Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Phil Spector Retrial: Day Twenty-six

January 13th, 2008 (unedited, draft entry)

Prosecution Witnesses:

#31 Dr. Lynne Herold (LA Co. Sheriff's Office senior criminalist, blood spatter analyst and crime scene re constructionist; direct testimony complete)

Accredited Press inside the courtroom: Harriet Ryan of the Los Angeles Times for a short period in the am and in the afternoon session.

Where was Lana, where was the gun and where was Spector when the gun went off?

Dr. Herold was my favorite witness during the first trial. I remember when she testified back then and the defense tried to discredit her in their cross examination. I think it was at the lunch break or one of the breaks, I clearly remember her looking at AJ and with a smile on her face saying, "You knew this was going to happen." It was a tedious day of testimony with many items covered but AJ got it all in. He tied it all up and showed all all the physical evidence at the scene is consistent and tells a story.

Fawn was back in court today along with John Taylor, one of Mrs. Clarkson's attorneys. When she came into court and sat down I heard Mr. Jackson ask her, "How was your vacation?" So it's possible that Fawn may have been on an extended trip. Weinberg leans back in his chair and is nervously playing with his lips again. I notice him doing this quite a bit lately. It's just something new I've observed.

The courtroom is pretty empty at 9:30 am, but there is a new, elderly looking couple sitting at the end of the second row, right where Linda Deutsch used to sit. When Rachelle and Spector enter at around 9:33 am the couple gets up to sit with Rachelle in the first bench row on the right. Like I've seen several times before, Rachelle introduces herself to them. It's obvious they've never met before. I think I spoke too soon. More people enter the courtroom and sit in the back row. Right before court is about to start, AJ leans in and informs Donna and Fawn that they will be starting off with photos of the crime scene and then there will be close ups of Lana's face. All throughout the trial, Lana's family has avoided looking at the gruesome photos of their loved one up on the overhead projection screen.

9:35 am: Harriet Ryan enters and John Taylor turns around and says hello to her.

9:40 am: Bailiff Kyle calls for cell phones and pagers to be turned off. Dr. Herold asks the DA's clerk, Josh to help her in turning off the sound on the phone or maybe it to turn off her phone completely, I'm not sure. A few minutes later we are still waiting to start. John Taylor goes over to speak to Harriet. I get more details on why we are having so many half days next week. One juror wants to go to temple on Chinese New Years, another juror has a long standing orthodontist appointment for one of their children.

9:46 am: We are still waiting to start and I'm not sure what the hold up is. Three minutes later Fidler takes the bench and AJ introduces about twenty more evidence photos. These are all enlarged photos of the crime scene or evidence items he is going to present. Most of them are huge, about 10" x 14" that throughout the day, he will "publish" to the jurors. That simply means they are handed to the jurors to look at directly.

AJ goes over a particular point with Dr. Herold. That you can't take a single drop or a single stain and draw a conclusion from that. "That's correct," Dr. Herold answers. Dr. Herold states that as part of her investigation she reviewed every single photograph that was taken by every agency. She mentions later that some photos she even looked at using a photographer's "loop." She did not review the police reports but she did review the pathology report and the neuro-pathology report and I believe other reports that came out of the coroner's office.

Dr. Herold clarifies that the actual evidence photos are more clear than the projected photos on the screen and clearer than the enlarged photos.

Throughout the rest of the day, Dr. Herold testifies to the blood flow and blood back spatter on Ms. Clarkson's body. Dr. Herold goes over every piece of physical evidence that she examined. Lana Clarkson's jacket, her slip dress, her stockings, her shoes and the purse. Phil Spector's white ladies wool jacket, his black shirt and black pants. The bloody diaper. The non bloody diaper. The gun. The unspent cartridges left in the weapon. The chair Lana was seated in. And with every item, Dr. Herold details the blood that was found (or not found) on every item and makes a determination as to what type of blood it is (flow or spatter) and whether or not the blood has a directionality to it. At the very end of the day, Dr. Herold through her crime scene reconstruction was able to determine where Lana Clarkson was positioned and the orientation of her head; where the gun was situated; and where Phil Spector's white, wool jacket was in relation to the gun discharging.

1. Through the blood flow down the right side of Lana's jacket, onto the back side of the chair and down onto the purse, as well as the directional blood back spatter on Lana's slip dress and various areas of the chair, Dr. Herold was able to determine that Lana Clarkson was sitting in the chair with her head slightly off center, turned to the right.

2. From the natural dentin tooth material found on the rear portion of the gun sight, Dr. Herold concluded that the gun was in Lana's mouth held upright in it's natural position. The gun sight of the Colt Cobra was positioned just behind Lana's two front teeth.

3. From the microscopic blood back spatter found on Spector's white jacket, Dr. Herold concluded that because the size of the spatter and it's pattern on the jacket was "mist like" this meant the jacket was within two to three feet of the "blood letting" (gun firing) event.

Here are some (but not all of the) facts that Dr. Herold testified to today.

The position of Ms. Clarkson's head:
The location of large amounts of blood flow on the right back side of Lana's jacket, and the front of her jacket that also soaked into the fabric covering the back of the chair on the right side as well as the blood flow, led Dr. Herold to conclude that Ms. Clarkson's head was slightly off to the right when the gun was fired was leaning to the right directly after. The absence of blood flow on the right side of the chair as well as evidence photos that were taken before the purge event showing no blood on the left side of Ms. Clarkson's jacket as well as the directionality back spatter pattern on the slip dress and chair support this conclusion.

Ms. Clarkson was seated:
The piece of porcelain tooth material (as well as other items) that was found on the abdomen area of Ms. Clarkson's slip dress helped Dr. Herold conclude that Ms. Clarkson was seated at the time of the gun being fired.

The gun was wiped down:
Every surface of the gun had areas, crevices, where there was blood in depression areas but not blood in the upper surface areas directly beside those depressions. The gun handle on both sides. The front strap. The chamber. The barrel where "Colt Cobra 38 Special" is engraved in the gun. The recessed, three dimensional medallions on each side of the handle. The gun sight. The area of the gun just directly behind the hammer. The phenomenon of some faint, discoloration on the barrel of the gun that Dr. Herold described as "molding" on that does not typically occur with "blue metal" support her conclusion that the gun was wiped down with a wet item, possibly the Curity diaper. On one section of the metal frame of the gun, there appears to be a fabric pattern from a potential "wiping" event. Dr. Herold also stated that if the gun was somehow kicked or disturbed during the "take down" in the foyer, an the gun slid on the carpet, that would not explain the absence of blood on all sides and various other surfaces of the gun.

The smokeless powder:
Three millimeter sized items of smokeless powder were found. One was lodged in Ms. Clarkson's soft palate. One piece was found on the gun and one piece was found on Spector's white wool jacket. Dr. Herold concluded that all three pieces are consistent with coming from a single discharge event.

The backspatter on Ms. Clarkson's hands:
Dr. Herold testified that if Ms. Clarkson was holding the weapon with two hands, one or more thumb on the trigger and her fingers interlaced around the handle of the gun, it would have been physically impossible for the backs patter to have gotten on the backside (dorsal) of Ms. Clarkson's wrists. The same could be said that if Ms. Clarkson some how was able to hold the gun in one hand and point the weapon at herself, the back spatter would not have been able to have landed on the dorsal side of her wrists in that scenario, either.

The bloody Curity diaper:
The diaper contained diluted blood, undiluted blood and clotted blood. The diaper appears to have been "wet" with some water first, and not after the blood got on the diaper. If the blood was on the diaper first and then the diaper was moistened, then all the blood on the diaper would have been diluted. It was not.

The outer edge of the back spatter pattern:
The outer edge of the back spatter pattern did not go beyond the lace edge of Ms. Clarkson's slip dress or the padded front edge of the chair. Ms. Clarkson's slip dress, from the way she was seated in the chair was bunched up in folds, high up on her thighs. There was no blood on Ms. Clarkson's hose or her shoes.

Spector's left pant's pocket:
The blood found on the inside of Spector's left pants pocket led Dr. Herold to conclude that either a bloody hand or a bloody gun was placed in that pocket. There was no blood on the outside of Spector's pants, or any blood that flowed through from the outside to inside the pocket. That led Dr. Herold to her conclusion to how the blood ended up on the pocket.

Spector's white wool ladies jacket:
Because of the capillary action of blood into the woven wool fibers, she was unable to determine any directionality of the microscopic blood back spatter on the white jacket. There are transfer blood contact stains around the area of the buttons on each side of the front area. The stains are the same size range and look like the size of digits. Because of the size and location, it looks like bloody finger stains. There is a leading edge blood droplet on the folded edge of the left jacket sleeve cuff. The location of the droplet would be on the underside of the wrist area. This stain was an impact spatter stain that occurred not only on the surface but also deeply into the fibers. Because of it's location, the cuff had to be pointing towards the blood letting event, or basically, towards Lana Clarkson's mouth. The entire blood back spatter pattern led Dr. Herold to conclude the pattern on the jacket was from a "high energy event." She excluded coughing as possible source of the back spatter.

Taking all this evidence into consideration: the dress, Lana's jacket, the pantyhose, Spector's pants, his shirt, Spector's Jacket, the chair, the carpeting, as well as the purse, Dr. Herold concluded that Mr. Spector was on Lana Clarkson's right hand side, so as the right hand panel of Spector's jacket was exposed within two to three feet of Lana Clarkson's mouth.

AJ then does a demonstration with the witness placing himself within 3 feet of Dr. Herold. He places his hands as if one hand has a weapon, and the other hand is holding Ms. Clarkson's arm. He places Dr. Herold's hands up in a defensive posture on Spector's hands. He then asks her if this demonstration is consistent with the pattern on the slip dress? Yes. Is this consistent with the pattern on the jacket? Yes. Is this consistent with the pattern of back spatter found on the gun (bullets in the chamber)? Yes. Based on the pattern(s) that she (Dr. Herold) saw, that at least one arm (Spector's) was lifted towards Lana Clarkson's mouth, and her hands wer raised and holding his hands.

Court ends for the day with this powerful demonstration.

For those of you who have emailed me and asked for an update on Scout Kitty, I will have some pictures of him and how he's adjusting to inside life up on the blog in a few days. At around 9:30 pm this evening, I did another radio interview with Marc Germain of Talk Radio One.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the detail - always appreciated

Anonymous said...

Great job, as always !

Anonymous said...

I am coming in late finding your blog but I watched the entirety of the first trial. I commend you for providing this detail to the rest of us who can't be there!


katfish said...

Dr. Herold was my favorite witness from the first trial as well....I will always think of her when I hear the phrase, "it is what it is". Thank you for the great detail Sprocket,it just reconfirms everything in my mind.

CaliGirl9 said...

Just ... wow.

How will Weinberg top that? Dr. Herold is a cool customer, I don't think he's going to get anything beneficial to the defense out of her.

Go AJ!!!

Anonymous said...

Didn't Spector have around 40 minutes to try and clean up and arrange the crime scene?

Avenging Angel said...

Hi, thanks for the information....no papers that I read hardcopy or online have anything on the trial. Only you!
You have stated there is little press present and a few PS stragglers..and the Clarksons. Does this mean the gallery is empty save these few?

Sprocket said...

Anon @1:04 pm

Yes. There was about 40 minutes before he was "taken down" in the foyer area of his home.

There are people who come and go, other attorneys, and other court personnel and a few public people. There are plenty of seats left inside the courtroom.

shari said...

Sprocket, that was fascinating. Dr. Herold was my favorite witness also. I got so sick of the previous defense team picking every little word apart during her testimony that I was ready to scream. They got so bogged down in trying to parse every word so the jury would just tune out. I hope this jury is wide awake and as fascinated as we were with Dr. Herold

Anonymous said...

SPROCKET, your interview was great, looking forward to the one with Spector's son....

Anonymous said...

Keep following the blood, you are on the trail.