Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

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

'Dying Movements'

Neuropathologist Dr. Jan Leestma took the stand for the defense and testified that the position of Lana Clarkson's body when it was found was consistent with suicide. He explained that many people film their suicides and that he had studied these kinds of films to determine typical "dying movements." However, under cross-examination, Dr. Leestma admitted that he could not tell for certain whether Clarkson's death was a suicide or a homicide.

Phil Spector's Home
Phil Spector's Home

On August 9, 2007, the twelve jury members and six alternate jurors took a supervised field trip to Phil Spector's Alhambra mansion to see the crime scene for themselves. Spector was present, dressed casually in sandals, sweat pants, and a long-sleeve blue tee shirt, as the jurors filed into his home, which is known as Pyrenees Castle. One pool reporter was allowed to cover the hour-long visit, Linda Deutsch of the Associated Press.

Judge Fidler
Judge Fidler

Judge Fidler and court staff members watched as jurors were allowed to examine the foyer where Clarkson died. Four jurors chose to sit in a replica of the chair in which Clarkson's body was found. Enlarged photographs of key areas were provided as well as photographs of Clarkson's body as if was found. Jurors were denied access to the room where Spector's blood-spattered white jacket had been found.

A Ford Crown Victoria was parked in the courtyard where Spector's Mercedes had been parked on the night of Clarkson's death. Some jurors asked if they could get into the Ford with the engine and air-conditioning running to get a sense of the noise level chauffeur Andriano DeSouza experienced that night, but Judge Fidler denied their request, saying that the air-conditioning unit on the Ford might not be the same as on Spector's Mercedes. He also rejected a jury request for a loud noise to be produced inside the foyer while jurors stood outside.

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