Phil Spector Jurors Visit Crime Scene
Thursday, August 9, 2007; 8:22 PM
ALHAMBRA, Calif. -- Phil Spector and his wife somberly stood arm in arm Thursday as they watched jurors weave under crystal chandeliers, past a suit of armor and to the red-carpeted foyer in the music producer's mansion, where actress Lana Clarkson died.
In every room there were blowup photos that have been in evidence at Spector's murder trial, showing the scenes the jurors were viewing. There were several bloody photographs of Clarkson's body slumped in a chair in the foyer.
Some jurors, trying to duplicate the crime scene, sat in a replica of the chair in the position in which the actress was found on Feb. 3, 2003, dead of a bullet wound through the mouth.
Prosecutors say Spector killed Clarkson, 40, when she tried to leave the house. Defense lawyers say she killed herself.
Jurors and lawyers arrived at the home, 15 miles northeast of Los Angeles, shortly before 10:30 a.m. They were greeted by an imposing entryway and a large sign that read "Phil Spector's Pyrenees Castle."
After jurors took a first run-through of the house, they gathered outside and formulated a list of things that they wanted to see and do, which they presented to Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler.
They were denied a request to see a room upstairs where Spector's blood-spattered jacket was found. They requested a virtual re-enactment of Clarkson's death, asking whether someone could close the doors and set off a loud noise inside while they waited outside. They also asked if someone could stand in the doorway and speak in a normal voice.
After conferring with the lawyers, the judge rejected both requests.
During the visit, several jurors also sat in a car in the courtyard that was placed there to replicate the vehicle Spector's chauffeur was sitting in when he said he heard Spector at a door to the home saying, "I think I killed somebody."
The chauffeur's statements have been attacked by the defense, which contends he could not have clearly heard what Spector said.
The judge denied a request to let jurors sit in the car with the door closed and the air conditioning on. The car is only a duplicate and may have a different air conditioning system from Spector's Mercedes, Fidler said.
Jurors stayed for a little more than an hour. In that time, they saw little evidence of Spector's storied career in the music business other than a poster on a living room wall with John Lennon's name on it and coffee table books about Elvis Presley and his Graceland mansion.
Spector is accused of murdering Clarkson after she went home with him for a drink. The question of where Spector was standing when she was shot and how far blood can travel have been key issues in the case.
Prosecutors contend that blood spatter on Spector's jacket got there when he shot Clarkson. The defense says Clarkson shot herself and the spatter could have hit him when he stood as far as six feet away.
Jurors later returned to the courthouse, where the judge told them testimony might conclude by the end of next week.
He also said defense attorney Linda Kenney-Baden has "an undiagnosed virus," adding he couldn't say when she might be able to return to the trial. He suggested there may be a few days off while the court awaits word on her condition.
Kenney-Baden is expected to deliver the defense's final argument on scientific evidence.
Witness Devra Robitaille had been expected to testify after Thursday's tour, but prosecutors decided to delay her testimony until the defense rests. She is expected to be the fifth woman to testify that Spector threatened her with a gun.
Spector, 67, gained fame with his "Wall of Sound" music recording technique on hits such as "Be My Baby" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling." Clarkson found modest fame as the star of a cult movie, "Barbarian Queen," in the 1980s, but was working as a nightclub hostess at the time of her death.