A former romantic interest testified in Phil Spector’s murder trial Tuesday that the music producer threatened her at gunpoint twice, about 10 years apart, when she tried to leave his house.
The scenarios Devra Robitaille described are similar to those detailed by four other women called earlier by the prosecution.
Robitaille took the stand moments after Spector’s lawyers announced that they were conditionally resting their case and that the music producer would not testify.
She was called as a witness in the prosecution’s rebuttal case, a move opposed by the defense but allowed by the judge.
Spector, 67, is accused of murdering actress Lana Clarkson on Feb. 3, 2003, a few hours after she went home with him from her job as a nightclub hostess. Her body was slumped in a chair in the foyer of his house. The defense maintains she was depressed and shot herself.
Robitaille, a musician, told of meeting Spector around 1974 and becoming administrator of his company, Warner Spector Records. She said they became friends and eventually had a romantic relationship.
One night, she attended a soiree at his home with many celebrities, and Spector was drinking a lot, she said. When the party ended, she told Spector she was going home.
“He said no and locked the door,” she testified.
“I remember standing in the lobby with a door in front of me and when I turned there was a gun pointed at my temple. ... It was like a long-barreled shotgun. ... It was touching my temple. Cold,” she said.
“He said ‘If you leave I’ll blow your (expletive) head off.’ ... He was screaming at me at that point,” she said.
Spector repeated the threat several times, Robitaille said.
Robitaille, who is British and speaks with an accent, was asked by prosecutor Pat Dixon what she did in response.
“I became very British ... and said, ‘Stop that. Put that down. I’m leaving. Stop mucking about,”’ she said.
She said he put the gun down and let her out.
Robitaille said she briefly quit her job but came back after being sent roses and being placated by a Spector friend. Their relationship returned to being professional and platonic, she said. She later returned to England and toured Europe with famous music groups, but returned to Los Angeles in 1986 and contacted Spector, she said.
He offered her a menial job running errands, she said, and she took it but was disappointed by the work.
Robitaille accepted an invitation to another Spector party that lasted past dawn, and again was the last person left, she said. The door was locked when she announced she wanted to leave, she said, and she found Spector and asked him to unlock the door.
As she stood in a foyer with her handbag hanging from her elbow, “The gun came out and he was holding it at my face,” she said.
Robitaille said Spector was “screaming, ranting and raving, ‘You’re not going. You’re not leaving. I’m not opening the door. ... I’ll blow you away. I’ll shoot you.”’
She said, “I went cold inside and I thought, ‘Oh, I can’t believe this. Not again.”’
She said her response was to again “get quite British and pull myself up to my full 4-foot-11 and sort of be, you know, like a teacher or a mum or a nanny — Stop that! Put that down! What’re you doing! It’s not OK with me! Knock it off!”
She said that the situation lasted a few hours and that she was sometimes left alone.
“Were you afraid this time?” Dixon asked.
“In all honesty I have to say, no,” she said, and added Spector eventually unlocked the door and let her go.
It was the end of their working relationship, she said, and she did not see him again until Tuesday in court.
She acknowledged she sold two stories to tabloids for a total of about $9,000. She said she was also interviewed for a book about Spector but not compensated.
After initially denying many of her statements in transcripts of interviews with district attorney’s investigators, Robitaille acknowledged she said she hoped the prosecution would win its case.
Defense attorney Roger Rosen confronted her with a transcribed statement to investigators saying: “I’m really reaching to give you want you want.” She denied she said it. She called the transcripts faulty.
She acknowledged that she watched televised testimony of three of the other women who told of gun incidents and that Tuesday was the first time she mentioned having a purse on her arm when she was threatened.
Rosen elicited that Robitaille was married at the time of her romance with Spector and that it was an extramarital affair. She said she did not tell her husband about being threatened and did not report either incident to authorities.
Spector’s defense rested, subject to review of records and introduction of exhibits. The judge said it was possible the defense could call a few more witnesses, but he told the jury that testimony is expected to end this week.
Spector created the “Wall of Sound” recording technique which transformed rock ’n’ roll in the 1960s. Clarkson appeared in the 1980s cult film “Barbarian Queen.”