Phil Spector’s attorneys told jurors Thursday that scientific evidence would prove the music producer did not fatally shoot an actress in his home, while his former girlfriend testified he terrorized her with a gun when they were dating.
“We have one unimpeachable witness who has no motive to lie, no memory problems, no language problems, and that witness is science,” said Linda Kenney-Baden, an attorney whose specialty is forensic evidence.
She suggested DNA would prove that Lana Clarkson loaded the weapon and shot herself, that Spector was not standing close enough to shoot her, that his DNA was not on the gun and that his clothing bore no trace evidence to prove guilt, the defense told jurors.
Spector, 67, whose “Wall of Sound” transformed rock ’n’ roll in the 1960s, lives in a castlelike mansion in suburban Alhambra. Clarkson and Spector met at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip, where she was a hostess.
Prosecutors focus on ‘implied malice’
The sometime actress agreed to accompany him on a chauffeur-driven ride to his home, where her body, with a gunshot wound through the mouth, was found seated in the foyer early Feb. 3, 2003.
Prosecutors are proceeding on a theory of “implied malice,” alleging Spector did not intend to kill Clarkson but caused her death by reckless behavior and taking an extreme risk.
The prosecution’s outline of its case largely previewed testimony that will be given by four women who claim that in past years Spector threatened them with guns in scenarios similar to the Clarkson case.
The first witness, Joan Rivers’ former manager, testified Thursday that while dating Spector in the 1990s, the usually charming producer suddenly terrorized her with a gun, hit her on the head twice, ordered her to undress and accused her of stealing.
Witness wanted to avoid ‘National Enquirer cover’
Dorothy Melvin said that after several years of occasional dating she went to Spector’s Pasadena home in 1993 and spent a pleasant evening in which he played the piano, danced with her and showed memorabilia including a John Lennon guitar. But she said he drank heavily and at some point disappeared.
She said she woke up on a couch early the next morning and found Spector outside pointing a handgun at her car and then at her. Melvin described an expletive-laced confrontation, trying to flee in her car, Spector pumping a shotgun, hitting her on the side of the head and finally being let out of the estate.
She said she didn’t press charges because “I didn’t want it to become a National Enquirer cover.”
Despairing e-mails from Clarkson
During cross-examination, defense attorney Roger Rosen showed that Melvin and Spector continued to communicate by e-mail, mail and fax and even saw each other a few times in subsequent years until his arrest.
“Phil is a very brilliant and charming man,” she said as Spector sat across the room at the counsel table. “... Only when drinking he snaps and becomes a lunatic.”
Kenney-Baden said the defense will call renowned scientists including Henry Lee, Werner Spitz and Vincent DeMaio to testify.
“Science will show you her death was caused by a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Kenney-Baden said. “Science cannot tell you what was in her mind.”
For that, she cited despairing e-mails Clarkson sent in which she said she was going to tidy her affairs and “chuck it all because it’s too much for a girl to bear.”
Earlier Thursday, co-counsel Bruce Cutler’s asserted that police immediately had “murder on their mind” and disregarded anything inconsistent with that conclusion.
“As a result of ‘murder on their mind’ they interviewed and acted in such a way that anything that was consistent ... with their preconceived notions and theories they embraced,” he said. “And anything that was not consistent or inconsistent with that ‘murder on their mind’ they ignored.”
If convicted of second-degree murder, Spector could face 15 years to life in prison.