"This is a homicide."
The coroner who examined the body of Lana Clarkson repeated that sentence more than once while testifying today in the Phil Spector murder trial.
Dr. Louis Pena said he based his decision on several factors, including physical evidence and circumstantial conditions that ruled out suicide.
The circumstantial evidence includes Spector's statement to his chauffeur, "I think I killed somebody."
Pena said the scene was not typical of a suicide. "I've never seen a case reported" in which someone goes to a stranger's home "and magically comes up with a gun and shoots herself."
He said there was no evidence to indicate that there had been a search for the gun. "How would she have known where the gun is?" Pena said.
He said the lack of blood in the recesses of the gun indicated the weapon had been wiped. He also said the left front pocket of Spector's trousers was stained, indicating that bloody hands or a bloody weapon may have been put into the pocket. He said all of the blood matched Lana Clarkson's.
Pena said he ruled out suicide because there is no indication that Lana was depressed or suffered from a psychiatric disorder.
Clarkson had been taking two drugs, often given for psychiatric problems, but Pena said medical records showed that the medication was authorized by a neurologist who was treating her for headaches.
Pena said the records showed Lana was a hopeful person, with no history of past suicide attempts.
He also testified that Lana's tongue was bruised, indicating that a gun was forced into her mouth. That testimony undercut the defense claim that Clarkson put the gun in her own mouth.
The defense cites a relative lack of blood spatter and the location of the broken teeth to support their claim that Lana killed herself accidentally.
Pena described how the gun was in Clarkson's mouth and the recoil shattered her top front teeth, blowing them out of her mouth. Because death was instantaeous as the bullet went through her head and severed her spine, Lana was unable to exhale or cough, so blood could not be forced out.
Source: LA TIMES