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Spector murder trial: The two sides of Phil Spector

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Editor's Note: As part of's new Crime section, we are archiving some of the most interesting content from This story was first published in 2007.

(Court TV) -- Inside the diminutive body of Phil Spector reside two men, according to witnesses at his murder trial.

One is a sweet, courtly gentleman whose bygone-era approach to wooing women includes dates arranged by his secretary, long-stemmed roses and pleasant evenings that end with a kiss on the cheek.

The other is a nasty drunk with a filthy mouth and a habit of sticking guns in the faces of women who refuse to spend the night with him.

This portrait of a music industry Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde emerged over the past two weeks as a string of women who dated Spector in the 1980s and 1990s recounted the rise and fall of their relationships with him.

The witnesses described their reactions to his gun threats as equal parts terror and astonishment because, they said, the threat came from a man as well-known to them for his chivalrous kindness as he was for producing stars such as The Beatles and Tina Turner.

One of the four women, Dianne Ogden, spoke of being stunned when "my Phil," a man who pulled out chairs for her and sent her flowers and cards, attempted to rape her at gunpoint. She referred to the shift as "demonic," saying, "He was, like, taken over by something. I don't know what, but it wasn't him."

Another woman, Melissa Grosvenor, recalled Spector as a "very fun" companion who squired her to Knicks games and showered her with gifts, including $1,500 for laser eye surgery, until the evening he pulled a gun on her. She remembered the second when his jovial mood darkened.

"I said, 'I'm tired and I want to go,'" Grosvenor testified. "He turned to look at me and he said, 'What? You want to go?' and right then, his whole demeanor changed."

Dorothy Melvin, another former girlfriend, told jurors that Spector was a "very charming" and sensitive man who always wore a red lapel ribbon to remember his son who had died from cancer. But a 1993 incident in which he allegedly pistol-whipped her convinced her that "he snaps and he turns on a dime and becomes a lunatic."

Like the other women, Melvin said Spector changed when they were alone and he was drunk.

Prosecutors hope the accounts of the women will convince jurors that something similar occurred in Spector's foyer on Feb. 3, 2003, when actress Lana Clarkson was shot to death. The couple had met three hours earlier at a Sunset Strip music club and returned to Spector's mansion for drinks.

Spector, 67, maintains the 40-year-old killed herself, a claim his lawyers say is backed by forensic evidence. He faces 15 years to life in prison if convicted.

Jurors seemed absorbed by the women's stories, an attitude that does not surprise Loyola Law School professor Stan Goldman.

"Jurors take this kind of evidence and run with it. If he's done it before, they think, he's obviously done it now," Goldman said.

He disagreed with Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry Fidler's decision to admit past bad behavior by the defendant, because it has the effect of lowering the burden of proof.

"He's now defending five cases  the four [women] and what he's actually charged with," he said.

Cross-examining the women has proven a challenge for Spector's defense in part because of the many positive things they say about the defendant. All of the women said they were testifying only because they had been subpoenaed by prosecutors, and some seemed torn about offering evidence against Spector.

Melvin smiled warmly at times during her turn on the stand. She sighed and laughed softly as lawyers for Spector showed her greeting cards she continued to receive from him years after the alleged assault.

In one postcard, two baby raccoons nuzzled under the words "I miss hanging out." Another letter was signed, "Love, and come have lunch with me some day, Phillip aka The Prince of Darkness."

"He has a sense of humor," a lawyer suggested.

"He really does," Melvin said with a smile.

"Along with his brilliance?" the lawyer asked.

"No question," she answered.

Ogden appeared particularly ambivalent about testifying. When prosecutors began pressing her on details of the 1989 incident in which she said Spector brandished two guns, she blurted out that she had been subpoenaed. Asked to describe what happened, she hesitated and then replied, "I hate to say it, but he had a rifle in his hand."

Later describing his failed attempt to force her to have intercourse, she cried and hinted that she would have been open to sex if Spector hadn't demanded it at gunpoint.

"If we were going to make love, I really didn't want it to be like that," she sniffled.

Spector's lawyers seemed conflicted about what tack to take with the women. With some, lawyers suggested the events never happened. Melvin, for example, was confronted with a police report that said she told officers Spector displayed a gun and took her purse, but not that he pistol-whipped her.

With others, however, a defense attorney only disputed the details, such as whether the guns were loaded, or whether Spector pointed a gun directly at witness Stephanie Jennings or simply brandished it to keep her confined to a hotel room.

Lead defense attorney Bruce Cutler demonstrated the defense's ambivalence during his cross-examination of Ogden. He thundered about her cooperation with authorities and asked her sarcastically if she had ever done any "professional acting." Moments later, however, he apologized and told the witness, "You're a nice lady."

Steven Levine, a former L.A. deputy district attorney now a criminal defense lawyer in private practice, said the defense "did the best they could."

"There's only so much you can do when people are telling the truth," said Levin, who observed the testimony of three of the women and found them "very credible."

They were basically good, professional women and they liked [Spector]," he said.

In the end, the defense focused on how the women differed from Clarkson, both physically and in their relationship with Spector. All four were petite, with most appearing to be shorter than the 5-foot-4-inch Spector. Clarkson stood 5-foot-11. The defense also contrasted their long-standing dating relationships with Spector with that of Clarkson, who had just met him.

Trying to establish another difference between Clarkson's death and the earlier incidents, a defense attorney asked Grosvenor whether the gun Spector allegedly used to threaten her had ever discharged.

"I wouldn't be sitting here if it was," she said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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