Testimony Opens In Spector Murder Retrial

A security guard for Joan Rivers testified today (Nov. 3) that music producer Phil Spector was ejected from two of the star's Christmas parties for brandishing a gun and declaring that all women shoul

A security guard for Joan Rivers testified today (Nov. 3) that music producer Phil Spector was ejected from two of the star's Christmas parties for brandishing a gun and declaring that all women should be shot.

Vincent Tannazzo, a retired New York City police detective who now occasionally works for Rivers, testified that Spector at a party turned toward a woman leaving and said, "I ought to put a bullet in her head right now."

He also said Spector was "ranting" and that he used an obscenity to describe women.

"He kept saying (the obscenity) over and over again," Tannazzo testified. "He was out of control. He was just yelling over and over again."

Spector is being retried on charges of murdering 40-year-old actress Lana Clarkson, who died of a gunshot in Spector's mansion in 2003. The jury in Spector's first trial deadlocked last year on a 10-2 vote with the majority favoring conviction on second-degree murder.

Tannazzo testified Spector repeatedly used the word at two holiday parties a year apart and that Spector said, "They all deserve a bullet in their heads." He said he didn't know whether Rivers was notified of the incidents but her manager Dorothy Melvin, who was dating Spector, asked Tannazzo to eject Spector from one Christmas party.

Melvin is one of five women set to testify about Spector's past use of guns and threats to women, some more than 30 years ago. Her testimony was expected later today.

Defense attorney Doron Weinberg attacked Tannazzo's account, saying Tannazzo changed the dates he had given for the incidents when he testified at Spector's trial last year.

Tannazzo said he couldn't remember what years that the parties occurred. He said he worked for Rivers for seven or eight years and still does occasional work for the TV personality.

For the second time during the retrial, Weinberg called for a mistrial, saying that the prosecution's focus on incidents in Spector's past had turned the trial into a character assassination rather than an examination of the facts.

He said Spector should not be judged on five incidents occurring over more than 30 years.

But Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler said he was allowing the women's testimony "for a very limited purpose," which he would explain to jurors later.


AP LogoCopyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.