Weekly News via Email
   Set as homepage | Add to favorites | Customer Service | Subscribe Now | Place an Ad | Contact Us | Sitemap Saturday, 08.23.2014
Classifieds
News Archive
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
 1  2  3  4  5
 6  7  8  9  10  11  12
 13  14  15  16  17  18  19
 20  21  22  23  24  25  26
 27  28  29  30  31
Online Extras
Site Services
Around Bend
Outdoor Fun
Travel Info
Shop Local




Members Of



Poll: Today's Live Poll
Email to a friend | Print this | PDF version | Comments (0 posted) 
  Blogger |   del.icio.us |   digg |   newsvine

May 25,2007
Judge slaps renowned Spector expert over missing
by Matt Krasnowski

LOS ANGELES - Possibly undermining a key witness for Phil Spector, a judge concluded Wednesday that world-famous forensic expert Henry Lee took potential evidence from the scene of actress Lana Clarkson' s death and didn't give it to prosecutors.

But the decision by Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler hardly settled a sideshow controversy over what prosecutors say is a piece of a fake fingernail. The dispute will most likely play out before jurors during testimony in Spector's murder trial next month.

Prosecutors have complained for years that Lee may have removed evidence he found a day after the Feb. 3, 2003 shooting death at Spector's mansion. But Lee and former Spector lawyers have flatly denied it.

The controversy flared again earlier this month. Prosecution suspicions were bolstered this time by former Spector lawyer Sara Caplan, who said that she saw Lee collect a small, white item and place it in a vial while in the mansion's foyer.

Lee testified last week that Caplan was mistaken. But two other former defense team members - a law clerk and an investigator - said they saw a small item being handled in the foyer, supporting Caplan's testimony to a degree.

In his ruling, Fidler sided with Caplan.

"Dr. Lee did recover an item. It is flat, white, with rough edges. I cannot say if it is a fingernail. It has never been presented to the prosecution," Fidler said during a hearing with jurors out of the courtroom.

"If I have to choose between the two, I am going to choose Ms. Caplan is more credible than Dr. Lee," Fidler said. "Dr. Lee has a lot to lose if this turns out to be true."

Despite his decision, Fidler did not find the criminalist in contempt of court and rejected a prosecution request to tell jurors that Lee is not a credible witness.

But Fidler allowed prosecutors to call witnesses before the jury to contradict Lee and the judge said he would later deliver an instruction to jurors about the alleged fingernail piece.

Outside of court, defense lawyers said they still plan to call Lee to testify.

Lee's expected stint on the witness stand is critical to the Spector defense, which contends that Clarkson, 40, shot herself. Lee is expected to testify that blood drops on Spector's clothes show he was not close enough to fire the gun that killed her.

Before Fidler ruled, Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson displayed a photograph prosecutors recently received from Lee, which they said showed a white object on the wooden first step of Spector's stairway. Lee said it was a gouge in the wood.

"This is clearly a white, flat item sitting atop a wood grain area," Jackson said. "Is he lying or is he incompetent? Either way, it's not the truth. That is clearly not a gouge."

Jackson's co-counsel Patrick Dixon said he believed Lee "pocketed" the item, which could have undermined Spector's defense. Dixon said a fingernail piece could have showed that Clarkson's hand was in front of her face when the shot was fired, so "her hands and her fingers were not on the trigger."

A coroner's report states that Clarkson's right thumb is missing a piece of acrylic fingernail.

768 times read

Related news
Judge orders former Spector lawyer to testify by Matt Krasnowski posted on Jun 15,2007

Forensic pathologist in Spector case claims suicide by Dan Laidman and Matt Krasnowsk posted on Jun 29,2007

Jurors hear another Spector gun tale by Matt Krasnowski posted on May 15,2007

Spector driver tried to escape after seeing gun, bloodied body by Matt Krasnowski posted on May 17,2007

Spector judge tentatively OKs questioning of 'diary' by Matt Krasnowski posted on Jun 01,2007

Did you enjoy this article? Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00 (total 11 votes)

Market Information
Breaking News
Most Popular
Most Commented
Featured Columnist
Horoscope Guide
Aquarius Aquarius Libra Libra
Aries Aries Pisces Pisces
Cancer Cancer Sagittarius Sagittarius
Capricorn Capricorn Scorpio Scorpio
Gemini Gemini Taurus Taurus
Leo Leo Virgo Virgo
Local Attractions
Bend Visitors & Convention Bureau
Bend Visitors & Convention Bureau

Mt. Bachelor Resort
Mt. Bachelor Resort

Les Schwab Ampitheater
Les Schwab Ampitheater

Deschutes County Fairgrounds
Deschutes County
Fairgrounds

Tower Theatre
Tower Theatre

The High Desert Museum

Advertisements



Deschutes County

Google  
  Web    BendWeekly.com
© 2006 Bend Weekly News
A .Com Endeavors, Inc. Company.
All Rights Reserved. Terms under
which this service is provided to you.
Please read our Privacy Policy. Contact us.
Bend Weekly News & Event Guide Online
   Save the Net
Advertisement
External sites open in new window,
not endorsed by BendWeekly.com
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Google Add to MSN Add to My AOL
What are RSS headlines?