Spector defense: Clarkson had 'self-inflicted' wound

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Scientific evidence will show that the gun that killed actress Lana Clarkson was not forced into her mouth and the manner of her death was "a classic self-inflicted type of injury," Phil Spector's attorneys told the jury Thursday in opening statements of the record producer's murder trial.

"The gun was in her mouth, put there by her," attorney Bruce Cutler told the panel. "There's no evidence that a gun was forced in her mouth. There were no broken teeth in," he said, motioning inward.

Clarkson's body, with a gunshot wound through the mouth, was found seated in the foyer of Spector's suburban Alhambra mansion early on the morning of Feb. 3, 2003. She had met Spector at the House of Blues, where she was a hostess, and agreed to accompany him on a chauffeur-driven ride to his home.

The prosecution outlined its case Wednesday, largely previewing testimony that will be given by four women who claim that in past years Spector threatened them with guns in scenarios similar to the Clarkson case.

Cutler sought to show that Clarkson had a good time during the drive watching the old James Cagney movie "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye."

"How prophetic," the defense attorney said.

In a wide-ranging attack on the case against Spector, Cutler asserted that police immediately had "murder on their mind" and disregarded anything inconsistent with that conclusion.

"As a result of 'murder on their mind' they interviewed and acted in such a way that anything that was consistent, the evidence will show, with their preconceived notions and theories they embraced. And anything that was not consistent or inconsistent with that 'murder on their mind' they ignored," he said.

Cutler attacked the prosecution's plan to call the women witnesses to testify of being threatened by Spector in the past. He said that had it not been for the Clarkson killing no one would have ever heard from them and pointed out that they never filed charges against Spector or sued him civilly.

"These incidents were not a pattern," he said. "They were isolated spats over 20 years."

The latter characterization appeared to be part of a strategy to use terms with less negative connotations.

"Phillip's home was not a crime scene, it was a death scene," Cutler said at one point.

Cutler's co-counsel Linda Kenney-Baden took over the opening statement to give an overview of scientific evidence, which she asserted was an unbiased "witness" in the case. She characterized the fatal shot as a classic self-inflicted wound.

Kenney-Baden said she didn't mean to appear callous in discussing Clarkson's death but that science required details.

The remark appeared to be directed to Clarkson's mother, Donna, and sister, Fawn, who were seated in the front row of the courtroom.

"The science will tell you that Phil Spector was not holding the gun in the decedant's mouth, that he was not close enough ... to hold the gun in the decedant's mouth," Kenney-Baden said





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