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Spector murder trial: Chauffeur testifies

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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) -- Jurors at Phil Spector's murder trial heard Wednesday a panicked 911 call placed by the pop music producer's chauffeur after the fatal shooting of an actress.

"I think my boss killed somebody," driver Adriano DeSouza told an emergency operator.

Asked how he had concluded that, DeSouza, a Brazilian native, told the operator, "He have a lady on the, on the floor and he have a gun in his hand."

His statements on the recording echoed his testimony Tuesday that Spector exited his mansion moments after the shooting of Lana Clarkson with a gun in his hand and said, "I think I killed somebody."

In his second day on the witness stand, DeSouza, a veteran of the Brazilian Army, said he was so terrified by the scene at Spector's mansion that he momentarily forgot how to use his cellphone and fled on foot from his diminutive boss. He said he ultimately sped outside the gates of the estate in his boss's Mercedes and placed two calls: the first to Spector's assistant and the second to 911.

DeSouza said he called the assistant, Michelle Blaine, because he needed to find out the street address to report the shooting to police. He left a voice-mail message for Blaine, which was also played for jurors.

"You have to come to Mr. Phillip's house. I think he killed some  please call me, call me back now," he said in the message.

Spector, 67, faces 15 years to life in prison if convicted of murder. Clarkson, 40, was killed by a single shot to her mouth Feb. 3, 2003.

An attorney for Spector cross-examined the driver for more than two hours Wednesday. Lawyer Bradley Brunon questioned DeSouza about his immigration status at the time of the shooting. DeSouza said he had been in the country on a student visa for four years and acknowledged the visa did not allow him to work in the U.S.

"So you didn't respect the law that allows you to come in here?" asked Brunon.

"Uh, no," the witness replied.

The defense has said DeSouza did not understand English well enough to comprehend Spector's words, and Brunon grilled him about his language comprehension. DeSouza testified that he studied English since he was 13 and had taken advanced courses at private schools through college.

He denied that he had difficulty understanding Spector the evening of the shooting.

Attempting to establish that Spector is soft spoken, Brunon asked the witness to describe the defendant's voice.

"I am not good at describe voices," DeSouza began. "If you want me to talk like him  "

He paused and then offered a high-pitched, nasal imitation of Spector.

"Adriano, Adriano," he whined, prompting an eruption of laugher in the courtroom. Two jurors held their stomachs and another threw back his head and roared. Only Spector remained stone-faced.

Also Wednesday, noted criminalist Henry Lee denied allegations leveled by two former defense team members that he collected a piece of evidence at the crime scene that was never turned over to prosecutors.

At a special hearing outside the presence of the jury, an indignant Lee said he had not seen or recovered a piece of a fingernail during a defense search of the shooting scene, as a former defense investigator claimed.

"Definitely not," he said.

He contradicted a former defense attorney on the case, Sara Caplan, who testified that she saw him put a small, flat white object the size of a fingernail in a vial. Lee said he did not collect evidence in vials during the search, which occurred after technicians from the county sheriff's department had combed the scene for 30 hours.

He hinted that what Caplan thought were vials were actually plastic tubes used for blood testing.

"I think she made an honest mistake," he said.

Lee appeared very upset about the accusations, saying at one point, "I think my reputation [is] severely damaged."

In several testy exchanges with Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson, he rejected suggestions that he had been sloppy in his cataloging and storing of evidence. Lee used folded yellow Post-it notes to collect bloody fibers at the scene, a choice Jackson contrasted with the practice of law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles and Connecticut, Lee's home state, to use evidence envelopes.

"There's no difference," Lee said, attempting unsuccessfully to cut off Jackson's line of questioning.

"I don't want people just accusing me," he huffed at the prosecutor.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry Fidler postponed a ruling on the matter to allow the defense to call Caplan back to the stand.

Testimony resumes Monday morning. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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