Spector Defense Tries to Show Lana Clarkson Shot Herself

After losing a bid to dismiss murder charges against Phil Spector, defense attorneys pressed ahead in their attempts to show actress Lana Clarkson shot herself out of despair her career was fading.

Independent film producer Greg H. Sims took that stand Tuesday and said Clarkson tearfully lamented the state of her life and career at a party he hosted just five days before her death.

Sims said he had known Clarkson as a fun-loving person until that night, when she drank too much and became increasingly distraught.

"She was reaching a certain level of sadness, hitting a wall in her personal life," he said.

He said he was concerned enough to suggest therapy.

His remarks corroborated testimony from previous defense witness Punkin Irene Elizabeth Laughlin, who also testified about Clarkson's mood in her final days. Sims, Laughlin and Clarkson were friends.

On cross-examination, prosecutor Pat Dixon tried to portray Clarkson's depression as typical of many actresses.

Before testimony resumed in the trial, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler rejected a defense motion to throw out the murder charge against Spector. He also refused a defense request to reduce the charge to manslaughter.

Fidler said there was sufficient evidence for the case to proceed to the jury for a verdict.

Clarkson, 40, the star of the movie "Barbarian Queen," died around 5 a.m. on Feb. 3, 2003, from a single shot fired into her mouth. She had met Spector just hours earlier while she was working as a hostess at The House of Blues nightclub. He asked her to accompany him to his mansion for a drink.

Prosecutors have relied on testimony from women who claimed Spector threatened them with guns when they tried to leave after dates. The defense says scientific evidence proves Clarkson killed herself.