Blood spray from shooting victim Lana Clarkson was not found on a wall near her body or on the carpet in front of it, suggesting something could have blocked it, a criminalist testified today (June 11
Blood spray from shooting victim Lana Clarkson was not found on a wall near her body or on the carpet in front of it, suggesting something could have blocked it, a criminalist testified today (June 11) in music producer Phil Spector's murder trial.
The testimony was elicited by the prosecution, which is seeking to show that Spector pulled the trigger of a revolver that was inside the mouth of the actress, whose body was found slumped in a chair in the foyer of his Alhambra, Calif., home.
Steve Renteria, a Los Angeles County sheriff's criminalist who set up the department's DNA program in 1994, said he sprayed the area around Clarkson's body with Luminol, a chemical designed to detect blood unseen by the naked eye. Oddly, he said, there was no blood on the wall next to her body or on the carpet.
"Had there been blood spray, would Luminol have detected it?" asked prosecutor Alan Jackson. "Yes, definitely," said Renteria.
"Is an explanation for the lack of blood that something was standing between Ms. Clarkson and the wall, blocking it?" asked Jackson. "That is one explanation, yes," said the witness.
Clarkson died of a gunshot about 5 a.m. on Feb. 3, 2003, after going home with Spector from her job as a nightclub hostess. The defense contends she shot herself with the gun, which investigators found at her feet.
Renteria said scientific evidence showed that Spector's and Clarkson's DNA were both found on a pair of brandy snifters in the house, only Clarkson's DNA was found in the blood that dried on the gun and tests of Clarkson's wrists yielded DNA primarily from her but included a "minor donor" who was Spector.
On the two brandy snifters, one found on a coffee table in the living room and one on a counter in the bathroom, Renteria said testing results were "consistent with two DNA donors, Lana Clarkson and Phil Spector ... Phil Spector was the major donor." He said the material probably came from their lips.
Renteria testified that an old-fashioned cloth Curity diaper found in a downstairs bathroom contained three bloodstains matching Clarkson's DNA and a fourth stain with Clarkson's DNA and a little bit of DNA that could only be identified as male.
The prosecutor also elicited from the witness that not finding Spector's DNA on the gun doesn't mean that Spector didn't touch it. Renteria said that a certain DNA may be present but in such a small amount that it is overwhelmed by the presence of a large amount of other DNA.
The defense is expected to seize on the fact that the investigation did not show Spector's DNA on the gun to argue that Clarkson pulled the trigger herself. The prosecution will argue that Spector wiped off the gun at some point.
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