Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

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

'It Was
Touching My Temple... Cold'

The prosecution next called rebuttal witness Devra Robitaille, a former employee and girlfriend of Spector's, who testified that Spector had pulled a gun on her on two occasions. The first incident occurred in the 1970s after a party at which Spector had been drinking. He locked the door to keep her from leaving, then put a gun to her head and threatened to pull the trigger if she tried to leave. "It was touching my temple," she testified. "Cold."

Devra Robitaille
Devra Robitaille

Robitaille, who is from London, said she "became very British" with him, demanding that he "knock it off, put it down." He complied and unlocked the door for her.

In 1987 Spector gave her a repeat performance after a party at his home in Pasadena where he was then living. According to Robitaille, Spector locked the door and threatened her with a shotgun, demanding that she stay with him. This time her stern nanny routine had no effect on him, and he held her captive for several hours.

On cross-examination she testified that she didn't think the shotgun was loaded and that "there was no screaming and yelling." She also admitted that she accepting $9,000 from a tabloid for an interview regarding her experiences with Spector.

Neuropathologist John Andrews took the stand next to rebut Dr. Michael Baden's testimony. Carefully giving background detail to support his testimony, Dr. Andrews explained why he did not believe that Lana Clarkson could have breathed after the gunshot. In disputing what he called "an innovative thought" on Baden's part, Dr. Andrews, who had also participated in Clarkson's autopsy, testified that even if a spinal chord is not completely severed by a bullet wound, it will go into "spinal shock," resulting in paralysis for a brief period. But he believed that Clarkson's spine had been completely severed by the bullet, preventing her from making any kind of movement.

As for the presence of fluids in the lungs, Dr. Andrews theorized that they could have entered in the hours her body remained upright in the foyer chair or when she was moved to the coroner's office. Another possible explanation is that her heart continued to beat for a brief time after the gunshot, building up enough pressure to transfer blood and fluids to the lungs.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Werner Spitz was called back to the stand by the prosecution to lend support to Dr. Baden's theory that Clarkson lived long enough to cough up blood onto Phil Spector. On cross-examination Deputy DA Alan Jackson asked Dr. Spitz if he agreed with Dr. Baden's theory that Clarkson's spine was only partially severed. Spitz seemed to be splitting hairs in his answers, unwilling to agree completely with Baden's view, which led to a long afternoon of contentious exchanges between Spitz and Jackson.

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