The Darwin Exception

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CA vs. Spector Day 2 (cont.) – Dorothy Melvin

Posted by thedarwinexception on April 27, 2007

As I thought, Friday is a dark day for the courts in California, they do not have proceedings, so today there was no testimony. However, the East Coast audience did get to see the first witness in the State’s case, who testified yesterday afternoon before court recessed for the weekend.

As we know, pattern evidence is going to be a large part of the state’s case, they intend to show that Phil Spector has a “history of violence” with women, and the judge has ruled that there are five incidents in Phil Spector’s past that are substantially the same as the case at hand, and he has allowed these five women to testify in the state’s case in chief. The state has decided that 4 of them will be put on the stand to describe their encounters with Mr. Spector. No explanation was forthcoming from the state as to why the fifth witness who was approved by the judge is not on the state’s witness list and wasn’t mentioned in the opening statements.

But the state wasted no time in getting the first of these witnesses on the stand, and the very first witness called was Dorothy Melvin, who was an on again/off again girlfriend of Spector’s for over 4 years.

Dorothy Melvin took the witness stand with a book clutched in her hand – “Life Is a Test: How To Meet Life’s Challenges Successfully.” (It’s a self-help book by a rabbi and Holocaust survivor, Esther Jungreis.) She was a very effective witness – composed, well spoken, matter of fact, unemotional and littered her comments with compliments to Spector, describing him as charming, thoughtful, funny and “fun to be around”.

In the summer of 1993, she was still seeing Spector occasionally, although she was, at that time, living on both coasts as the personal assistant to comedienne Joan Rivers. That year, during the weekend of Fourth of July, she was in California to see her family and friends and she had planned on spending the weekend at the Pasadena home of Phil Spector with him.

They went out for a lovely dinner, had a good time with some friends, had a few drinks and then returned to Phil’s home. She said that he was drinking vodka straight from the jug, and since she was still on “East Coast time”, she laid down on the couch and fell asleep. She awoke sometime just before dawn and couldn’t find Phil in the house. She went out the front door calling his name and found him in front of her “brand new little green Mercedes” with a gun pointed at the car.

She shouted at Spector “Phil! What the fuck are you doing?” and he looked over his shoulder at her and told her to “Get the fuck back in the house.”  She said she “stood her ground” and yelled back at him. Suddenly, she testified, he backhanded her with the hand holding the pistol. “At that point, I knew I was in trouble,” she said.

She continued that he struck her twice with the pistol, and then followed her back into the house where he continued to shout at her. He repeatedly asked her “Where were you? Where were you?’ and she told him that she had been on the couch, and that he surely couldn’t have missed her since the dress she was wearing was a bright fuchsia color and the couch was white.

They continued to argue, and then he accused her of stealing from him, and he grabbed her purse and began to look though it, keeping the pistol aimed at her. He then ordered her to get undressed and go upstairs. When she refused, he again struck her with the gun. Spector would at times tell her to “get the fuck out”, and then when she would try to leave, he would again tell her that she wasn’t going anywhere. Finally he agreed that she could leave, only he would not give her her handbag. She went out to her car, and locked herself in it. When he came out minutes later, irate again, and asked her why she had not left, she told him she couldn’t since her keys were in her bag. He went in the house, got the keys, threw them at her in the car and she drove down the driveway. She stopped at the front gates, which were closed, and seconds later she heard someone running up
the driveway behind her. She then testified that she heard the sound of a shotgun being cocked, and Phil was at her car window, pointing the shotgun at her, screaming and asking why she still had not left. She explained to him “Phil, the gates are closed”, and he went and opened them and she drove away.

She called the Pasadena police station from her car phone and told them she had just been in an altercation and said that she needed help retrieving her property from the house, that her handbag contained her passport, Joan Rivers’ passport, all of her credit cards and identification, and over $2,000 in cash. They asked if she wanted to press charges and she told them that she wouldn’t, as long as she could get her property returned to her.

She went to the police station, where they noted the welts and cut on her head from the assault, took her statement, and then 2 police officers went to the house to retrieve her belongings. The policemen returned without the bag, saying that Spector had told them she had taken the bag with her when she left. When she overheard the police officers telling a colleague that Phil Spector had John Lennon’s guitar in his house and that he had showed it to them, Miss Melvin became very upset and told them “Look, I want to press charges, I need my bag back, I’m going back there with or without you to get it.”

The police did accompany her back to the house, and when they got there, she heard Phil tell the officers “Hey! I told you guys to come back any time, but I didn’t think you would be back so soon!” The officers explained to him that they had Miss Melvin outside, that she was going to press charges if he didn’t return her purse, and that they would like to come in and look around and see if they could find it. At the mention of Melvin’s name and the information that she was going to press charges, Spector became irate and started cursing at the police, telling them that he was going to sue them, telling them that they were trespassing and that they had committed a B&E by coming onto his property.

Because he was accusing them of crimes, police procedure required that they call their sergeant to come and be on scene. They called and the sergeant arrived shortly. When the sergeant arrived, Spector was again hostile, and continued to accuse the police of trespassing. Finally he became so unruly that the sergeant handcuffed Spector. After Spector was restrained, the two officers looked through the first floor of the house, found Miss Melvin’s purse under a table and returned it to her.

Melvin was asked if she pressed charges against Spector for the assault and she said “no”. When asked why she responded , “I didn’t want it to become a National Enquirer cover.”

On cross Melvin admitted that she did see Spector after the Fourth of July incident, but that she was never again alone with him. She testified that she was too scared to be in his presence without other people. She said the communication continued until she was questioned by homicide investigators working on the Clarkson case.

She admitted she took his daughter out to dinner when she came to New York and received occasional postcards from Spector, which she kept. Defense attorney Roger Rosen displayed a half-dozen postcards, most signed “Love, Phil.”

Melvin also said they sometimes exchanged e-mails, and Rosen seized on a joke she had e-mailed to Spector just two weeks before the murder.

The attorney read the joke, which involved a proctologist and a gynecologist at a cardiologist’s funeral, prompting roars in the jury box. Melvin, however, said she could not recall specifically sending the message.

“And I don’t get it either,” she said of the joke, prompting more laughter.

She also told jurors that she was flattered when Spector, who she met at a jazz club in New York, expressed an interest in her. “I’m a child of the ’50s and ’60s, and I was always a fan of his music,” she said. She said he courted her by leaving her messages on her answering machine that included portions of the song ‘Let the Four Winds Blow’. “The lyrics are a little embarrassing,” Melvin says, before launching into them. “I like the way you walk. I like the way you talk.”

The defense also brought out that she neither sued Spector criminally nor civilly regarding the incident, that she did not seek medical care for her injuries, and that she could not testify whether or not the gun he had pointed at her was loaded.

Monday, Officer Ross of the Pasadena Police department, who responded to the incident involving Melvin, is expected to take the stand.

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