Thursday, November 6, 2008

Phil Spector Retrial: Day Four of Testimony

Prosecution Witnesses:

#3 Officer Chris Russ (Pasadena police officer who responded to Dorothy Melvin's 911 call; completed)
#4 Vickie Daniels-Mathews (State of NY 911 System Custodian of Records; Testifying to Stephanie Jennings 911 call from the Carlyle Hotel; completed)
#5 Devra Robitaille (1101(b) witness, former assistant to Spector; still on the stand under direct)

Testimony in Spector's retrial came to a complete stop during the morning session and it wasn't because of an injured juror or motions for a mistrial by Doron Weinberg. Approximately 10:30 am, alarms bells rang throughout the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Building. Judge Fidler then addressed the jurors and the gallery and informed them this was an earthquake preparedness drill for the entire building and everyone would be required to evacuate the building using the stairwell just to the right of the courtroom.

Fidler first addressed the jurors and asked for a show of hands for any juror (besides alternate #1) that would not be able to exit the building using the stairs. I believe it was Juror #7 who raised her hand. Those jurors would be escorted out of the building by a sheriff via a freight elevator, and I believe the rest of the jurors went with another deputy. Anyone else who could not exit the building via the stairwell were to notify a sheriff.

Out the courtroom door and down we went. Spector's entourage went down the stairwell about a minute ahead of myself and Jon Scott, of All Memphis Music. The stairwell, in the north east corner of the building let us out on Spring Street. Soon the sidewalk was packed with staff, general public and jurors. The Spector's and their bodyguard started to walk south on Spring street, probably to get to the parking lot and their car. A short time later, a sheriff on a bullhorn instructed everyone still on the sidewalk had to cross to the other side of the street and people started jaywalking in mass to the east side of Spring.

About an hour later, the sheriff's started to let employees and jurors back in the building. Jurors were told that they were to report back to their respective assignments at 1:30 pm. Consequently, I took an early lunch with Linda, who had taken the Metrolink train up from San Diego.

When testimony resumed in the afternoon, Officer Russ was back under cross by Weinberg. The officer's recollection of events surrounding the 911 call to Pasadena Police on July 3rd, 1993 contradicted Dorothy Melvin's testimony. The incident report Officer Russ wrote that was generated by the 911 call makes no mention that Melvin was physically assaulted by Spector with a handgun, or that she sustained any injuries.

The documented report of the 911 call Stephanie Jennings made from the Carlyle Hotel was presented into evidence by the records custodian, Vickie Daniels-Matthews. The next witness to take the stand was Devra Robataille, the second of five women who will testify to Spector holding them at gunpoint. Devra got to the point in her testimony today where she described the first incident of Spector holding a gun to her head. When asked how that felt, Ms. Robitaille replied, "Cold."

Court will be dark on Monday and Tuesday next week, November 10th and 11th. Testimony will resume on Wednesday, November 12th.

More to come, when I transcribe my detailed notes.


Janice said...

Thank you so much for your incredible coverage. I still can't believe that we can't watch this trial in person.

Do you know how Dominick is doing?


Sprocket said...

Thank you janice.

The last news I had on Dominick was on opening statements day that he was in the hospital. I've sent emails and checked several sources, but there have been no other updates.

Anonymous said...

Yes Sprocket! Thank you SO much for your excellent (!!) reporting! Love readng you!
At least maybe all 5 'women' witnesses will be done by end of next week... crossing my fingers! Then I guess the police that night, DiSalvo, forensics... boy at lot to come!

Yes, please update us on how Mr. Dunne is doing!

Thanks again, Sprocket!

Sprocket said...

If the same witness order is followed in the first trial, it will be three more women held at gunpoint. Then, the fateful night will be testified to in detail.

We'll have Rommie Davis up first, a few of the waiters who served Spector at the various restaurants, then Kathy Sullivan. After Kathy will be the House of Blues head of security, Euphrates Lalondriz, then the gorgeous HOB waitress Sophia Holguin. After Sophia, the limo driver, Adriano DeSouza, which is the meat of the prosecution's case.

I'll be surprised if we get to DeSouza the first week in December.

After DeSouza you have various police officers and the 911 call by DeSouza. After that I believe will come the forensic evidence.

Anonymous said...

What are your impressions of the jufy this early on? Are there any obsessive note takers or do you have any sort of description of who they are? I wonder how they will be doing after another week of objections over inconsistencis between the first and second trial.

Sprocket said...

All I can say at this point is, they don't yet appear to be a cohesive group, but it's still very early in the game. They haven't been together for a month yet.

Although there are more men in the 1-12 group, there are five women alternates with a lot of ethnic backgrounds, either Asian or Hispanic.

I've seen just about everyone take some notes, although Jon Scott says he doesn't see #5, a man, take very many notes. There is a group of men in the back row that do rock in their seats a bit, and occasionally appear to have their eyes closed.

It is hard to transcribe the trial and watch the jurors and the witness at the same time. I'm only one pair of eyes, and there are very few people in the courtroom to poll, to get their impressions. Remember, the courtroom is a virtual ghost town.

There are occasionally people who come in and sit for a bit, but those are usually court staff or very young "externs." And extern is an 'intern' for a judge. We had several externs in the courtroom yesterday, who were externing for a Federal Judge in another courthouse. I think they were told to come watch some of the trial.