December 2nd, 2008
#17 James Hammond (Alhambra Police Detective [officer at time of shooting]; first responder to the scene and involved in the "take down" of Spector; testimony completed)
#18 David Riggs (Paramedic/Firefighter for Los Angeles County; responded to the shooting; evaluated Ms. Clarkson and pronounced her deceased; testimony completed)
#19 Mark Lillienfeld (Detective for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept.; responsible for the investigation at the scene of the shooting; currently under direct)
Accredited Press in the courtroom: None.
Another exhausting day for me. On top of that, I left my cell phone in the car when I was dropped off at the train station. It means I don't have an easy reference to what time it is in the courtroom. I have to turn around and look at the clock high on the wall behind me. And, I have to use a pay phone to call Mr. Sprocket when it's time to pick me up.
9:35 am: Rod Lindblom is here to sit with Mrs. Clarkson. I am the only other regular person in the courtroom besides Rachelle, the bodyguard and the sheriffs'. Before court, one of the defense assistants, a youngish looking bespeckled man who has worked with the defense exhibits when Jennifer Barringer is absent, approaches me in the hallway and thanks me for my trial coverage. I don't quite know what to make of it, but it was nice of him to say that and I thanked him back.
Jennifer is back and she introduces herself to two gentlemen in suits in the back row. I believe these are our next witnesses that will take the stand. Spector is wearing a black suit, black shirt, white tie and white kerchief. Rachelle was wearing a dark pantsuit. Her hair is up on her head in a butterfly clip. I've received an email from someone who's said they've seen a shocking photo on Rachelle's private MySpace page. I've not seen the photo and do not know if it is authentic. However, a detailed description and the caption with it has been passed on. Supposedly, TMZ has obtained a copy of the photo. If I obtain a copy of it and I can verify it's authenticity, I'll post it.
Wendy emerges from the jury room door and as it's opened a big round of laughter can be heard. It sounds like the group is getting along. Wendy announces to counsel that a juror has a doctor's appointment on Thursday, so court will be ending at 3:30 pm to accommodate that.
Truc presents James Hammond. He is currently a detective with the Alhambra Police Department. He's been an officer for 7 years and 4 months. At the time of the shooting, he was a patrol officer for 2 years. At the time, he was a sole unit patrol car. He did not have a partner. He received the radio call that shots had been fired. He know of the castle. It's an Alhambra landmark. Throughout his testimony, Hammond identifies various areas of the exterior grounds as well as the interior of the foyer. When he arrived at the scene, Officer Cardella was already in conversation with De Souza. He did not speak to De Souza directly; he was briefed by Cardella.
9:40 am: Pat Kelly from the PIO enters the courtroom and sits in the back row. Truc is wearing a form fitting black dress with three-quarter sleeves.
Hammond describes how one officer tried to break the camera at the front gate and when that was unsuccessful, someone threw a jacket over the camera. There were five officers in the "entry team." Hammond verifies Cardellas's testimony about proceeding to the garage, and walking in single file. He identifies the garage on the ELMO. He also verifies that he observed Spector through the big windows over the back entrance, which would be the stairwell landing area. The photograph of the back door does not depict how he saw the rear entrance from the garage. The Mercedes wasn't there; it was down the drive on the street with De Souza. He also testifies that the curtains were more "open" than what the image on the ELMO shows. Hammond states that he saw the subject with his arms crossed in front of his chest and his head appeared to be down. At this time, the officers were still concealed in the garage area. Hammond also describes seeing Spector exit the rear entrance.
Spector has his back to the jury and is looking at the images of his home on the ELMO. At that time, Truc is asking Hammond to identify Spector for the record. As he does, Spector finally turns and faces the witness.
Hammond's description of the next series of events is almost identical to Cardellas. Spector is given commands to get his hands out of his pockets. Hammond's memory of the wording that Cardella used is slightly different. He testifies that the command was an "..authoritative, police presence command to get his hands out of his pockets. [...] There was more force to the second command." He describes how Spector took his hands out of his pockets an then quickly put them back in. Truc asks him if he considered that a compliance with his command. Weinberg objects but he's over ruled. Hammond responds, "No." There was a third command for Spector to remove his hands from his pockets and come toward the officers.
When Spector reentered his residence the officers made a decision to follow him to keep an eye on him. Inside the residence he still wouldn't follow commands.
10 am: A homeless looking man enters and sits in the back row.
Hammond describes how Spector was tasered and that one probe did not hit Spector and fell to the ground. He described his own experience in being tased and that in his experience those who have been successfully tased fall to the ground. A decision is made to charge Spector. The witness slips up, and says Corporal P's name. Corporal P and Cardella force Spector to the ground. More photos of the death scene are put up and Hammond identifies on the ELMO where officers were. From Hammond's perspective, Ms. Clarkson's body was not disturbed during the take down. He identifies on the ELMO photo a pedestal that was knocked over on the tackling of Spector. It was against the stairwell, near the beginning of the banister.
Corporal P managed to get Spector in handcuffs. Hammond then describes Cardella rendering aid to Ms. Clarkson and checking her pulse. A close of up Lana is up on the ELMO showing her wrist area. At first, Hammond testifies that he knows there was a weapon, but he can't remember under which leg. He looks at his report to refresh his memory.
10:10 am: Detective Tomlin enters 106 and sits in the front row beside one of the DA's clerks. Every time I see him he is carrying this big, reddish brown file folder that appears packed with documents. A salt and pepper haired man enters and sits in the back row.
Hammond testifies that he didn't see the gun being kicked around. "There was nothing that was disturbed," he replies. Truc is now questioning Hammond on the statement Spector made in their presence. He says the tone, the demeanor appeared very nonchalant; like, "oh, yeah, by the way..." Hammond had no problems hearing Spector because of the fountain. He was 20? 50? feet away from Spector. I'm sorry, but I did not clearly hear how far away he said he was from Spector when he made the statement about seeing Clarkson's body.
Hammond testified in the first trial. He states that approximately 40 minutes had passed from the time he arrived until Spector was in handcuffs.
TD: For those 40 minutes before Mr. Spector was taken down, do you know what he was doing in the home?
JH: No, I do not.
Direct ends and cross begins.
Weinberg asks about when he received a subpoena, "About a month ago," and that he testified at the first trial. He asks Hammond if he was the "least senior officer" of the entry team. He question's Hammond about his knowledge of the castle, but he doesn't know any of it's history. There are quite a few questions about how long Cardella spoke to De Souza and if he knew what they talked about before he arrived. Hammond didn't have any answers to those questions.
Two young women that I've seen around the building enter and sit in the third row. Weinberg continues to cross Hammond on how long it took before they decided to enter the residence. He puts up on the ELMO a photo I've never seen before. It's an image from a camera on a police cruiser. It's dark, and the five officers are in shadow, following in line up the drive of the house. Hammond can't identify who's who. the time on the photo says 5:19:28 am. You can tell that at that time of the morning, it was still quite dark.
From what Hammond recalls, there was no command at the garage. This contradicts what Cardella testified. Weinberg asks Hammond if the curtains on the window from the landing were "more drawn." "I don't know what you mean," Hammond answers. "More closed? More open?" Weinberg smiles and says, "I stand corrected." He asks again, "More open?" Hammond responds, "Yes." "From that vantage point, you could tell where his eyes were?" Weinberg asks. "I think that misstates my testimony. I believe I said where his head was." Weinberg continues, "His head appeared down?" "Yes," says Hammond.
Looking over at the jury it appears that few notes are being taken by jurors 1-12. Well, except #7. That juror does take notes. Jurors 14-18 appear to take more notes than the rest.
Weinberg now starts with some, he admits, convoluted questions. "Is there anything you observed, [...]is there somehow inconsistent that would make you believe that he [Spector] wasn't coming out to greet you?" (This is referring to the statement Spector made about the "come see this" about Lana's body.) He presses on. "There was no physical event? No command? No sound that would explain... any noise... any activity that would explain why he came out [of the house]?" "No," Hammond answers.
Weinberg goes over in detail in his cross on the "exact wording" that Cardella used to command Spector to get his hands out of his pockets. Hammond says that he documented it in his report. He did not have quote marks around the statement Cardella made in his report. It's five and a half years later, and Hammond doesn't remember the exact wording. Weinberg asks, "His hands came out. Wasn't that compliant?" Hammond relents a bit and says, "Partially, yes." Weinberg asks, "The command wasn't get your hands up and keep them up was it?" Hammond says no. He doesn't remember Cardella using expletives in the command. He also doesn't have a present memory of the fountain being on or off.
Weinberg goes over the statement Spector made when he stepped out of the house. "You have got to come in and see this." That's the statement in Hammond's report. Hammond clarifies that the statement was made with no urgency in Spector's voice. At the time Weinberg is repeating this statement, he has his right arm over his head, and waving it, as if Spector might have done the same thing, and to try to push his version across, that Spector was addressing the officers, and inviting him into the residence.
Glancing around to the back of the courtroom I notice the homeless man is gone and so is the salt and pepper haired man.
Every time Weinberg says Spector's statement, "come on in" he's waving his right arm over his head, gesturing along with his questions.
Fidler announces that the times during testimony that the witness and Weinberg slip and say Corporal P's real name, that will be redacted from the transcript.
The morning break is called, and I walk around to stretch out my low back. Over in the ante room one of the bailiff's is hanging out and I go over to chat with him. Truc passes us and she's shivering. I address her for the first time ever and I ask if she has a jacket that she can put on. She tells me that one of the court reporters, Cindy, gave her a heater for under the table. It's real warm there now. I mention that I had suggested just that to AJ a few weeks ago when he mentioned how cold it was.
During the break a cute blond woman enters and sits in the back row.
Back on cross, Weinberg is now crossing Hammond about the take down and the tasering of Spector. He puts up the familiar photo of the taser wire under Lana's shoe. "Do you know how it got under there?" Hammond responds, "Could you define under? It's under her shoe and appears up against the heel." That photo of her shoe stays up on the ELMO for a bit now.
I observe Mrs. Clarkson position her body more facing the jury so she doesn't have to see any of the photos of her dead daughter's body up on the screen. She's got a Kleenex in her hand and as more of her daughter's body and position is discussed ad nauseum, she starts to silently cry.
More and more photos of Lana are put up on the screen. In each one, Weinberg is asking Hammond if it appears that her legs are closer together, or if the gun appears in a different position from the prior photo. Many photos are gone over like this. It's an interesting tactic by the defense. Each photo is taken from a different angle, and with Weinberg's questioning he's making it appear as if Lana's body was moved and/or the gun was moved. Weinberg does this exact same cross examination tactic with the next witness, too. The witness keeps stating that he's not the photographer of the photos, so he can't say. He tries to state that it appears the photos were taken from different angles.
There are a few more questions about his experience and evaluating the shooting scene as to whether or not there was a struggle in the room [between Spector and Lana].
Truc redirects her witness. Hammond clarifies from what he saw, Ms. Clarkson's body was not disturbed [during the take down]. She asks questions to rehab about the photos and camera angles. Hammond agrees that it appears as if there is a shadow under Lana's shoe that has the taser wire under it. She asks if there was a possibility that the wire ended up under her shoe by other personnel handling the crime scene. There's no AJ demonstration with a wire under his foot like in the first trial.
Weinberg performs recross. Hammond agrees that Spector was not ordered to come out of the house "with his hands up." Weinberg holds his own hands up as he asks the question. The next part, I may not have gotten correctly. I have in my notes that Weinberg asks, "So was he acting like a suspect?" But for some reason, I have in my mind the words were "not acting like." I'm not sure. Objection! Sustained. Fidler states he knows where Weinberg is going with this. Weinberg tells the court that he will move on. He then asks, "You don't see a shadow there, do you?" [Pointing to the heel in the photo of Lana's shoe with the taser wire.] "No, I do not," Hammond responds.
And that's it for this witness.
11:30 am: AJ presents the next witness, David Riggs. He's a paramedic firefighter who responded to the shots fired call. He describes a bit of his training and then testifies to what he did at the scene. He's not in uniform; he's wearing a suit. He states that he is qualified to make a determination of death.
The cute blond woman leaves the courtroom. When Riggs was finally allowed inside the residence, he entered up the front steps and through the front door. He describes the several tests he made to Lana's body to determine death. AJ has him describe everything he did, including where he touched Lana's body and the slight movement he made to her head to try to clear her airway. He testifies to the position he saw Lana's head in. "Her chin was down and her head was to the left." [...] To his recollection, he tried to place it back where he found it. He checked her carotid pulse using two fingers. He lifted one of her eyelids. He moved her jaw.
As more and more close up photos of Lana are put up on the ELMO during this questioning, Mrs. Clarkson turns her body away from the ELMO to face the jurors. Riggs testifies about the copious amounts of blood that were on the right lapel of the jacket.
The lunch recess is called.
When we are back in the courtroom, the bailiff brings over tissues for Mrs. Clarkson. Since I had gotten a bit teary eyed myself during the last part of the morning session, Mrs. Clarkson passes a few of the tissues back to me.
Before court begins, Weinberg puts some objections on the record. He objects to the other guns that were seized being brought into evidence. He objects to the Viagra being introduced into evidence and he objects to the DVD and the title of the DVD coming into evidence.
Fidler knows these are objections Weinberg is making for the record, so that they can be considered on appeal. Fidler ruled on most of these issues in the first trial, but he still asks the people to argue their position so that the first trial does not have to be referenced. AJ gets up and defends these items coming into this trial as evidence. He explains about the other weapons having the same ammunition in them as the weapon that killed Ms. Clarkson. The Viagra is evidence of a sexual overtone, along with the ambiance in the living room; candles, music. And he defends the DVD coming in. It was the one played. It's facts in evidence.
Weinberg argues in respect to the guns, there is no probative value. They were not involved in the shooting, and he goes on to try to get the entire contents of the valise removed from evidence. Fidler interrupts Weinberg and wants a refresher on his memory. There were some missing he asks. AJ explains that it was a three strip blister pack and two were missing. Fidler rules the Viagra comes in. Now onto the DVD. Weinberg wants the title of the DVD not mentioned. Fidler states that because of the title of the film, if it was just the title, he would tend to agree, that it is highly prejudicial, but it is evidence. He makes sure that the film doesn't have anything to do with suicide, and rules that the title of the film can come in, but the prosecution must mention that it is a mainstream film that was produced in the 30's or 40's. The title of the film is, almost prophetic: "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye."
1:48 pm: We're back with the jury in the room. More photos of Lana and her head in close up. The witness testifies that he was not the one who got the blood all smeared in the right side of her face, in her hair or blood in her right ear. There's more testimony about the blood around the bridge of her nose and other parts of her upper body.
2:00 pm: Spector's fan arrives and sits in the third row.
Riggs identifies the circular patches where he attached electrical leads to Lana's chest and her thighs to test for heart activity. You can see the round areas that the patches left on her clavicle area. He had to tear her stockings to attach the leads to her inner thigh areas. The result of the test was on heart activity. There's a special technical name for it. Fidler asks the witness to explain the word again. Mrs. Clarkson begins to cry again. Riggs states that he was told to leave the discarded patches on the ground. He did not try to resuscitate Lana.
Direct is finished.
As I write this, it's 11:00 pm, and I'm beat. I was supposed to sew this evening and I haven't touched several orders.
I'll try to sum up the defense cross. Weinberg puts up photo after photo after photo. Different camera angles. He keeps asking the witness if "this" was the way he found Ms. Clarkson or if the next photo was the way he found her. The different camera angles make it appear as if the gun is in a different spot, Lana's legs are in a different spot; her head and chin are in a different spot; several differences. It's the same tactic Weinberg used with the prior witness. Towards the end of the cross, he shows Riggs an odd angle view of Lana's head, and the witness agrees that it appears that Lana's chin is no longer resting downward onto her chest. The defense scores with getting the witness to admit this. To me, I can tell that it's just a camera angle and the head looks different, but can the jury tell the difference? Weinberg also gets this witness to admit that it was "possible" that he moved her head to the left.
Mrs. Clarkson puts her Kleenex to her nose.
Under redirect, AJ gets the witness to clarify that when he stated it was "possible" he moved her head, he was specifically talking about the "jaw" area. AJ clarifies his testimony. Did you smear the blood on the right side of her face? Did you smear it here, on her ears? Did you spear it here, on her ears? No; No; No.
During the redirect, Wendy's phone goes off. Fidler says, "Nice ring tone, Wendy. Now leave the room." The courtroom laughs a bit. AJ asks, "Was that country music? I like where your head's at."
He tries to get the witness to state that the photos up on the ELMO are taken from different angles...but Weinberg is successful in his objections. Fidler states that there are other ways to get this in. Fidler does comment a few times on the camera angles and something about the jury understanding different perspectives, but I'm not quite sure exactly what Fidler said, in referencing the jury. AJ keeps trying though. Riggs clarifies that he used his hand to squeeze only the two fingers of Lana's hand and not her entire hand.
Weinberg recrosses about the angle of Lana's head and whether or not her chin was moved; wasn't moved.
The afternoon break is called. Spector's fan greets him and they hug. When we return from break, Detective Mark Lillienfeld is on the stand. He's been employed with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for 28 years. He's been a homicide detective for 17 years.
Lillienfeld states the Sheriff's Dept. took over the crime scene from the Alhambra Police Department. The lead detectives on the case were Rich Tomlin and Tom Fortier. Lillienfeld was tasked to lead at the crime scene. Lillienfeld states that the property is huge, over three acres and it's terraced. The home is over 8500 sq. ft.
He spent about 30 hours total at the residence, not all at once. He did take a break and returned the next day. He testifies that he had many conversations in the motor court area near the fountain. Approximately 12-15 conversations there. He could hear perfectly. No raised voices were needed. AJ asks if the fountain was something you had t oscream over. No, he replied. Lillienfeld testifies as to how Lana's purse was hanging on her shoulder, but the strap was turned, crossed.
In identifying photos of the taser wire under Lana's foot, AJ asks, "Is it that the wire could have been caught on the foot of one of the crime scene investigators and dragged under Lana's shoe?
Objection! Fidler responds, That's getting into speculation.
But it's a great question to have out there and leave in the jurors mind even though he wasn't allowed to answer. It's a tactic that Weinberg has also used, to try to get the jury to thinking in a way he wants them to.
AJ then has detective Lillienfeld identify lots of photos of Lana's body. He was the officer who directed the photographer to take photos from many different angles. It's a very clever remedy to the tactic Weinberg used during his cross. Lillienfeld explains the photos from various different angles and perspectives. AJ presents photos we've seen before, of two different perspectives of Lana's legs and a placard that's placed near an item of evidence. In one photo, the placard appears to be three feet away. In another angle, it appears to be quite a bit closer.
AJ asks Lillienfeld, "Did you move that placard closer to her leg?"
AJ then does the same thing with photos of the gun next to Lana's leg. Like a machine gun, he's rapid firing questions to Lillienfeld about the photos. In one photo, from the other side of the body, the gun is not visible. AJ asks, "Where's the gun? Did you move the gun?" Each and every time, Lillienfeld explains that it's the camera angle, and that he didn't move any evidence or placards or the gun.
Lillienfeld testifies about the gun, identifies the gun for the jurors, a 38 caliber six shot 2 inch barrel colt cobra, and identifies the holster found in the open dresser drawer. He testifies that he opened the drawer about an inch more than it's original position. He also identifies the ammunition that was found in the weapon.
That's it. Testimony is over for the day. There will be no more detailed notes beyond these. These notes will be edited and cleaned up sometime over the next few days.