A Hint On Phil Spector's Story

Phil Spector is shown in this Jan. 12, 1993 file photo taken in Los Angeles. Spector, the legendary record producer whose work changed the sound of pop music in the 1960s, was arrested Monday, Feb. 3, 2003 for investigation of homicide after the body of a woman was found at a mansion in suburban Los Angeles AP (file)

Phil Spector will contend the shooting death of an actress at his suburban mansion last week was accidental, a close friend of the legendary music producer said.

"I believe his defense will be that this was a tragic accident," said Marvin Mitchelson, a prominent Los Angeles attorney who has been friends with Spector for about 12 years and has traveled extensively with him.

Mitchelson said Tuesday he could not provide details of how an accidental shooting might have occurred, but said: "I've spoken with various individuals connected with the case, and I'm 100 percent certain it's not a homicide."

Mitchelson said he had not spoken directly with Spector since the producer's arrest Feb. 3 at his $1.1 million home in the Los Angeles suburb of Alhambra.

Spector, 62, remains free on $1 million bond. Sheriff's investigators have not yet presented a case to the district attorney's office.

"We haven't seen any evidence yet, so we can't comment," district attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.

She said she expects the case to be presented to the district attorney sometime before Spector's March 3 arraignment.

Spector's lawyer, Robert Shapiro, who once represented O.J. Simpson, has refused to discuss the case publicly.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Dan Rosenberg said his department has decided to make no comments about what investigators have discovered.

"Our role is to complete a very comprehensive, unbiased investigation," he said. "We know that he will be going to trial, and we don't want to taint the jury pool. We want to give Mr. Spector the opportunity to have a fair trial."

Meanwhile, another close friend of Spector who spoke on condition of anonymity said that Lana Clarkson's body was found seated, slumped in an antique chair in the foyer of Spector's home. She had been shot in the face.

Clarkson, 40, an actress who was working as a hostess at the House of Blues, had met Spector once before at the club, the friend said. But the night she accompanied him home in his chauffeur-driven limousine was their first date, the friend said.

The friend said there were no witnesses to the shooting and no one else in the house when it occurred. The friend indicated the gun was owned by Spector and that there may have been more than one gun in the house. Spector was known to collect guns.

After Clarkson's death, stories circulated about Spector's history of carrying a gun and sometimes waving it around in recording studios.


By Linda Deutsch
  • Jaime Holguin

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