- The Washington Times - Monday, May 28, 2007

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Phil Spector murder trial is going “CSI.”

After five weeks of dramatic personal stories about the music producer and the B-movie actress fatally shot in his home, prosecutors are shifting their focus today to science and the critical forensic evidence.

There will be discussions of blood spatter, fibers, gunshot residue, DNA and the path a bullet took when it killed actress Lana Clarkson.

A coroner and crime lab technicians are due on the witness stand beginning today to explain how such evidence can offer insight into what happened at Mr. Spector’s castlelike mansion on Feb. 3, 2003.

A gunshot that lasted a second will be dissected for days.

“The prosecution has to show that the forensic evidence is consistent with their theory that Spector pulled the trigger or forced her to pull the trigger,” said Loyola University law professor Laurie Levenson.

“This is a critical stage because this is where the defense has their focus,” she said.

In opening statements, defense attorney Linda Kenney-Baden said science would be the silent witness.

“We have one unimpeachable witness who has no motive to lie, no memory problems, no language problems, and that witness is science,” said Miss Kenney-Baden, whose specialty is forensic evidence. Her husband, Michael Baden, a renowned forensic pathologist, is expected to testify for the defense.

But first, the prosecution will present its own experts, most from the police crime lab and coroner’s office. Prosecutors will call no outside experts, although they could have some waiting to testify in their rebuttal if necessary.

“Lana Clarkson will have to tell her story through the evidence and from the grave,” prosecutor Alan Jackson said in his opening statement.

Miss Clarkson’s body, with a gunshot wound through the mouth, was found seated in the foyer of Mr. Spector’s suburban Alhambra mansion. She had met Mr. Spector at the House of Blues, where she was a hostess, early that morning and agreed to accompany him to his home.

Jurors have seen gory photos of her bloody face. Her mother and sister averted their eyes at the sight, but they and two lawyers representing them have been present every day of testimony.

The prosecution built its case against Mr. Spector in three phases. The first focused on Mr. Spector’s past, presenting four women who said the legendary record producer threatened them at gunpoint in the 1980s and ‘90s. The witnesses — Joan Rivers’ former manager, a music talent coordinator, a waitress and a freelance photographer — told of being terrorized by Mr. Spector after he had been drinking. Each said he pulled a gun when they said they were leaving.

Defense attorneys say Miss Clarkson shot herself.

The trial’s second phase focused on the hours before Miss Clarkson’s death, with witnesses describing Spector’s night on the town — visiting four different restaurants and clubs with different women, traveling in a chauffeured Mercedes and drinking liquor at each stop.

Mr. Spector, 67, rose to fame in the 1960s and ‘70s, changing rock music with what became known as the “Wall of Sound” recording technique. Miss Clarkson was best known for a 1980s role in producer Roger Corman’s “Barbarian Queen.”

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide