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Spector’s Attorneys Dispute Evidence

Times Staff Writer

Defense attorneys for record producer Phil Spector said Thursday that their medical experts’ conclusions contradict the findings by the Los Angeles County coroner on how actress Lana Clarkson died last year.

The coroner’s office concluded that Clarkson’s death was a homicide. But Spector’s attorneys said they consulted forensic scientists who determined that the physical evidence shows that Clarkson shot herself.

“The physical evidence is not consistent with homicide,” defense attorney Marcia Morrissey said in an interview. “The coroner rejected the obvious implication of the evidence -- that this was a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

Morrissey and fellow defense attorney Leslie Abramson released the coroner’s report on Thursday. The report shows that Clarkson was killed with the gun in her mouth. The document released Thursday confirmed earlier reports that gunshot residue was found on Clarkson’s hands and “the decedent may have discharged a firearm.”

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Clarkson also had a broken thumbnail, which defense attorneys say supports their argument that she fired the gun, according to the report. Toxicology records show that Clarkson’s body tested positive for alcohol and hydrocodone, an addictive painkiller. Clarkson died Feb. 3, 2003, from a single gunshot wound from a .38-caliber revolver, which was found under Clarkson’s leg.

Prosecutors charged Spector in November with murder. They allege that he killed her at his Alhambra mansion after meeting her that night at the House of Blues.

He is free on $1-million bail and could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.

Spector’s driver, Adriano Desouza, told investigators he was waiting outside after he dropped the two off at the mansion when he heard a single gunshot. Spector came outside with a gun in his hand, according to allegations in court files, and told Desouza that he thought he had killed someone.

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