Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

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

'It Was Like He Was Demonic'

Talent casting coordinator Dianne Ogden took the stand for the prosecution and described two harrowing experiences she'd had with Phil Spector in 1989. Ogden, who had worked as Spector's personal assistant in 1988, had attended a party at Spector's home in March 1989. When the party concluded and the other guests had departed, Ogden started to say goodbye to Spector when he suddenly picked up a rifle and started screaming at her. He pulled out a handgun and pressed it to her face, cursing and demanding that she stay. According to Ogden, Spector had been drinking during the party.

Dianne Ogden
Dianne Ogden

"He was not my Phil," Ogden testified. "He wasn't the man I loved... it wasn't him. It was like he was demonic."

She told the jury that Spector forced her at gunpoint to go to his bedroom, then tried to have intercourse with her but failed. The next morning she woke up to the sound of him singing in the shower.

Several weeks after that incident, Ogden attended a dinner party at Spector's home, and again Spector had been drinking. She testified that when she attempted to leave that night, he demanded that she stay and chased her with an Uzi submachine gun. She ran out to her car and locked herself inside, but he banged on the windows with the gun. She drove off and in the rearview mirror saw him pointing the weapon at her. From that time on, Ogden made sure she was never alone with Spector.

Stephanie Jennings
Stephanie Jennings

Photographer Stephanie Jennings told a similar story about Spector when she took the stand. In 1995, she was in New York City for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. She had met Spector the year before, and they had become "intimate," according to the Los Angeles Times. She testified that they were both staying at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan, but in separate rooms. One night during her stay there, she was asleep in her room when Spector's bodyguard knocked on her door and invited her up to Spector's suite on behalf of his boss. She declined the invitation and tried to go back to sleep when there was a second knock on the door. This time it was Spector himself, and he was clearly drunk. He demanded that she go to his suite with him.

"'I'm paying for this room,'" he allegedly told her. "'You'll come down to my suite if I tell you.'"

But she refused, and they argued. She fled to the bathroom in tears, and he ran after her. He slapped her, and she shoved him into the tub. He climbed out and blocked the door, pulling a handgun on her and telling her she couldn't leave. She later called the police but declined to press charges.

Under cross-examination, Jennings admitted that at the time of the incident she didn't think he would have shot her on purpose but feared that he might shoot her accidentally. Defense attorney Roger J. Rosen brought out that she had told the police that Spector had not pointed the gun at her.

"Were you lying then or are you lying now?" he asked, but Judge Fidler reprimanded him and told the jury to ignore the question.

Judge Fidler
Judge Fidler

Rosen then produced a contract that showed that the National Inquirer had paid Jennings $1,000 for photos of Spector and an interview about him.

Jurors later heard two angry taped telephone messages that Spector had left for Jennings after she didn't show up for his birthday party in 1996. In one message he threatened to put her out of business. The Los Angeles Times did a word count on the two messages and reported that "about 20 of the 166 words are profanities."

Another woman who had been acquainted with Spector told jurors of her experience with the record producer after he had been drinking. Melissa Grosvenor had been working as a waitress in New York City in 1992, when Spector invited her to spend some time with him in California. Upon her arrival, he took her out for dinner and drinks. They then went to his Pasadena home, where they danced. According to Grosvenor, Spector was "definitely a little drunk, slurring his words."

Melissa Grosvenor
Melissa Grosvenor

At 2 A.M., Grosvenor decided it was time to leave, and suddenly Spector's "whole demeanor changed." He left the living room and returned wearing a shoulder holster containing a handgun. He pulled the gun, held it to her face, and said, "'If you try to leave, I'm gonna kill you.'" She stayed in the chair she was sitting in, afraid of what he might do, and eventually fell asleep there with her handbag on her shoulder. Lana Clarkson's body was found sitting in a chair in the foyer of Spector's Alhambra mansion with her handbag similarly hanging from her shoulder.

The defense tried to discredit Grosvenor on cross-examination by questioning her about a prior conviction for embezzlement of funds from a bank where she had worked in 1989. Grosvenor admitted to having lied on an employment form and revealed that in 1992 Spector had paid half the cost of her eye surgery.

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