LOS ANGELES, JUNE 16 -- O.J. Simpson, clasping the hands of his young son and daughter, today attended the funeral of his slain ex-wife, defying the barrage of publicity that has depicted him as the prime suspect in her death.
Mourners said the former football superstar wept and Nicole Brown Simpson's family read poems during the hourlong service at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Brentwood, the wealthy west Los Angeles community where she and a male companion were stabbed to death Sunday night.
Surrounded by private security guards, Simpson emerged from a white limousine this morning, leaned down to kiss daughter Sydney, 9, and son Justin, 6, and entered the church. After the funeral, he embraced the priest who had conducted the service and returned to his car for the procession to the Ascension Cemetery in Lake Forest, 50 miles away.
Nearly 200 reporters and camera operators were kept across the street from the private ceremony.
Meanwhile, new details about the troubled relationship of the Simpsons emerged from records that were released today by the Los Angeles Police Department and an interview with a city prosecutor.
The Simpsons were divorced in 1992 after a seven-year marriage during which police were called to their house at least nine times to intervene in domestic disputes. In one case, which left Nicole Simpson bleeding and bruised, the Pro Football Hall of Famer was arrested and pleaded no contest to battery.
Robert L. Pingel, the deputy city attorney who brought a spousal abuse case against O.J. Simpson in 1989, recalled that Nicole Simpson, bruised and crying, complained during an emergency call on New Year's Day that police "never do anything" when they came to break up fights at the Simpsons' Brentwood home.
In a report on the incident filed at the time and released tonight, police said Nicole Simpson ran from her home, complaining that police had been to her house for problems eight times before: "You never do anything about him. You talk to him, then leave. I want him arrested. I want him out so I can get my kids."
O.J. Simpson told officers to leave and argued: "The police have been out here eight times before and NOW you want to arrest me for THIS? This is a family matter. Why do you want to make a big deal out of this. WE can handle it."
That night, O.J. Simpson ignored officers and got into his car and drove away from the house. According to the report, he also told officers: "I don't want that woman sleeping in my bed anymore. I got two women, and I don't want THAT woman in my bed anymore."
Pingel said he took the allegations seriously and tried to persuade Nicole Simpson to elaborate on her claims. She would not return calls from him about that night and did not come to court to testify for the prosecution.
Pingel said he ran a computer check of 911 calls and confirmed that there had been calls to police for help from the Simpsons' home on Rockingham Avenue, but he could never find police officers who would say they responded to those calls. "We tried, we tried very hard," Pingel said.
In the case that Pingel prosecuted, officers reported that Nicole Simpson suffered that night from a cut, swollen lip, a blackened left eye, swelling and bruises on her face and neck and a reddened hand imprint on her neck.
O.J. Simpson tried to minimize the fight, Pingel recalled. "I don't think he had a very good attitude about this thing," said the prosecutor. "He tended to think what he was doing was perfectly fine. I remember him saying, 'I don't understand what this fuss is all about.' "
After pleading guilty to the lesser charge of battery, Simpson was placed on probation and ordered to perform 120 hours of community service and donate $500 to a battered women's center. He also was required to undergo psychological counseling. But Pingel said Simpson did not properly fulfill the community service requirement and did not appear to take the punishment seriously.
Pingel said Simpson did not report as ordered to the Volunteer Action Center for his community service work; instead Simpson, without permission, substituted a previously planned charitable promotion.
Pingel, who had requested jail time as part of the original punishment, again requested that Simpson be jailed for violating the condition of his probation. The judge refused but ordered Simpson to complete an extra 32 hours of community service.
Police have searched the 1968 Heisman Trophy winner's home and car, and questioned him for three hours. But they have declined to call him a suspect in the slaying of Nicole Simpson, 35, and Ronald Lyle Goldman, 25, who also was buried today in a separate ceremony.
The Los Angeles Times, citing a police source, reported today that forensic tests had identified a blood type at the scene that matched that of Simpson and differed from those of the victims. Blood types, however, are shared by many people. Police said they were continuing their investigation with DNA tests that could match the blood to a specific suspect.
Simpson's attorneys have said he was on his way to Los Angeles International Airport for a flight to Chicago at the time the murders occurred. Both attorneys -- Howard Weitzman and Robert Shapiro -- attended today's funeral but declined to comment afterward about the case. In Chicago, police officers using metal detectors searched for evidence in an overgrown field near the O'Hare Plaza Hotel, where Simpson stayed briefly Monday.
Shapiro said he had hired a forensic pathologist, Michael Baden of New York, and forensic scientist Henry Lee to review any findings in the case.
About 100 people attended the funeral, where security guards checked each car and person who passed by the church's iron gate. Among them were a handful of celebrities, including former baseball star Steve Garvey, Olympian Bruce Jenner, singer Jermaine Jackson and former University of Southern California and Buffalo Bills teammate Bob Chandler.
"He cried. There was a lot of crying going on," said Carmelo Manto, a neighbor of the Brown family from Monarch Beach, south of Los Angeles, describing Simpson's appearance at the service.
"She was a beautiful woman and mother," said Garvey, who described the homily by Monsignor Lawrence O'Leary as "poignant and moving."
A handful of people were excluded from the service because they arrived late as a result of a traffic jam along Sunset Boulevard, where the church is located. Comedian Byron Allen waited outside the gate until the service was complete.
"This is tough, very tough," said Allen, who said he had seen the Simpsons socially throughout their marriage. He last saw them together five weeks ago at a jazz club here.
Allen said he knew the couple was divorced but "assumed they were working things out." Allen said he had not talked to O.J. Simpson since the slayings but, like many people, described the crime as a "tragedy."
"She was a wonderful woman and a great mother," he said.
Special correspondents Kathryn Wexler in Los Angeles and Megan Garvey in Chicago contributed to this report.