Published August 14, 2007
LOS ANGELES – The night before she died at Phil Spector's mansion, actress Lana Clarkson went shopping with her mother and bought seven new pairs of shoes, according to testimony prosecutors used to counter defense claims that Clarkson was depressed about her future and suicidal.
Clarkson's mother, Donna, was called to the witness stand Monday by defense lawyers to identify letters found in her daughter's home. But she surprised the courtroom when she revealed the shopping trip when cross-examined by prosecutors -- and turned the tables on the defense.
On Tuesday, the trial was to resume with testimony from defense expert and famed forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden.
Spector, 67, a legendary music producer whose "Wall of Sound" technique revolutionized rock music, is charged with murdering Lana Clarkson, who was working as a hostess at the House of Blues nightclub the night they met. He had invited her home with him for a drink.
The defense claims the woman who found modest fame as the star of a cult movie, "Barbarian Queen," in the 1980s, shot herself.
The defense contends Clarkson, despondent over a failed acting career and forced to take what she considered a demeaning job, shot herself in Spector's home.
On the witness stand, Donna Clarkson said the last time she saw her daughter was on a shopping trip to buy shoes for the new job.
"She needed flat shoes to stand on her feet," she recalled. "She only had heels."
The mother said Clarkson intended to buy one pair but by the time they left she had bought seven. The mother said she paid for them.
Prosecutors presented a receipt timed off at 5:13 p.m. and the mother said her daughter rushed out because "she had to be at work at six o'clock."
"And that was the last time you saw her?" asked Jackson.
"Yes," said the mother, with a catch in her voice.
She also identified a series of glamour photographs of the actress that were taken about a month before her death. Actors commonly use such publicity pictures to promote their careers.
Defense lawyers presented the letters found in Clarkson's home, which appeared to be forged by the actress in a desperate bid to get a friend to loan her money, to bolster their position.
They also called as a witness Marc Hirschfeld, a former casting agent at NBC who said he did not write a letter with his forged signature praising a promotional video Clarkson had sent him. He said the signature was not his and it contained language he would never use such as: "You've done it, kid."
Hirschfeld said he indeed encouraged her and promised to keep her in mind for future roles, though he was not as effusive as the forged letter suggested.