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Police: Spector admitted shooting actress

But producer later claimed she committed suicide
/ Source: The Associated Press

Phil Spector’s defense attorneys Friday denounced the release of grand jury transcripts in which witnesses quoted the record producer as saying he accidentally shot actress Lana Clarkson to death in his mansion and then changed his story to suggest she committed suicide.

Attorney Bruce Cutler said the transcripts offered a one-sided view of evidence in the murder case.

“Much of it contains lies, half-truths and slanted testimony and is biased, prejudicial and unfair,” Cutler said in a telephone interview from New York.

The transcripts portray an apparently inebriated Spector out on the town with two other women before he took Clarkson home.

They also show his mansion had an arsenal of 11 guns, all registered to him and many of them fully loaded, but that the .38-caliber revolver that killed Clarkson was not registered to him or to anyone else.

Cutler said the lack of gun registration is important to Spector’s defense, as is the absence of motive for the shooting.

“Does it make any sense?” Cutler said. “She was a stranger to him.”

Details of Spector’s gun collection and of his activities in the hours before Clarkson’s death emerged in the transcripts released at the request of The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times after a legal battle in which the defense sought to keep them sealed.

Testimony by homicide detective Mark Lillienfeld contained the information about 11 guns found in the master bedroom and in Spector’s office.

Under questioning by a prosecutor, the detective said Clarkson was killed by a shot from a Colt Cobra .38-caliber revolver. Lillienfeld said he ran a check on the gun and found no record of a registered owner and that he was unable to trace the weapon to any owner.

Most of Spector’s guns were in holsters, the transcripts showed, and the detective testified that a blood-smeared holster found in a bureau drawer next to Clarkson’s body would have fit the gun that killed her.

Cutler said the defense investigation found that Clarkson was a member of the Beverly Hills Gun Club and an expert markswoman.

Spector, 64, who created rock ’n’ roll’s “wall of sound” recording technique, is charged with murdering Clarkson at his Alhambra mansion known as “the castle” in 2003. He is free on $1 million bail.

Alhambra police Officer Beatrice Rodriguez testified that right after Spector was handcuffed he said, “What’s wrong with you guys? What are you doing? I didn’t mean to shoot her. It was an accident.”

That statement was not tape-recorded by detectives who later taped everything Spector said. Prosecutor Douglas Sortino told the grand jurors: “He changed his story and now he claimed to two separate officers at two different times ... that Lana Clarkson had blown her own brains out, that she had committed suicide.”

Spector’s chauffeur, Adriano De Souza, testified he brought the couple to the producer’s mansion and waited outside in the car. At 5 a.m. he heard a sound like a pop, he said, and Spector came outside minutes later holding a gun.

“I think I killed somebody,” he quoted Spector as saying.