The closest thing the Phil Spector prosecution has to a smoking gun took the stand today.
Adriano De Souza, who worked as Spector's driver the night that Lana Clarkson was killed, reiterated his grand jury testimony from 2004, testifying Tuesday that his former boss came out of his house at about 5 a.m. on Feb. 3, 2003, and said, "I think I killed somebody."
The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office is arguing that Spector, who supposedly has a history of getting drunk and threatening his girlfriends with guns, killed Clarkson with a gunshot wound to the mouth in the hallway of his Alhambra mansion.
With De Souza's input, prosecutors are looking to refute Spector's explanation of the incident, which is that the actress shot herself.
Continuing the chain of testimony from people who saw Spector that night, De Souza described driving Spector and two different female companions to four L.A. nightspots, saying that, as the evening progressed, the Wall of Sound creator became increasingly intoxicated and moody.
Spector and Clarkson left the House of Blues in West Hollywood together at around 2:30 a.m., De Souza said. Spector seemed drunk and smelled of alcohol, and Clarkson at first refused his invitation to go home with him.
"I think she was afraid to go," De Souza said. "She said she could lose her job if she got a ride with a customer."
Eventually she relented. "I opened the door for her and she said she was going just for a drink," he recalled.
"What did Mr. Spector say?" Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson asked.
"Don't talk to the driver…He screamed it," De Souza recalled.
When asked if he had any trouble understanding his boss, De Souza, a Brazilian immigrant who says he had been in the United States for four years before the night of Clarkson's death, said he had no problem. He testified that he had worked for Spector 13 or 14 times in the past, usually at a rate of $30 an hour.
After making the 30-minute drive from West Hollywood to Alhambra, De Souza stayed in the car when Spector and Clarkson walked inside the famed music producer's mansion, he testified. Spector returned a few moments later to grab a briefcase from the black Mercedes-Benz S430, but didn't tell De Souza what was in it.
At about 5 a.m., De Souza said, he was asleep in the Mercedes, which was parked a few feet from the back entrance of Spector's house, when he was awakened by a "pow" noise.
Spector walked out the back door a minute later, the driver said, holding a Colt Cobra .38-caliber revolver in his right hand. The defendant also had a smudge of blood on his right index finger, De Souza said.
"I think I killed somebody," Spector said, according to De Souza.
The driver then asked his boss, "What happened, sir?" To which Spector simply shrugged his shoulders, De Souza testified.
De Souza then told the court how he looked through the back door and saw Clarkson's legs. Taking a closer look, he saw Clarkson, with blood on her face, slumped in a chair in the foyer.
The former Brazilian army lieutenant is expected to take the stand again Wednesday, where he's sure to face heated cross-examination from Spector's team.
In his opening statement a few weeks back, defense attorney Bruce Cutler called Spector's purported confession to De Souza "five words allegedly said to someone taking a siesta." Cutler has also dismissed the various stories from female witnesses who claim Spector once threatened them as "tall tales."
Also tomorrow, forensics expert Henry Lee is expected to testify, without the jury present, with regard to the bit of acrylic fingernail the prosecution is contending Lee picked up at the scene of Clarkson's death. The D.A.'s Office has accused the defense of tampering with evidence by not turning the so-called piece of nail over to prosecutors.
Before De Souza took the stand today, the jury heard from Sophia Holguin, Spector's waitress at the House of Blues on Feb. 3, 2003, who testified that the man seemed "angry in general" and that, after he finished his drink, he asked her to come home with him, as well.
She refused, Holguin said, telling him she had something to do the next morning. She characterized his demeanor that night as agitated. He was also talking fast and slurring his words, she said.
Holguin testified that she asked Clarkson, who was working as a hostess in the House of Blues' Foundation Room, to send Spector over to her section because he was a multimillionaire and a good tipper. It was a good call—Spector left a $450 tip on a $13.50 tab, she said.