A police officer called by prosecutors to corroborate testimony of Phil Spector’s ex-girlfriend Thursday wound up contradicting her account, saying he saw no injuries on her and never heard her say she was pistol-whipped by the music producer.
The testimony involves a prosecution effort in the murder trial to show that Spector had a pattern of threatening women with guns long before the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson in his home in 2003.
Pasadena police Sgt. Chris Russ said he was one of two officers who responded to a 911 call by Dorothy Melvin on July 3, 1993, and found what he described as “something of a domestic incident” in which she said Spector, who was her boyfriend, “had displayed a gun and kept her purse.”
Melvin, former manager of comedian Joan Rivers, testified earlier that she had a romantic relationship with Spector which ended after the incident. She claimed that a drunken Spector hit her head with a pistol, causing welts and drawing blood and said she showed her wounds to police, who gave her ice to put on them.
Russ said he couldn’t recall seeing any injuries on Melvin. Pressed by prosecutor Alan Jackson on the subject, he said he remembered Melvin “parting her hair” with her hands while she was talking to his partner “to show something,” but never saw what it was.
“You never observed any injuries, did you?” asked defense attorney Doron Weinberg.
“No, I didn’t,” said Russ.
“You don’t recall her saying anything about being hit with a gun?” Weinberg asked.
“No, I don’t,” said Russ.
Russ recalled that Spector was wearing a shoulder holster and the officers saw a shotgun in the house. When Spector became “agitated and aggressive,” Russ said, they handcuffed him and called a supervisor. Eventually, he said, Melvin’s purse was retrieved and she declined to press charges because it would cause unwanted publicity for Rivers.
The officer also said he saw no sign that Spector was drunk.
Spector, 68, a legendary rock music figure, is being retried on charges of murdering Clarkson after his first trial ended with a hung jury. Prosecutors are seeking to paint him as a man who became “demonic” when he drank, hated women and frequently threatened them with guns.
Another Spector ex-girlfriend, Devra Robitaille, testified that when she tried to leave a party at Spector’s home once, he pulled a gun on her.
“I was standing in the foyer and when I turned he had a gun pointed at my temple,” she said. “...It stopped me cold. I didn’t know what to do,” said Robitaille, a onetime child piano prodigy from England.
“How did you feel?” asked prosecutor Truc Do.
“Outraged and disrespected,” she said. “...He was shouting at me different permutations of, ‘I’ll blow your head off, blow your brains out.”’
She said she “became British” and told him to “stop mucking about” and put down the gun. She said that defused the situation and he got the keys and let her out.
After the incident, she said, she tried to quit but was coaxed back with flowers and pleas and she kept working with him for another year and a half.
“There was more good than bad,” she said. “It was interesting and exciting and for the most part Mr. Spector was a good guy. I put it aside.”
The trial is in recess until next Wednesday.