Two years ago, I was contacted by executive film producer, Howard Barrett. Following my December 15, 2013 Blogcritics review of Jeffery Toobin’s The Run of His Life: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, (the book that was the basis for the popular FX movie series about the infamous murder trial), Barrett inquired if I was interested in blogging about his new documentary, “Overlooked Suspect.” It was based on private investigator William C. Dear’s book, O.J. Is Innocent and I Can Prove It (2012). Dear is a former Florida police officer turned longtime international private investigator, who has spent over 18 years exploring the details of one of America’s most infamous murder trials.
At that time, Barrett and Dear were struggling to find a buyer for their film. They had made some inroads at second-tier film festivals, but it seemed no one was interested in analyzing the case anymore. The conspiracy theorists had moved on. But with this season’s hit FX series American Crime Story: The People V. O.J. Simpson, which was based on Toobin’s book, that all changed and now there is renewed interest in the case.
Yesterday, I noticed there was a spike in website visits and almost all of the visitors were on the Q&A blog post I had conducted with Mr. Barrett on March 16, 2014.
This morning while I was listening to the Today Show (I can never actually watch it with two little boys running around), there was a segment about the Simpson case. The anchor announced Martin Sheen was producing a new film about the Simpson case. Low and behold it’s Barret’s and Dear’s film, “Overlooked Suspect.” The documentary that struggled so long to find a home will now air on the cable channel Investigation Discovery (Date TBA). It’s now called, “Hard Evidence: O.J. is innocent.”
I thought it would be fitting to repost my 2014 interview with producer Howard Barrett, where we discuss the case, his film, and the possibility that a real killer is on the loose.
What’s your background in film? And how did you connect with Mr. Dear?
This is my first feature documentary. I’ve been involved in the film and television industry for many years through my Marketing and Media firm. Mr. Dear is the other executive producer. We met through a mutual associate, who is the film’s director. William had been investigating the case for many years, but the film project itself started about 3 years ago. From the moment the trial begun and based on over 50 years in crime solving, he never felt right about it. There were too many unanswered questions.
Aside from the assassination of JFK, there are few, if any, other murder cases that have the created the number of conspiracy theories as the OJ Simpson case. Given the potential for criticism, why did you stick with this project?
As a producer, you look for a great story and, when you can- the Truth. This case had all the trappings–Hollywood, murder, race relations, divorce and, how could we forget, the infamous car chase that was viewed live by over 90 million people–even before YouTube!
What Mr. Dear proves to us, in the end, is that OJ, at the core, is a father protecting his own son, Jason, who is the “Overlooked Suspect” and based on all evidence collected, the main suspect and alleged killer.
Jason is from O.J.’s first marriage and has had many personal problems. He was the one present when his youngest sister drowned as an infant. Perhaps he blamed himself for her death. He suffers from bipolar and rage disorder and was taking lots of medication for many years. He has a history of rage, including being on probation, before the murders, of a run-in with a former employer for assault with a deadly weapon. As you’ll see in the film, there’s an overwhelming amount of evidence that shows Jason should be the key suspect and alleged killer–including his personal dairies, his own knife, telling photographs and the jeep Jason was driving the night of the homicides, now in William Dear’s possession.
Where is Jason? What’s he up to? Has Mr. Dear had any contact with him?
We have no relationship with Jason, the Simpson family or any of his associates. However, from Williams’ investigation, he has been a bit quite transient and has resided in Atlanta for a while.
Do you think this film is going to force legal authorities to retry the case? Has Mr. Dear heard from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office?
In order to try the case again, one must have indisputable evidence. Based on feedback to date, it appears they do not want to reopen the case. Although it’s highly unlikely that the case will ever be retried, Mr. Dear believes that the public and the parents of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman are owed the truth. We hope this film will serve as a catalyst.
My prime objective is to get a broadcast airing of the film so all Americans can judge for and “vote” themselves. Every week I am asked when the film will be on television!
We have been screened at a variety of film festivals. We also held a private screening in Los Angeles that included accomplished criminal defense lawyers. Each time our film is aired, we ask the audience to raise their hands if they think that O.J. was the killer. Almost every single hand is usually raised. After screening, when asked the very same question, almost no hands are ever raised. It reflects the level of detail and credibility in both Mr. Dear’s investigation plus the actual physical evidence discovered. It’s not unusual for him to display actual evidence at screenings, which always goes over big with educated audiences –which have included senior law enforcement officials, lawyers, criminologists and psychiatrists, among others.
To learn more about the film, visit www.overlookedsuspect.com or on Facebook, www.facebook.com/overlookedsuspect
Great article, with much controversy Adam.
I remember watching that trial for months. And I’m currently watching the FX series now.
I find this ‘new evidence’ of Jason a little incredible. I’m a bit of an addict when it comes to watching crime stories and trying to piece together evidence. And although I’d be curious to watch this new documentary, I don’t see how O.J. is anything but guilty.
His lawyers did a good job swaying and confusing public opinion and the jury. But then, that was their job – to create reasonable doubt. And reasonable doubt is what got him off – not his innocence.
Thanks Debbie. I agree I’m a bit skeptical too, however, having watched it already (the pre-Martin Sheen version), Dear makes a very compelling case. It’s highly unlikely, but it does pose doubt, which is the objective of the film. Thanks for reading.
I’ll be sure to watch. But I still think it is so far fetched. Indeed, it’s only one other thing to cause doubt. But ‘The Dreamteam’ already did a good enough job of that. 🙂
Well written article Mr. Helig.
But, William C. Dear, Howard Barrett and actor Martin Sheen have absolutely no rebuttel whatsoever for my ex-in-law Rocky Bateman. Rocky Bateman was OJ Simpson’s regular limousine driver from approximately August of 1993 to June of 1994. Please Google Rocky Bateman and OJ Simpson’s name in the same search engine and please read some about that “missing bag that OJ Simpson loaded in the passenger section of the limo that took him to LAX the night of June 12th, 1994. It’s the same bag that Simpson wouldn’t let Kato Kaelin touch.
I was personally involved in The OJ Simpson Case. I can legally back up Rocky Bateman’s “role” in The OJ Simpson Case.
Ms. Kaye, very good interview, but the Investigative Discovery docuseries “Hard Evidence” by William C. Dear and actor Martin Sheen cannot “fly” without Rocky Bateman.
Mario George Nitrini 111
The OJ Simpson Case
Mario, thank you for your comments. To have a direct connection to the most famous criminal case in modern US history is nothing short of intriguing. Has Dear contacted your ex-in law? It probably wouldn’t further his theory, but nevertheless all avenues leading to that night must be explored.
Hello Adam. I really don’t know if William C. Dear has ever tried to contact Rocky Bateman. I have never read anything about Mr. Dear talking about Rocky. But I will say this:
William C. Dear definetly knows who Rocky Bateman is. Why Mr. Dear, to my knowledge, has never written or talked about him, for me, is very puzzling. Please feel free to ask me a question or questions.
And yes, you are correct, “all avenues leading to that night must be explored.” And I promise you this Adam: Rocky Bateman must be in an OJ Simpson Case scenario for that scenario to work.
Mario George Nitrini 111
The OJ Simpson Case and Saga
Thank you for sharing your interesting info and insight here Mario. It seems there was much that was left to examine, including witnesses.
I will be sure to google more about the limo driver.
Thank you Ms. Kaye.
Yes, there was much left out to examine,
and witnesses? Oh yea…..
Rocky Bateman is the
“wild card” in The OJ Simpson Case and Saga. Please
read (google) the article that was written about me regarding Rocky Bateman by Bill Boyarsky that was published in The Los Angeles Times dated June 23,
1995, and titled:
“Find Mario and you’ve got a Story”
Rocky Bateman was going to be a witness
for The Defense (incredible story behind this).
Mario George Nitrini 111
The OJ Simpson Case and Saga
Thanks again Mario. I’m going to snoop more around Google on this fascinating subject and witness. 🙂