Phil Spector, who has testified that actress Lana Clarkson shot herself in his home in 2003, initially told police that he shot her by "accident," according to recently released grand-jury transcripts.
In the five volumes documenting secret grand-jury proceedings recently obtained by The Los Angeles Times, Alhambra Police Officer Beatrice Rodriguez testified that when police arrived at the music producer's home after the shooting, Spector said "What's wrong with you guys? What are you doing? I didn't mean to shoot her. It was an accident."
Spector has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering Clarkson at his Alhambra, California, home on February 3, 2003 (see "Grand Jury Indicts Phil Spector On Murder Charges"). In a 2003 interview with Esquire magazine, Spector suggested that Clarkson may have committed suicide (see "Phil Spector Says Slain Actress 'Kissed The Gun' Before Killing Herself"). The producer is free on $1 million bail; if convicted of murder, he could face life in prison.
According to the Times — which reported on the contents of the transcripts on Friday after several media organizations, including the Times and The Associated Press, won a legal battle to unseal the documents — the transcripts show that Spector allegedly implicated himself in the crime.
Spector's driver, Adriano Desouza, reportedly testified that he heard a shot while he waited outside the house, and three minutes later saw Spector emerge holding a revolver. Desouza said that Spector then told him, "I think I killed somebody," but that when he pressed the producer for further details, Spector shrugged his shoulders and remained silent.
Spector himself did not testify before the grand jury, but jurors did hear the testimonies of three women who each said that Spector had separately threatened them with a gun in the past. According to the transcripts, Deputy Los Angeles County District Attorney Doug Sortino told the grand jury that the testimonies of those women showed that Spector was guilty of implied malice and that he acted in an "inherently dangerous" way, which proved he could be responsible for murder.
Two women who dated Spector in the 1990s testified that Spector had threatened them, separately, with a gun to keep them from leaving his home and a New York hotel room. Another woman, Deborah Strand, testified that at a 1999 party she saw a man she later found out was Spector flicking cigar ash on top of her boyfriend's dog after it jumped on him. Strand said she told Spector he could leave, and the producer turned, pointed a gun at her right cheek and said, "What are you going to say now?"
Several of Clarkson's friends also testified in the trial, saying she was looking forward to getting married and starting a family.
The order sealing the grand-jury transcripts was lifted on Wednesday. According to the Times, late Thursday evening Spector's defense requested that the California Supreme Court block their release.