Phil Spector Murder Trial Witness Dies

Monday, January 07, 2008

By LINDA DEUTSCH, AP Special Correspondent



A woman who testified against Phil Spector at his murder trial last year has died, but prosecutors vowed Monday that the loss would not substantially affect the music producer's second trial.

Dianne Ogden, 61, who was one of four women who testified that Spector had threatened her with a gun, died at home in Park City, Utah, on Dec. 29, said Argus Hamilton, a friend.

Hamilton, the host of the Comedy Store in Los Angeles, said he was told of Ogden's death during the weekend. Hamilton did not know the cause of death.

Ogden was a longtime music talent coordinator for the Grammy Awards and other music variety programs.

"It was completely unexpected," he said of her death. "I had talked to her and she was looking forward to coordinating the upcoming Grammys."

There was no response to a telephone message left Monday for her husband, Steven Halder, in Park City.

Ogden drew national attention in May when she testified that Spector suddenly turned "demonic," forced her at gunpoint into his bedroom and tried to have sex with her after a party at his home in 1989.

Prosecutors called Ogden to support their case that Spector had a pattern of threatening women with guns that led to the killing of actress Lana Clarkson, who was shot at Spector's Alhambra mansion on Feb. 3, 2003.

His murder trial ended in a jury deadlock in September. A second trial is expected to begin in the fall. Ogden and the other women who testified about Spector's behavior were expected to be witnesses in the next trial.

District attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said Ogden's "death was a tragedy, but it should not affect the upcoming trial."

Prosecutors will probably be able to use video of her testimony recorded by Court TV at the first trial, she said.

Christopher Plourd, one of Spector's lawyers, agreed that the testimony of a deceased witness can be used but said there may be a debate over whether it will be on video or will be read to jurors from transcripts.

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