LOS ANGELES – Phil Spector's chauffeur testified Wednesday that after seeing the producer with a gun in his hand and the body of actress Lana Clarkson inside Spector's home he became afraid of getting shot and fled.
Adriano De Souza returned to the stand in Spector's murder trial a day after telling the jury how he heard a "pow" as he waited outside Spector's castle-like home in suburban Alhambra at 5 a.m. on Feb. 3, 2003, and that Spector emerged with a gun in hand and said, "I think I killed somebody."
Prosecutor Alan Jackson showed the jury photographs of Clarkson's body slumped in a chair in the foyer and close-up of her face with blood around her mouth. The defense claims she shot herself.
De Souza said he looked past Spector and saw Clarkson's body slumped in a chair with her legs near the floor and asked Spector what happened, to which Spector responded with a shrug.
"I didn't know what to do," De Souza testified.
"I tried to run," he added, indicating he didn't remember the car was there.
The prosecutor asked De Souza if he panicked.
"A little bit," De Souza said. "I tried to escape from that place. ... I was afraid he could shoot me."
He indicated he remembered the car after running about 10 feet, got into it and drove down the driveway and out the gate where he stopped. He said he used a cell phone to call the number of Spector's secretary, where he left a message, and then called 911 and talked to emergency operators.
"I think my boss killed somebody," he told one operator in a tape of the call played in court.
Asked why he thought that, he responded, "Because he has a lady on the floor and he has a gun in his hand."
De Souza explained that he called the secretary first because although he knew where Spector lived he didn't know the actual address. He said he stopped outside the estate because the address was on a sign there.
De Souza, an immigrant from Brazil whose native language is Portuguese, speaks in accented English and the defense has questioned how well he understood Spector. Initial cross-examination by the defense focused on his English education and immigration status.
Anticipating that attack, the prosecutor questioned De Souza extensively on that issue. The witness testified that Spector did not mumble and spoke clearly.
"Did you clearly understand Mr. Spector when he stepped out of the doorway with a gun in his hand?" Jackson asked.
"Yes," De Souza said.
On Tuesday, De Souza described driving Spector on a night on the town from Beverly Hills to the Sunset Strip. Other witnesses have told of Spector ordering a series of drinks through that night and meeting Clarkson, who was working as a hostess at a VIP room at the House of Blues.
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."'
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," De Souza said.
"What did Mr. Spector say?" the prosecutor asked.
"Don't talk to the driver. ... He screamed it," De Souza said.
He said Clarkson had them drive to a parking structure where she had left her car. De Souza 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.
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."