Music producer Phil Spector's second jury will tour his Alhambra, Calif., mansion where actress Lana Clarkson died of a gunshot wound, just as the first jury did, despite prosecution objections.
Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler rejected the objections yesterday (Jan. 26), but laid down strict rules. The final phases of Spector's second murder trial will continue today.
The judge said Spector's young wife Rachelle can't be present in sight of the jurors during the tour and a burbling fountain in the courtyard may have to be turned off.
Prosecutors complained that during the first jury's tour, Spector tried to manipulate the fountain to suggest a chauffeur could not have heard him clearly when he allegedly said, "I think I killed somebody."
Deputy district attorneys Alan Jackson and Truc Do gave the judge e-mail exchanges they obtained between Spector and his first defense team in which a jury consultant suggested "the fountain be on full bore."
During the first jury's tour, the panelists asked to have the fountain turned on and off so they could hear the ambient noise from it. Fidler agreed to consider having the fountain on if it is found that there is only an on-off switch and no way to manipulate the sound.
Defense attorney Doron Weinberg wants to duplicate the scene on Feb. 3, 2003, when Clarkson came there with Spector. A time for the tour was not immediately set but was expected to take place next week.
The prosecutors also gave the judge an e-mail from Spector to the lawyers in his first trial threatening in expletive-punctuated statements to create a scene if prosecutors tried to stage manage the situation at his home.
"You better take control of the situation or I will," he wrote. "... I have a big mouth."
Spector, 68, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Clarkson, 40, a blonde beauty who became a 1980s cult figure following her starring role in the film "Barbarian Queen."
The new jury must decide the same question that ultimately stumped the first: Did Spector, a man known for threatening people with guns, shoot Clarkson, or did the actress, down on her luck and despondent about her future, turn a gun on herself?
The first jury heard five months of testimony and deadlocked 10-2 with the majority favoring conviction. The current trial has been under way for nine weeks.
Weinberg opened his defense case with testimony from the Los Angeles County medical examiner. He questioned why a "psychological autopsy" was not performed on Clarkson, exploring her emotional condition to determine if she might have committed suicide.
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