the 411.)
As it happened, presiding Judge Jackie Glass, a.k.a. Judge Anti-Ito, took one look at the plywood structure and decided that this would not give the jury an accurate understanding of the alleged crime scene. So on Friday, in a controversial and infuriating move I'll probably deal with here later this weekend, the jury was spirited off in secret to the Palace Station to see the actual room 1203 in a move that turned a piece of a public trial into an invite-only private event.
Below are views of the structure. How did I get these shots? Well, I asked and had particularly good timing. The court spokesman had shown it to other journalists earlier Friday, but it so happened that just before my request, he'd gotten permission from the DA to allow it to be photographed. I did so just as the courthouse was closing for the weekend.
Here are my pictures. Wherever possible, I've also inserted a shot of the actual room in a similar angle, either from images shown to jurors during the trial of the night of the incident or from Friday morning's visit to Palace Station. Those photos come from Issac Brekken and John Locher, both the pool photographers during this trial whose images are to be shared with the newsmedia at large.
Here's the entry way, the "bed" and the "room" from a variety of angles:
This would be the bathroom entry below. The bathroom itself :
This below is the top of the armoire. Tom Riccio, who set up the confrontation between Simpson and the collectibles dealers who Simpson believed improperly possessed personal belongings he wanted back, placed his audio recorder on top of the armoire. That recorder captured several hours of chatter, including the dialogue during the six-minute incident and private conversations among police personnel processing the scene. The real armoire has a dip such that nobody could see what was on top of it except for from above.
And, of course, here I am, contemplating ways to make the place more homey. Or something.
So here's the deal. The folks from Clark County couldn't find out for my by end of the day Friday how much it cost them to build this thing that never got used. (I suggest, a la Sarah Palin, they put it on eBay to make back some dough. Would it be inappropriate for the state to ask O.J. to pose in there?)
You all have until I find out to e-mail me at TheStripPodcast[at]aol.com with your guess of what this thing cost. Whoever is closest can choose anything off the prize list in the left rail at TheStripPodcast.Com. If there's a tie, I'll draw a name. Do not post a guess in the comments or you're disqualified.