Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Phil Spector Retrial: Day Forty-seven

Update 2!
February 24, 2009


Defense Witnesses:
#12 Dr. Vincent Di Maio (famed forensic pathologist, author and former Bexar County, Texas coroner; finished with first cross examination)
#13 James Hammond (Alhambra Officer; part of the entry team and take-down of Spector in the foyer; testimony complete)

Accredited Press inside the courtroom: None identified

Vincent, I hardly knew ye


Dr. Vincent Di Maio performing a demonstration for the jury during the first trial in 2007.



I almost didn't recognize that it was Dr. Di Maio testifying on the stand today. I mean, it looked like him, it sounded like him with regular ramblings off onto tangents, and all the exaggerated facial ticks and eyebrow raising were there, but this was a very different Dr. Di Miao on the stand today than from the first trial. A much more calmer, subdued Dr. Di Maio, if you can envision that. But let me go back to the beginning of the day.

9:25 am: I get inside 106 a moment or two before the defense team. Weinberg, Barringer and Susan. I'm the only one in the gallery.

9:27 am: I hear the prosecution's cart. It's AJ and Josh, their clerk. I see an officer in the gallery. I'm guessing he's an officer because his face is familiar. A minute or two later, another public person enters. Also, one of Spector's occasional supporters steps into 106, doesn't see anyone and steps back out again. Wendy informs counsel that a few of the jurors have asked for Wednesday afternoon off to go to Mass on Ash Wednesday. Tran Smith wanders in and the court reporter, Diane sets up. Two suited gentlemen come in and one goes over to Wendy's desk and tells her, "I have a case that's going to 102 days."

When court finally goes on the record it's outside the presence of the jury. He brings up a recent Sheriff Baca rant in the press about violent offenders being out on bail and specifically mentioned Phil Spector. Fidler replies, "Thank you, Sheriff Baca."

Weinberg wants the jury admonished and I miss what else he recommends but from Fidler's response it might have been asking Fidler to order Sheriff Baca. I'm not sure. Fidler agrees with giving the jurors another direct instruction not to read or follow anything about the case but he also says, "I don't have any authority over Sheriff Baca. [...] (He's a separate entity.) I have no authority over (the) sheriff."

Weinberg's second issue is to present a motion for a mistrial over the playing of the Vincent Tannazzo interview in the cross of the defense case. He states that it's "....highly prejudicial hearsay. [...] calling into veracity to play entire tape under 356 (EVIDENCE Code) or provide the jury with [...] credibility is such that both rationales are plainly incorrect."

Fidler denies the motion on the reasons presented the day before when he ruled that it could be presented. "That this is the same that Mr. Tannazzo testified to, the content heard before, but I did not allow it (in) for that reason. [...] Motion denied."

The jurors are brought out and Bailiff Kyles gives juror's #4 and #11 new notebooks. After everyone is seated Fidler admonished the jury not to read about the case in the press.

Although Dr. Di Maio is currently under direct, they decide to take an witness out of order so he doesn't have to wait. That's the individual whom I thought was an officer in court.

This witness is James Hammond. He was subpoenaed by the defense team. Weinberg asks if he met with the DA's office this morning. He said he met with them to find out why he was being called back.

Hammond was one of four officers who entered Spector's residence with several other officers on the scene.

Truc enters 106 at 9:44 am.

Hammond states that Officer Tamayo was outside. Officer Rodriguez was inside the house. Hammond states that they entered the residence single file.

DW: Officer Cardella was carrying a bullet shield?

JH: Yes he was.

I note that Donna Clarkson and Fawn did now come to court this morning.

Weinberg puts up on the ELMO a previously shown photo of the scene with the bullet shield on the floor of the foyer. When asked if this is the shield, Hammond states, "It's possible." The quality of the photo is poor in showing the shield. Weinberg asks if the shield was used after they shot the taser gun and Hammond replies, "Yes it was."

Two clerks enter 106 and sit in the third row.

DW: And there was some jostling?

JH: I was the closest to Ms. Clarkson. I didn't see anyone come in contact with her and I didn't come in contact with her.

DW: Did anyone kick the gun?

JH: I didn't see anyone.

DW: How long were you with the Alhambra Police at that point?

JH: I think a little bit over two years.

Weinberg asks him about the directions of the house and which way the back door is facing, which way the front door is facing and which direction Lana was nearest. After that, Weinberg points out his report that he wrote covering the events. In his report he has written that the revolver is pointing East.

And that's the sole reason for calling this witness. Weinberg is using this witness to bolster his claim that the gun was disturbed by Alhambra police in the take down, because Officer Hammond wrote in his report that the direction the gun was facing was East.

JH: I testified about that three times. That my report is in error. That the photographs are now the gun was.

DW: You took the time to go over with officers the direction, orientation (of things). You wrote that the gun was pointed East?

JH: Yes I did write that.

Direct is finished. Weinberg takes his seat and leans back in his chair and does the flicking of his right forefinger on his lips. It almost looks like he tries to stop himself at one point but he does continue to drag his forefinger across his lips.

In AJ's cross, he establishes that the entire entry team did not enter the house. Tamayo stayed outside. AJ asks if the reason Mr. Spector had to be tasered is because Mr. Spector wouldn't follow commands. Hammond replies, "That's correct."

AJ: You were the closest one to her. Did you fall on her? [...] Did you kick things around? [...] You took Mr. Spector down on the left side of the room and Ms. Clarkson wasn't disturbed. [...] You didn't spin the gun did you?

JH: Correct.

AJ: That's not anything an officer would do

JH: Correct.

AJ: Mr. Weinberg asked you, "By the time the Sheriff's got there the gun was facing West." And you were documenting and photo documenting the scene exactly as you found it?"

AJ puts up photographs of the scene that were taken by Alhambra police and verifies that these were taken before any Sheriff's officers arrived. These are entered into evidence. Corporal Ponce took the photographs. AJ presents the proof sheets of the photo's taken by the Alhambra Officer, before the Sheriff's even got there.

AJ: Is that the direction you found it? [...] And you didn't spin it or play with it?

More photos that the Alhambra Officer took are entered into evidence. A few more questions are asked and AJ ends with, "What's the best evidence of how something was at the scene?" And I believe Hammond replies, "The photos."

In redirect, Weinberg goes over again the directions and who was standing where. He brings up the photo of the taser wire under Lana's shoe.

DW: You don't know how it got there?

JH: I don't.

DW: With respect to placement of the gun [...] And you were told to go to the East Wing, behind Ms. Clarkson's body. [...] By the time you knew which way East was, Ponce was still not there. [...] When did he come in? [...] There were no photographs before Ponce came in?

JH: No.

DW: And you're telling the ladies an the gentlemen of the jury that you were wrong?

JH: That's correct.

There's no recross and AJ asks for a sidebar.

I notice that the tall, slender handsome man with jet black hair is sitting next to Rachelle. There are a couple other supporters in the second row, older looking men I've seen before.

It's 10:11 am. Dr. Di Maio is back on the stand. Juror #7 looks out at the gallery.

More of Dr. Di Maio's CV is entered into evidence. He was asked ot participate in an investigation on an international level, involving war crimes in Yugoslavia. Dr. Di Maio doesn't remember how long ago that was. Dr. Di Maio goes over the various California counties that have recently employed him. He states he's personally performed about 9,000 autopsies and reviewed about 25,000. In Texas, suicides average over 200 a year. 14% of those were gunshot wounds to the head. He's handled a couple hundred intra-oral gunshot wounds over the years. The books he's written are gone over again.

Truc Do steps out of the courtroom.

Weinberg goes over everything Dr. Di Maio looked at; all the medical reports, etc. Dr. Di Maio states it's a self inflicted gunshot wound. "Within a medical certainty," he adds. Weinberg asks, "What does that mean."

Dr. DM: Well, it's like in court, beyond a reasonable doubt.

AJ: Objection. That's for a trier of fact.

There's a bit more that AJ adds to his objection.

Fidler: I would agree. The answer is stricken and the jury admonished.

Dr. Di Maio testifies that intra-oral gunshot wounds, in excess of 99% of them are suicides.

DW: Is this statistics?

Dr. DM: This is pattern recognition. [...] I've seen three homicides by intra-oral. One was an execution with two assailants. [...] One was three or four kids fooling around and they put a rifle barrel in another's mouth. [...] Another one, someone was in a bar. [...] A 45, full barrel.

10:23 am: Pat Dixon enters 106.

DW: Have you ever seen a suicide ever involving a short barrel snub nose (revolver)?

Dr. DM: No. They are all suicides.

Dr. Di Maio now presents the factors that support his finding of suicide. The first is "the GSR."

10:27 am: Another Spector supporter enters that I've seen before. There are now three casually dressed guys in the third row behind Rachele. Another person shows up at 10:32 am.

Dr. Di Maio talks about the five thousand pounds of pressure of gases in the mouth from the gun. Juror #14 is having trouble staying awake.

Dr. Di Maio states the gas created the stealate wounds and fractures in the para (?) bone structures. (I'm not positive with what word he used to describe the bone structures that were fractured. He could have meant the parietal bones, which are just above the temporal (temple) bones of the skull [exterior] or he could have meant the palatine bones, which are posterior to the the maxilla [interior].)

Dr. Di Maio states that the caps on the teeth were blown out by the gases and not the recoil of the gun. I look back at Mr. Dixon. I could swear that he had a surprised expression on his face when listening to Dr. Di Maio's testimony.

Dr. Di Maio is pointing to various areas on the back of his hands where he believes Jamie Lintemoot described seeing blood stains. AJ tries to get the record clear as to "where" Dr. Di Maio is pointing and he's not cooperating. All AJ wants is the record clear. He's not even on cross with Dr. Di Maio. His eyebrows went up at least six, seven times during this exchange.

It appears like Juror #5 is struggling to stay awake, too. She closes her eyes several times. Spector is in his all white outfit with a long, Edwardian black jacket.

During the break, Weinberg brings up the issue AJ brought up at the bench earlier, that AJ might not be ready for cross. Weinberg states he's requesting that cross not be delayed, "Unless there's some unusually good reason, Dr. Di Maio is scheduled to testify in Houston on Thursday."

AJ states he is not asking for a lot of time for cross. He may be able to complete his preparation over a lunch hour. He states he certainly doesn't want to mess with anyones schedule.

11:08 am: There's some boisterous laughter from the jury room.

Back on the record, Weinberg shows a photo from Dr. Di Maio's book to the jurors of a suicide victim's hands and how they were holding the weapon that killed them. Dr. Di Maio also testifies that there is "spatter" on the grip of the firearm and that supports his finding of "self inflicted." This is new testimony for Dr. Di Maio from the first trial. Weinberg asks, "And no way for blood to be there with someone else's shooting?"

Weinberg now puts up the blow up images of the blood on checker pattern of the grip. These are the same photos that James Pex stated showed back spatter. This is deperate. Dr. Di Miao may know a little about spatter from visiting crime scenes, but he is not a blood stain analysis expert. Not even close. For Weinberg to put these photos in front of him that Pex testified to, it appears to me that this is a last minute, pull whatever we can with this witness ploy.

AJ objects, but Fidler states he will let him testify that in his experience and way he's testified, he can answer.

After the enlarged photos of the left gun grip are identified, the right side of the grip checker pattern is displayed. Dr. Di Maio states the blood stains appear to him to be spatter.

11:18 am: Spector looks at the jury, and I can see a fuller view of his face. He then looks out at the gallery for a second and then goes back to staring at whatever he usually focuses on at the defense table. Spector is sitting back in his chair. His left elbow is resting on the chair arm and his fingers are bent in front of his mouth area. His right hand is in his lap, shaking.

Dr. Di Maio is now testifying about the crane of the gun and it's length. He gets the length wrong, and AJ has to supply the correct length of the crane. I make a note about Dr. Di Maio's facial twitches and eyebrow raising. Juror #14's eyes look to be all the way closed for a moment. Spector has his standard orange drink and man-bag at the table. Juror's #5, 7, 8, and 9 are all leaning back in their chairs. They are hearing basically the same testimony for the fourth time now. Juror #4 is in his typical position of rocking his chair. Juror #11 has his arms cross and is rocking his chair, too. Spector is reading a white paper with what appears to be handwriting on it. He takes a pair of tiny glasses out of his left inside jacket pocket and puts them on to read the paper.

Dr. Di Maio is now rambling on about what neurological disorders he thinks Spector has because it appears his facial muscles are frozen.

AJ: Objection! Sustained. Testimony stricken.

Dr. Di Maio continues on about his mother having Parkinson's and Parkinsonian.

I believe this testimony is objected to also and sustained.

DW: When did you first meet him?

Dr. DM: 2006.

AJ: Objection! Three years later.

DW: Is it your opinion that it's something that onsets suddenly? [...] Is it something that could be present in 2003?

AJ: Objection! There's no foundation for that.

Fidler asks if AJ wants to approach. After the bench conference, Fidler informs the jurors, "Any question regarding parkinson's or parkinsonian is stricken from the record.

Weinberg asks about the difference in the size of the two people (at the house that night).

Dr. DM: It's not a major factor just a contributory factor.

The blood alcohol and drugs in Lana Clarkson's system are gone over Dr. Di Maio states that the alcohol, the Vicodin and the Benadryl are all "central nervous system depressants." He also states, "That's where people get drunk and do stupid things. That's what they do."

DW: You knew her size?

Dr. DM: Yes.

DW: Five feet-eleven, six-feet and 160 pounds?

Dr. DM: Yes.

Dr. Di Maio talks about the number of drinks that Ms. Clarkson had to have had in her blood stream: Five to six drinks. There is a lot of testimony back and forth as to "how much" alcohol is in how much proof liquor.

11:34 am: Spector writes on the white paper he was reading earlier. The paper is handed to Tran Smith. Smith looks at Spector and nods his head. Tran appears to be writing on the paper now.

Now Dr. Di Maio is rambling on about transfer DNA (I didn't realize that he was also a DNA expert) and that the gun was tested on several areas and Spector's DNA was not found on the gun. Dr. Di Maio goes onto say, "Every member of the jury has DNA of the person next to them on them."

Weinberg moves onto the tongue. Dr. Di Maio testifies that the "bruising" found on the tongue was "caused by the exploding gases. [...] The tongue is all muscle and difficult to injure. [...] It's protected by the surrounding bony structures and the teeth. [...] You can't force a gun in (and injure it). [...] The tongue is solid muscle."

Juror #5's eyes are closed again and Juror #8 has strands of her hair in her hand and she's looking at them intently.

Weinberg moves onto the bruises on Ms. Clarkson's wrists. Dr. Di Maio testifies that "trying to date bruises is a quagmire. [...] All they can say is if it's yellow it's old. (You) can't really date bruises. [...]

DW: There's no way to look at bruises and say that they occur in ten minutes or ten hours ago?

Dr. DM: No. [...] People have tried to date them microscopically. They can't.

11:48 am: A woman's phone goes off in the back row.

Dr. Di Maio is now testifying about the lack of photographs at the scene that document bruises. He states he doesn't see photographs of bruises at the scene prior to autopsy.

Now Weinberg asks Dr. Di Maio questions about what other evidence he reviewed. He states he reviewed E-mails, transcripts of conversations with friends. "She appeared to be depressed due to financial situation and the job.

DW: Did that play any role (in your determination of MOD)?

Dr. DM: A minor part. It might play into why she lost control. A minor role.

Weinberg now asks if the fact that Spector wiped her face, if it had any effect on his analysis.

Dr. DM: No, not really.

Weinberg now moves onto the spatter on Spector's jacket.

Dr. DM: It indicates that he was within a few to several feet of Ms. Clarkson. but there's no spatter on the right arm (jacket sleeve).

DW: Have you seen spatter on [...] at crime scenes?

Dr. DM: Yes.

DW: In your work as an investigator?

Dr. DM: Coroner, yes.

Weinberg asks Dr. Di Maio his opinions about blood spatter analysis and he states that there are no studies on people. It's done on sponges. The only study that probably significant is shooting live animals.

Fidler: We'll take our recess at this point.

From what I've seen so far, Dr. Di Maio's testimony appears choreographed; scripted. There was one point, when Weinberg asks him if he was an expert, and the question is objected to, Weinberg makes the reasoning, "Well, I asked him because I know he was going to say no. He's not a spatter expert."

(Real life responsibilities kept me from starting on this day's testimony until very late. Regardless of the fact that I spend at least four hours each night working on a detailed entry, I do have things I am responsible for that take precedence over sitting at my computer for so long. Since Wednesday is a short day tomorrow, I hope to have everything caught up tomorrow evening. More to come...)

Updated: February 25th, 2009 7:15 am:
Sherri and Linda from San Diego didn't come to court today. Usually I leave the building to eat my lunch Mr. Sprocket fixes, I decide to eat in the cafeteria because I brought a book The Tipping Point, and because afterwards I'm going to hit the 11th floor and see if I can get my March 9th Jury summons for the Metropolitan Courthouse postponed until a later date. I pick a table by the window so I can get good phone reception and call Mr. Sprocket. Not long after I sit down, I see Jennifer Barringer pushing some tables together in the same general area that I'm sitting. Weinberg, Susan and Dr. Di Maio join her. I believe Tran does later since I see him near the grill line, later. They have brought binders with them that are already opened before Dr. Di Maio sits down. By this time, I'm finished with my lunch and head up to the 11th floor.

I'm estatic! I get my jury duty extended to a date in late April. Now I won't be forced to miss that day of trial.

1:30 pm: I'm finally back in 106. Spector is not at the defense table. Unusually, he's sitting with Rachelle in the first bench row, surrounded on the other side by Tran Smith. His supporters are sitting in the row behind him. The dress Truc is wearing today is that sleek black three-quarter sleeves, form fitting dress with pockets. As you can probably guess, Truc has to me, what I would describe as a model like figure. I bet she could wear almost anything and look good in it.

1:33 pm: The jury is being called. They are getting boisterous. I can hear the laughter in the gallery.

1:36 pm: We wait for Fidler to take the bench.

Weinberg asks Dr. Di Maio about one of his specialties. It's wound ballistics. Weinberg then asks him if he's familiar with the operation of the Colt Cobra 38 and a Smith & Wesson 37? Weinberg puts up a photo on the ELMO of these two weapons side by side. Now, why would he do this? A S&W has nothing to do with this case but it was the weapon that James Pex did his first experiments with on September 3rd, 2008.

Dr. Di Maio talks about how the weapons fire the same ammunition and that the ammo is essentially the same. Weinberg asks if the muzzle pressure would be the same. Dr. Di Maio says, no, it's not going to make any difference.

DW: Would there be any difference to expect that one cwould create more back spatter than another

AJ: OBJECTION! No foundation!

Another question is asked, objected to and sustained.

Another question is asked, objected to and sustained.

Fidler states, "Unless his proven to be an expert in ballistics... (he can't testify to that).

Another question is asked, objected to and sustained.

Weinberg now tries to lay a foundation.

DW: Have you stidued different kinds of ammunition on wounds?

Dr. DM: Yes.

DW: And whether there is a difference between wounds and muzzle pressure?

Dr. DM: (Yes.)

Weinberg then asks if the "bulk of spatter" is the same or different to the gas (expelled gases).

Dr. DM: Generally, the large the cartridge, the more gas you get.

I believe AJ objects and Fidler steps in and says, "This line of questioning I see a problem with." Fidler tells the jurors to step into the jury room. After they do, Fidler continues, "I want to see (voir dire to see if he is able to testify to this). "He went to wound channel, to gases to now blood spatter."

AJ: This is the first time I've ever heard of this. I've been given no discovery. This is clearly to fix something, to clean up what Pex messed up. [...] He's going to come her and clean up...

AJ continues on a bit more and then I only catch a small part of Weinberg's response.

DW: ...We are complicating something that has nothing to do with discovery. [...] This man has testified about....

Fidler speaks and points one something to the effect it's one thing to talk about wound channels but he's going into details that Pex testified to.

I believe AJ also stated that he had not seen the defense photo up on the screen comparing the Colt Cobra to the S&W 37. They did all this direct without any notice to the prosecution.

After this discussion, Weinberg agrees not to ask questions about back spatter.

Unbelievable. Totally unbelievable. I can't believe they tried this desperate move. They tried to use a coroner, who is not a spatter expert, to say that the spatter created by the S&W would be no different than the spatter created by the Colt Cobra. I think this is the main reason they decided at the last minute to have Dr. Di Maio testify. The jurors file back in and I see Spector get a tiny item, a small pill like tin out of his man-bag.

When they start up again, it appears that's it for direct and AJ steps up to cross. He immediately confronts Dr. Di Maio on the last few questions he was asked.

AJ: Did you have a conversation with Mr. Weinberg about James Pex?

Dr. DM: No. He mentioned names but did not explain.

More to come when I get back from court today....

Update: February 28, 2009


Jackson asks what conversations he had with Weinberg about this issue?

Dr. DM: He said there was something about guns in the testimony.

AJ: Did you come into this court and clean up the Pex (issue)?

DW: Objection! Argumentative! (I don't think he wins this objection.)

Dr. DM: I have no idea what the gentleman testified to.

AJ: Are you aware that Mr. Pex came into this courtroom and testified [...] and it was later found that those photos were found to be made with a totally different weapon entirely?

Dr. DM: No.

DW: Objection! Sidebar! (Weinberg loses this objection. He opened the door.)

Jackson puts the photos back up on the ELMO. He goes over every tiny detail of the differences between these two weapons. He asks Dr. Di Maio to state all the differences between the two weapons for the jury. The housing, the rubber grip, the aluminum frame, the chamber housing is smaller in diameter, the way the hand would wrap around the grip would be different. The grim, the frame size, the cylinder, the crane, the ejector rod as well as the front sight: all are different.

Dr. DM: Two completely different guns.

Jackson goes over how much Dr. Di Maio has been paid for his participation in this trial. It's $42,000 for the first two years. He bills about $400 an hour, of $3,200 a day. Depending on how much longer he is on the stand, he stands to make approximately another $8,000. Jackson points out that this fee is "ultimately paid by Mr. Spector." Dr. Di Maio replies, "I assume so."

AJ: Did you bring any billing statements with you?

Dr. DM: No.

AJ: Did Mr. Weinberg tell you to bring them?

I believe Jackson then asks him if he was served with a subpoena to produce them and Dr. Di Maio says no. Dr. Di Maio insists that he doesn't have any documentation to back up his prior billing other than, he might have "one or two" billing statements back at the office.

Jackson then moves on to the four main pieces of evidence that Dr. Di Maio used to determine MOD. Number one was the fact that 99% of intra-oral gunshot wounds are suicides. Number two was the GSR distribution. Number three was the back spatter on hands and tissue found on Ms. Clarkson's left jacket sleeve. Number four was the gun; the spatter on the gun.

AJ: And that's the physical evidence you based (MOD)? The sleeves, the cuffs, the DNA...? [...] The bruising of the tongue and the toxicology has nothing to do with it (MOD)? It's the back spatter on the gun and lack of it on the sleeve?

Dr. DM: The research (on spatter) in this country is not good research.

Dr. Di Maio is referring to the Karger (sp?) experiments, who did experiments on animals in Germany. Jackson points out that a calf's head is markedly different than a human head. Jackson moves onto GSR. Dr. Di Maio agrees that GSR is microscopic particles.

AJ: If an expert testified that an expert they could see it with the naked eye, they wouldn't know what they are talking about?

Dr. DM: That's right.

Jackson gets Dr. Di Maio to agree that, this finding of GSR, "by itself is not diagnostic." Jackson questions, "As a matter of fact, GSR is like finely ground pepper. It doesn't embed on the skin. It's on the (surface) of the substance it's on, correct?"

Dr. DM: That's correct.

AJ: You said it's not a statistic, it's a probability. Could you explain that?

Dr. DM: It's a pattern and the probability is.. (I have in my notes that Dr. Di Maio rambled on a bit here and I miss the rest of his answer.)

The next issue Jackson crosses Dr. Di Maio on is his testimony that the pressure in Ms. Clarkson's mouth from the firing of the weapon was 5,000 PSI. Jackson get's Dr. Di Maio to acknowledge that the 5,000 PSI is actually the muzzle pressure as it emerges from the gun, and according to Boyle's Law, pressure times volume equals constant.

AJ: That pressure dissipated within 2 THOUSAND'S of a second!

All Dr. Di Maio will concede to is that it takes some time to dissipate.

The afternoon break is called. I see pat Dixon in the back of the courtroom. Weinberg is speaking to his witness. Tran Smith leans in to whisper directly in Spector's ear. It's 3:09 pm now and we are waiting for Fidler to take the bench. Two of Dr. Di Maio's four points he's conceded could be support for homicide. I note that Dr. Di Maio is a world of difference on the stand. I have some very rough notes but I'm not sure if they are from testimony or just notes. Detective Tomlin enters 106. He's a witness in a gang trial that's starting down at the other end of the hall in courtroom 101.

Jackson is going over with Dr. Di Maio the positioning of how, I think, Pex felt the gun had to have been held. First, Dr. Di Maio admits that he's not a blood spatter expert. Di Maio believes the gun was held differently that what was demonstrated by James Pex. He thinks it was held in the manner that he often sees suicides hold it. There are quite a few questions about blood spatter and the way it travels. Di Maio testifies that the blood could have come out of Ms. Clarkson's mouth in a type of parabolic arc and landed on the back of her hand(s).

Jackson moves onto the "tissue" on Lana Clarkson's left jacket sleeve. He testified that the buttons on that sleeve had tissue matter and that supports suicide. Jackson shows Dr. Di Maio photos of the inside sleeve of Lana's jacket. The photos show the blood is soaked through and had to have happened during the "purge" event at the morgue. Dr. Di Maio agrees that the matter on the left sleeve could not be supportive of her firing the weapon since the evidence shows the sleeve was contaminated.

It's about 3:30 pm and Spector's #1 fan, Teresa (sp?) enters. She's wearing what she usually wears when she arrives this time of day: sweatshirt and sweatpants.

Jackson presents Dr. Di Maio the very enlarged photograph of the gun under Lana's leg. Dr. Di Maio agrees that the blood on the grip looks like a smear in that photograph. I've been quite surprised by this cross Dr. Di Maio is a much different witness.

Jackson then goes over to the clerk, Wendy's desk and obtains from her the enlarged photographs of the front strap of the gun. He presents these images to Dr. Di Maio but he is not willing to accept that the two photographs were "stitched" together via a computer program. Jackson is confronting Dr. Di Maio with the fact that the crane of the gun would block any spatter coming directly into contact with the front strap of the gun. Dr. Di Maio testifies that, "The blood comes out in a cloud."

Jackson presents an hypothetical to Dr. Di Maio, using a demonstration of straight lines from the the barrel area of the gun th the front strap. Jackson is visually presenting to Dr. Di Maio how it would be impossible for the spatter to reach the front strap of the gun. Dr. Di Maio answers, "But you're showing a two dimensional image and it's three dimensional. [...] It travels turbulently first then it will fly straight."

Jackson goes over Dr. Di Maio's testimony about the physical disparity between Lana and Spector. Dr. Di Maio responds, "No. I said if there is a struggle." Jackson comes back with a saying he learned in Texas. "You know the phrase, God created man, Samuel Colt made them equal?" Jackson doesn't get the phrasing just right but Dr. Di Maio is familiar with the phrase. He still replies, "If there is a struggle." I believe another question is asked about another portion of his direct testimony and Dr. Di Maio replies, "All I said is people do stupid things." And AJ responds, "And sometimes people do things like pull a gun on an unarmed woman."

Jackson asks Dr. Di Maio if he reviewed Lana's emails. I believe he answered that he did but added that, "My opinion is not based on the emails." He did not use her mental state to make his final diagnosis. Jackson asks Dr. Di Maio that if he took any one of those four elements independently, every one of the particulars, every one taken on its own, they could each be consistent with homicide. Dr. Di Maio doesn't disagree, but states that he didn't make his MOD on a single element.

Jackson asks, "Assume the facts of the case indicate that Phil Spector was standing within arms reach, [...] and assume the physical evidence proves that Lana Clarkson could not be holding the gun, (what would your MOD be)?

Dr. DM: Well, you'd have to mode it a homicide.

AJ: Did you consider the statement "I think I killed somebody?"

Dr. DM: Once you start reading eyewitness statements going into court [...] (and later they are) getting out when DNA shows they're innocence...

I think there might have been a question or two more but I don't get it.

It's 3:57 pm and Fidler, seeing the two sheriff's in the back of the courtroom says, "The Bailiff's are here.

DW: For me?

AJ: What did he do this time?

And that's it. Court is over for the day.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

I always look forward to your reports. I look forward to each entry. And i am sure we all appreciate you doing this and your real life stuff also. Can't wait to read about the cross examination of DM

Linda in Tex

Anonymous said...

How dumb does Weinberg think the jury is --to get Demaio to fill in all the gaps and points he wants to get across in such a scripted way? Even going over his credentials at length the way they did won't be a help as James Pex has amassed a huge amount of resume, articles etc. and still is untruthful. It seems pretty clear that these highly paid witnesses are used to benefit the defense, otherwise they wouldn't be making the big bucks.

Thanks Sprocket for interesting reading, and looking forward to more soon!

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness you're following
this trial closely for us! I read
your notes each day, Sprocket.

Still not sure why the LA Times
lost interest.... it's an amazing
story, the poor Clarkson mother
having to sit through all this.

So, how close are we to final
closing arguments? Is this still
expected to finish mid-March?

Anonymous said...

Really appreciate your blog Sprocket. Its first thing reading each morning.
Can't wait to hear how AJ handles the good Dr. He better continue taking his meds.
Thanks again. Bill

Anonymous said...

Thank you SOOOOOOO much, Betsy, for the covering of HPS's trial. If it wasn't of you, nobody would know what is going on in that courtroom and the only information we would be getting would probably be just after the verdict, coming from some obscure UK newspaper... OK, there are a few other sources but nothing to compare to your complete and detailed coverage. As I've said before, you are our eyes and ears!!!

May God bless you and give you strength to pursue this task to it's conclusion!!!

Nanouk

Anonymous said...

AJ asks if the reason Mr. Spector had to be tasered is because Mr. Spector would follow commands. Hammond replies, "That's correct."

I assume you meant to say here that Spector wouldn't follow commands. Is that right?

Anonymous said...

"Dr. Di Maio is now rambling on about what neurological disorders he thinks Spector has because it appears his facial muscles are frozen."

I think the Doctor is just jealous....
Wes J.

Anonymous said...

I hope AJ tears him up on cross.

Weinberg is making mountains out of anthills: which way the gun faced, the driver was interviewed before a review of someone else's reports, "the lady is on the floor", etc. I guess he has nothing very substantial to work with. Here's hoping the jurors feel the same.

Sprocket said...

Thank you everyone! I'll answer questions when I get home from court today and get caught up on yesterday's testimony.

That was quite a surprise yesterday, Weinberg trying to ask a coroner spatter questions. What does everyone think about that?

Anonymous said...

Well, Sprocket, I'll try to answer your question about Whineberg (mis-spelling intentional) asking Di Maio spatter questions. The short answer is: Desperation. I have been in forensic science for 36 years and have worked both sides of the fence, both in a government lab and a private forensic laboratory. I'll always remember something I learned many years ago as I was studying for my future profession. I was told that an expert knows what he doesn't know. Sound confusing? All that means is that a true expert knows where his/her expertise ends and where ramblings into non-expert areas begin. Di Maio has crossed the line from his area of expertise into other areas for which he has no formal training. Whineberg hopes to use Di Maio's reputation and CV to make him an expert in anything and everything to rehabilitate the Pex fiasco as you so aptly pointed out. A Coroner is not an expert in anything and everything. If experts cannot refrain from opining about things beyond their field of expertise, then it's up to vigilant attorneys like AJ and Truc, through intense voir dire, to keep them in their place. By the way, you are doing a marvelous job. Your understanding of the judicial process and how you relate it to your readers is commendable.

Barry said...

Sprocket, I think the answer to your question - why Weiberg would pull such a bizarre and obvious stunt - can be found in the song performed by the sleazy lawyer in "Chicago."

"Give 'em the old razzle dazzle
Razzle dazzle 'em
Back since the days of old Methuselah
Everyone loves the big bambooz-a-ler

Give 'em the old three ring circus
Stun and stagger 'em
When you're in trouble, go into your dance
Though you are stiffer than a girder
They let ya get away with a murder!"

Thanks so much for giving up so much of your life to do this for us. Your efforts are so appreciated!

Anonymous said...

My question:

Is Dr. Vincent Di Maio Spector’s “suicidologist”, or is the defense expected to call a physiatrist or a psychologist to the stand to explain to the jury the factors that may be relevant to assessing whether Lana Clarkson killed herself?

The trial judge has said (I thought) that such an expert would be allowed as long has they stayed away from an opinion that Lana Clarkson killed herself, which would lead one to believe that the defense has such an expert lined up.

Will they call such a person?

My comment: on asking Di Maeo about the spatter on the grip of the gun: I personally think that Weinberg just wants the jury to look at the butt of the gun and draw their own conslusions.

My prediction: AJ will handle this issue on rebuttal with his own spatter expert. (It is an interesting point.)

Anonymous said...

Again,Whineberg is not as good as he thinks he is. The truth is the truth, and the evidence is the evidence.

No amount of stunts can mask that.

Anonymous said...

the defense better close soon. the jury is already tuning out and must be bored to tears. as for the laughter, i am sure some one in there can do diamio impressions

sharon said...

i hope that AJ sees right through all of this crap by the defense. My question is does that jury no about the 40 minutes that Spector had before the police were in his house where he was "cleaning up" his mess and trying to make it look like a suicide?

Anonymous said...

My question is related to sharon's: What is the basis for the prosecution's theory of time of death?

I thought the driver testiified that he heard the pop, saw the body, the called Spector's persoanl assistant, could not reach her, then dialed 911 i.e. no delay).

Has it even been establised for sure that there was any delay beyond the Alhambra PD response time the the driver's 911 call?

Who testifed to the so called 40 minutes?

Liz said...

I was seriously worried when you talked about "Jury Duty" Sprocket - the thought of you not being able to attend the PS trial was very frightening to this blog reader - so many thanks for getting that date changed.

I don't think PS got value for money with these experts, but I don't see much of an alternative given the "suicide" defense. If we combine the comments from anonymous and Barry they seemed to have covered all the ground as to why ask an expert questions well outside his area of expertise. "An expert knows what he doesn't know" seems an extremely good definition for any field of expertise.

I didn't realise until this trial just how wide a knowledge AJ must have in all these areas. To be able to argue so successfully with folks having such long CVs in their given areas is just an amazing accomplishment.

Your own understanding of the issues and ability to explain to others is also very skilled and much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Sharon askes a good question. I'm certain the jury knows about the time Spector had to clean up. I'm certain they also know a few other things: the limo driver hearing Spector admit to killing someone and seeing him with gun in hand; there was no 911 call from inside the residence; Spector had to be tasered because he was combative and non-compliant with the police; it was Spector's gun with his ammo, the same kind of ammo was present in other locations in the house; and he had a long history of threatening people with guns if they didn't do what he wanted them to do.

Oh, and Di Maio is not the suicidologist that the defense has purportedly hired to testify, although I'm sure that won't stop him from testifying as one. He seems to be a self-proclaimed expert in everything else.

Anonymous said...

DiMaio is also an expert Ninja. Remember how he testified he would have removed the gun form PS's hand?

And Spector did not get tased. They tried to, but one of the prongs did not "connect" properly and the device could not operate. He had to be subdued "by hand".

Nanouk

Anonymous said...

The jury is always laughing these days. They don't look at Spector. They've already made up their minds. All signs point to.... a conviction!

Sprocket said...

Just want to give everyone a quick update, and let y'all know that I am hard at work on my entry for today. The last half of yesterday morning will have to wait until this weekend.

Hold onto your hats. This was a big day. I have as many notes as I would for a full day!

What two words have we heard in this trial over and over again as an accusation? Please think about it. I guarantee you I am hard at work in getting this entry up tonight. I will stay up as late as I have to, to get it up tonight.

Anonymous said...

discovery violation again and again and again.....

Anonymous said...

What two words have we heard as an accusation? Perhaps "Discovery Violation"? You certainly have my interest aroused.

Ray

Anonymous said...

I assume it went well (by your tone and that you tease us with a quiz)!

"discovery violation"?
"falsified testimony"?
"misrepresented (fill in the blank)"

I give up.
Wes J.

Anonymous said...

Question to Sprocket, or anyone

Do you think Spector could appeal a conviction on the grounds that a witness (Pex) was so bad that he biased the jury, even though Spector called him?

Sprocket said...

Good Job! Y'all got it! It has to do with the witness that was called after Dr. Di Maio.

Anonymous said...

Do I need to make some coffee to stay up and wait? It's almost midnight here, do you have an ETA?

I am not desperate, honest. ;0)
Stef

Anonymous said...

Weinberg has been pushing the envelope on discovery. He knows his witnesses are very vulnerable, and AJ is very good at ripping them up. He has been doing everything he can to make the prosecution have to cross with little or no preparation. If you ask me, the man is a snake.

Ray

Sprocket said...

Stef:
I'm working as fast as I can. I promise to publish as soon as I'm done and hope Sedonia can edit it later.

I have 28 more pages. (Understand I don't write on every line and my notes are scattered over the page in large writing, but there are 28 more pages to go.) Like I said, I have as many notes for this 1/2 as I've had for most full days.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, maybe I will just go to bed, I should have never looked over here before I went to bed.
Bad headache again today.
Okay, I can hang on for a little while, maybe just one cup of coffee, brb, lol. twisting my arm again

Is the witness from the first trial? Man, I can't take this waiting, I am like a kid.

Stef

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Stef. This is akin to cruel and unusual punishment!! LOL

Liz said...

You are not alone Stef

and thank you so much Sprocket for being the court reporter and putting such an effort into that reporting.

28 more pages!! How many for a full day in court? (or in this case a full half day in court)

Sprocket said...

This is my last comment for the night. I have to get back to the story.

I just got up to stretch and go to the ladies room. Right now, I'm at 19 more pages. So that's how fast it's going. I'm going to push through until I'm done so I can get it up tonight, which means I won't have a full night's sleep for court tomorrow.

I don't know what to tell you about waiting up or not.

Thank you everyone, for your support of my trial documentation efforts. I really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Sprocket, you are really great to be doing all this. We appreciate the amazing work you have done by getting up, going there everyday, and coming home and writing about it. Your entries are so good, it is almost as good as watching it, maybe better as you understand so much of it. All of us are on pins and needles because it's so fascinating.

Best, Christine

Anonymous said...

You obviously spend an amazing amount of time on your blog. I am impressed, you put out high quality work quickly. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Could the 2 words possibly be
"Punkin Pie"?