Thursday, February 12, 2009

Paid Expert Testimony - Commentary on Firearm Physics in the Phil Spector Trial

Guest Entry by Mort Snerd!

Can an Expert’s Opinion be a Lie?

- Cartridge was a Smith & Wesson .158 grains +P with a velocity of 800 feet per second and with an impact of 185 foot pounds

- The gun used to fire this cartridge was a Colt Cobra pre-1972 model with a 2” barrel (Aluminum frame)

- The gun was inserted into Lana Jean Clarkson’s mouth 2 inches (from the position of the stellite wound on the tongue)

- The Colt Cobra weighs 15 ounces and with cartridges 16 ounces (one pound)

- The recoil of this gun would measure 19 foot pounds per second with a standard 6 grains of powder in retail S&W .38 Special +P ammo

- The bullet will exit the gun in 2 ms (.002 seconds) after the hammer hits the primer (Initial velocity of 800 feet per second)

- The center of momentum of the Colt Cobra is 1.5 inches above the center of the opposition force (the fist) thus giving a vertical force of 4 foot/pounds and a backward force of 15 foot/pounds to the shooters hand

* This will cause the average person’s arm to start a movement backwards and somewhat smaller upwards vector at the instant the gun was fired (even before the bullet exits the barrel). Imagine dropping a 4 pound object from a height of one foot on your hand or a 15 pound object dropping from a height of one foot. You can now understand why Lana Clarkson’s front upper teeth were embedded on the front sight of Phil Spector’s gun.

* Check the picture to see an outline of a mouth and teeth with Phil Spector’s hand holding a revolver in that mouth

- Blood spatter (spatter is defined as 2.0 or less millimeters in size) can only go in a straight line and only in the clear space between the gun and hand and the pink circle

- Bullet will impact the lining at the back of the mouth in another 2 ms (two more inches of travel)

* The fist holding the gun will cast a shadow or void on anything in front of Lana Clarkson’s face

- Back spatter will start to exit the mouth (equal but opposite reaction) in another 8 ms (as the velocity will be cut in half)

- According to Linda Kenny Baden, the pressure inside the gun at the moment of discharge was 50,000 pounds per square foot. (More like 38,000 as the gun was too short) but as she is the expert scientific attorney

- When the bullet exited the gun, the volume of space occupied by the gas had tripled thus give us a pressure of about 16,000psi and the gas has the same velocity as the bullet at 800 feet per second

- 2 ms. later the bullet impacts the back of the mouth and starts to create blood mist due to its impact force of 185 foot pounds

- The gas from the “explosion” is now in a volume 15 times larger with a pressure of 1,000 pounds per square inch and is cooling rapidly and decreasing the pressure again by half to about 500 pounds per square inch

- The gas expelled from the gun being lighter than the bullet will slow down faster but it does not stop and reverse direction. Think of blowing out candles. 60 to 80 percent of the gas would travel into the deceased’s lungs and slowly be exhaled by the weight of the lungs and chest. The force now driving blood spatter out of the victim’s mouth is now reduced to about 100 pounds per square inch.


The science above comes from standard High School Physics and Chemistry courses and text books. Some information comes from reloading manuals from Speer and DuPont chemicals. Other information comes from a licensed practical nursing textbook.

“An explosion of blood from her mouth”

“Blood spatter all over the room”

“Blood can travel 10 to 14 feet”

“The explosion of gas blew out her teeth”

The picture of the handgun with the cloud of smoke, presented to the Judge and Jury, in my non-expert, layman’s opinion, is a deliberate lie. From all aspects, chemical and physical, black powder fired in a 100 year old gun is a very different weapon that ended Lana Jean Clarkson’s life. All I can say is for shame on the paid experts and defense lawyers.



Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mortie. Great job.

Sprocket said...

I'm honored to have Mortie's very detailed analysis here on T&T! Well done Mortie, WELL DONE!

Carol L Beck said...



shari said...

Thanks Mortie, very interesting stuff!!.... Sprocket, this is soooo interesting I can hardly contain myself. I totally agree you deserve to have a book deal on this one. This is going to blow this case wide open ( I hope ) for the ole Team Spector. Weinberg sure should have listened to AJ yesterday and reviewed his CD.

Anonymous said...

hopefully the jury can see right through the defenses lies

Anonymous said...

Great info. Thanks.

Sprocket said...

A clarification for everyone:

In the first trial and the second trial, defense experts have testified that it was the "gases" from the firearm that expelled the back spatter blood out of Ms. Clarkson's mouth. Fact.

I heard Dr. Spitz in the second trial testify to that and also have an argument with AJ regarding what Spitz knew/didn't know about Boyles Law. That's documented in one of my entries covering Dr. Spitz's testimony.

Mortie's entry is referencing statements Linda Kenny Baden made during the first trial. Also, can anyone forget the demonstration that she did with her puffed out cheeks in her opening statement?

my2cents said...

MORTIE - - excellent article. Thanks for making such a difficult subject (for me that is), a little more understandable. I found the use of that circular graphic around the gun barrel very helpful.

I had also forgotten how "chilling" this photo of Spector was. What a horrifying reminder of what Lana must have been looking at during her final last moments alive. It truly breaks my heart.

ritanita said...

Thanks so much, Mortie!

I'm not very knowledgible about guns, you help me so very, very much.

CaliGirl9 said...

Mortie, you make this so understandable. There is a lot of physics going on and the way you explain how things went down certainly helps me to better understand why the limited blood evidence says Spector is indeed guilty, besides of course Adriano's statement.

You get to write this chapter in Sprocket's book LOL

donchais said...

Great entry Mortie!