LOS ANGELES – Phil Spector stepped out of his mansion with a gun in his hand at 5 a.m. four years ago and said, "I think I killed somebody," a chauffeur testified in the record producer's trial on charges of murdering actress Lana Clarkson.
"What happened, sir?" Adriano Desouza said he asked Spector
The producer responded with a shrug, he said in testimony Tuesday.
Desouza said he looked past Spector into the foyer of his castle-like home in suburban Alhambra.
"I saw the legs of the lady," he said. "I stepped inside and I saw the blood on her face."
At one point Desouza stood up in the witness box and at the request of prosecutor Alan Jackson demonstrated how Spector held the pistol in his right hand against his body, the barrel pointing to his left.
"I saw a little bit of blood on this finger," the witness said, extending his right index finger.
The chauffeur said he had delivered Spector and Clarkson to the home about two hours earlier. He said he first heard a "pow," got out of Spector's car to see what the noise was and then got back into the car. A short time later Spector emerged, Desouza testified.
Desouza, who had told the story to police and grand jurors, gave his account for the first time in public. The prosecutor illustrated his account of Spector's night out and return home, using photos and security videos.
Clarkson died from a shot fired from a gun inside her mouth. The defense claims she killed herself. Four women have testified Spector threatened them with guns when they tried to leave his presence.
Desouza spoke in accented English and was asked several times whether he had been able to fully understand Spector. The Brazilian-born driver said he had no problem understanding him.
Earlier witnesses told how Spector ordered a series of drinks during a night out on the town that began on the evening of Feb. 2, 2003, and ended in the early hours of Feb. 3 after meeting Clarkson for the first time at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip where she was a hostess guarding the entrance to a VIP room.
Members of the jury took copious notes as Desouza described how Spector had gone out with several women that night and made stops at four restaurants and bars.
At the House of Blues, he said, Spector had him drive the last woman home and then return for him.
When he returned, he said, Spector emerged from the club with Clarkson and "he invited her to go to the castle. ... At first it was no. She said, 'I have to work in the morning,"' Desouza testified.
Under further questioning, he added, "He kept saying, 'Let's go to the castle.' She said she could like lose the job if she got a ride from a customer."
"Did Mr. Spector continue to insist she join him?" asked the prosecutor.
"Yes," the driver said.
He described the scene when Clarkson agreed to go with Spector.
"I opened the door for her and she said she was going just for a drink," Desouza said.
"What did Mr. Spector say?" the prosecutor asked.
"Don't talk to the driver. ... He screamed it," Desouza said.
He said Clarkson had them drive to a parking structure where she had left her car. Desouza said Spector relieved himself behind a wall and they then moved her car out to a street and parked it before continuing to Spector's home.
By the time he delivered Spector to his home with Clarkson, Desouza said, he noticed that the producer smelled of alcohol.
"Did he appear to be drunk?" asked Jackson.
"Yes," said Desouza, who said Spector was walking differently than earlier in the night.
"Was he as drunk this time as you've seen him in the past?" asked the prosecutor.
"Yes," the witness said.
Earlier, the cocktail waitress who served him at the House of Blues said he was agitated and angry, though he left a $450 tip for the staff for a $13.50 bill.
Sophia Holguin said she declined Spector's invitations to have a drink with him and to go home with him.
During cross-examination defense attorney Roger Rosen asked if Spector yelled or screamed.
Holguin said Spector was loud.
"But he wasn't angry?" Rosen asked.
"Not angry with me, he just seemed angry in general," she said.
Spector rose to fame in the 1960s and '70s, changing rock music with what became known as the "Wall of Sound" recording technique. Clarkson was best known for a role in the 1985 film "Barbarian Queen."