Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Phil Spector: The 'Mad Genius' of Rock'n'Roll

'Their Whole Case Is DeSouza.'

Andriano DeSouza, Phil Spector's chauffeur on the night of Lana Clarkson's death, testified that Spector came out of his mansion at around 5:00 A.M. on February 3, 2003, holding a revolver in his bloody hand. According to DeSouza, Spector said to him, "I think I killed somebody." Deputy DA Alan Jackson repeatedly referred to this statement as Spector's confession.

Andriano DeSouza
Andriano DeSouza

But lead defense attorney Bruce Cutler scoffed at the statement, calling it "five words allegedly said to someone taking a siesta." He characterized DeSouza, who is from Brazil, as an illegal immigrant who was working in the United States on a student visa, and whose knowledge of the English language was limited. Cutler called into question the accuracy of DeSouza's interpretation of whatever Spector said that morning, saying that the driver was "full of snacks and cookies and water and sound asleep, sitting in a closed car with the heat on, and the radio on, and the fountain going," referring to a gushing water fountain on Spector's property. "Their whole case is DeSouza," Cutler said.

Bruce Cutler
Bruce Cutler

But DeSouza proved to be a strong witness for the prosecution. He testified that he had started studying English at age 13 in Brazil, and on the stand he had no problem understanding questions or communicating his answers, though he admitted that his English had improved in the four years since Lana Clarkson's death. Wearing a trim black suit, the former Brazilian Army officer, who holds a bachelor's degree in computer science, testified that he had driven Spector and Clarkson to Spector's mansion that night and that Spector had smelled of alcohol.

On cross-examination, defense attorney Bradley Brunon asked DeSouza if he had understood Spector that night and asked him to describe Spector's voice.

Phil Spector
Phil Spector

"I'm not good at describing stuff," DeSouza replied and instead imitated Spector's nasal voice, "Adriano, Adriano, go to the Grill." The jury could not contain their laughter.

When asked about Spector's alleged inebriation, DeSouza testified, "I cannot say he was drunk, but he was not the same person he was when I start the job at 7 PM."

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