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Grisly Scene Described in Spector Case

Times Staff Writer

Actress Lana Clarkson died of a single gunshot wound to the mouth at rock producer Phil Spector’s Alhambra mansion in February, according to search warrants unsealed Tuesday in the rock music producer’s murder case.

Her broken teeth lay scattered around the foyer and a nearby stairway, and blood was smeared on the wood railing of the stairway and the back door handle. Detectives also discovered blood on a man’s coat in an upstairs dressing room and found a blood-soaked cloth in a bathroom near the foyer, the court papers said. Law enforcement sources said the blood belonged to Clarkson.

The revelations came in search warrants, affidavits and other papers ordered released by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Carlos Uranga at the request of The Times.

Prosecutors charged Spector, 63, in November with murdering Clarkson, a nightclub hostess and aspiring actress, on Feb. 3. He is free on $1-million bail and faces a possible life sentence if convicted.

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Spector’s driver, Adriano Desouza, told investigators he had driven his boss to four bars on the night of Clarkson’s death. Court papers state that Spector had drinks at all four. At the House of Blues, where he met Clarkson, he ordered an $8.50 alcoholic drink and a $5 bottle of water, and left a tip of $450.

About 3:30 a.m., Desouza dropped Spector and Clarkson off in front of the 12,000-square-foot home before driving around to the back, the court papers said. About 10 minutes later, Spector came outside and got a brown leather briefcase from the Mercedes limousine.

Just before 5 a.m., Desouza told police, he heard a single gunshot. Spector came outside with a gun in his hand, the affidavits said, and told his driver that he thought he had killed someone.

The smearing of Clarkson’s blood around the house may indicate that Spector tried to clean up after the shooting, law enforcement sources said Tuesday.

But Spector’s attorney, Robert Shapiro, has said that evidence compiled by his team of scientific experts showed that the shooting was not a homicide, and that a jury would conclude that his client is not guilty.

In his only public statement since the killing, Spector told a magazine interviewer that Clarkson, 40, had committed suicide.

A coroner’s report on the shooting concluded that gunshot residue appeared on both of Clarkson’s hands. “Therefore the decedent may have discharged a firearm or had ... hands otherwise in an environment of gunshot residue,” according to the report, portions of which were read to The Times on Tuesday.

According to the coroner’s report, the medical examiner based his conclusion that the shooting had been a homicide on statements in law enforcement reports that Spector had had the gun in his hand when it discharged, and that the murder weapon had been taken from a holster in a drawer at the house. In addition, there was no evidence that Clarkson had a history of suicide attempts or that she had left a note, the report said.

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Detectives searched Spector’s home after Alhambra police responded to a 911 call from his driver and found Clarkson’s body slumped on a chair in the foyer.

“She had what appeared to be a single entry gunshot wound to the mouth,” according to an affidavit signed by Sheriff’s Det. Mark Lillienfeld.

She was wearing a black dress and black shoes, and a leopard-print purse hung from her right shoulder. In the living room, candles burned on a fireplace mantel and a brandy glass, a tequila bottle and a soft drink sat on a coffee table, according to court documents.

Detectives also found a bloody, .38-caliber, six-shot revolver under Clarkson’s leg. There were five live cartridges in the cylinder and a spent cartridge under the hammer. The gun was one of 10 firearms recovered from the Alhambra mansion, according to the court papers.

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Detectives seized several other items, including computers, a camcorder, gun holsters and ammunition. They also recovered a lever for a deadbolt lock for the back door and a wet hand towel from the sink top.

In addition to searching Spector’s home, detectives searched three cars and obtained phone and bank records.

Times staff writer Richard Winton contributed to this report.


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