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But as the week went on and the scrutiny mounted, Simpson grew more and more despondent. The circus parked outside his house in Brentwood Park, a glossy enclave in West Los Angeles where police are always nestled anyway to protect Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, D.A. Gil Garcetti and several judges who live there. The homeowner's association hires 24-hour plainclothes security men, who watch over the homes of Angela Lansbury, Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan, Roseanne Arnold, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. In fact, some neighbors of Nicole's had a confession of their own. They hoped that O.J. had done it, that this was a classic crime of passion, something insanely logical, that it hadn't been a random killer who had punctured their security. "You know what scares me?" one neighbor admitted. "What if O.J. didn't do it? I'm scared. This is a nice neighborhood."
Simpson remained in seclusion, visited by friends like Jermaine Jackson, ( Dionne Warwick and former U.S.C. football teammate Bob Chandler. He did attend Nicole's wake on Wednesday and funeral mass on Thursday at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church; he was treated as a mourner, not a murderer. Friends who talked to Simpson last week said he was distraught. Said movie agent Jack Gilardi, who has represented the ex-footballer for 21 years: "He could hardly talk. He was in tears and everything."
Simpson's highflying defense lawyer Robert Shapiro called in a team to help him through the crisis: forensic experts to go over every piece of evidence, an internist to monitor O.J.'s health and a psychiatrist to handle his deepening depression. On Friday morning Garcetti called Shapiro with word that the scientific tests were back, and that charges had been filed of first- degree murder involving special circumstances -- meaning that Simpson could get the death penalty if convicted.
Shapiro agreed that his client would surrender that morning at 11, but the fear of suicide was so great that the lawyer wanted the doctors to see Simpson first. "When I saw O.J., he was kind of resigned that he had to go to jail," said forensic expert Dr. Michael Baden. "He was depressed -- I mean, truly depressed. So they called the prison doctors to tell them that O.J. should be watched."
But Simpson still had some surprise moves to spring even on his own team. The surrender deadline came and went; when Los Angeles police department Commander David Gascon finally appeared before reporters, he was in a quiet fury. O.J. had failed to surface, he announced, and was now a fugitive. D.A. Garcetti arrived about an hour later to warn anyone against helping Simpson escape. "If you assist him in any way," he said, "you are committing a felony."
The drama of that news left reporters gasping. But there was more to come three hours later, when Shapiro finally stood before the cameras. It turned out that Simpson had remained in one place ever since Nicole's funeral the day before -- not at his Brentwood mansion, where a stand-in had decoyed the media, but at the San Fernando Valley home of his friend Robert Kardashian. Shapiro said he had greeted Simpson that morning with news that he had been charged and that the surrender had been scheduled. But O.J. still had some things he wanted to do.