June 11, 2009
Posted: 08:03 AM ET
BOSTON, Massachusetts–When Court TV (now In Session) televised Phil Spector’s first trial in 2007, I reported from outside the downtown Los Angeles County courthouse for five months. The trial ended in a mistrial on September 26, when the jury deadlocked 10 to 2 in favor of conviction. In the retrial that ended two months ago, a new jury convicted Spector of the second-degree murder of actress Lana Clarkson. He is now serving a life sentence in state prison, eligible for parole after 19 years.
Phil Spector photographed after arriving last week at the North Kern State Prison Reception Center in Delano, CA
The recent release by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation of Spector’s photo sans hair piece reminds me of an incident during that first trial.
Week 11 (and day 29) of the trial started on Monday, July 9, 2007. There had been no court the previous week to give everyone a break during the Fourth of July holiday after nearly three months of trial.
Everyone was rested and ready to resume but the buzz started as soon as Spector arrived with his new hairstyle. Until that day, he sported a blond page-boy cut. But on July 9th, he showed up with a darker, longer, shaggy hairdo. It was a striking change, reminiscent of Marcia Clark changing her hair during O.J. Simpson’s murder trial. It was also well-known that, for years, Spector had worn hairpieces and that he was quite sensitive about his baldness.
Throughout that week, anchors at Court TV asked me about Spector’s new look and I would comment that it appeared to be a new hairpiece. By Thursday, July 12, Spector’s wife, Rachelle, was fed up with the commentary. That afternoon, during a court break, she pulled me aside in the hall and scolded me for misreporting that her husband wore a hairpiece. I asked: “If it’s not a hairpiece, then what is it?” She replied: “It’s HIS hair, it’s his HAIR.” I was stupefied. Was I wrong?
I always correct myself if someone points out an error. So, I decided to dig further. I asked the DAs on the case if they knew whether he wore a hairpiece. They told me detectives described a large closet full of styrofoam heads donning hairpieces they discovered during a search of Spector’s mansion. Also, I recalled at least one of his former female friends testifying about the bandana he would wear to bed after removing his hair.
The next day, I did report my conversation with Rachelle but, like most trial observers, I always believed he wore hairpieces. With the newly-released photo of Spector in prison, I know I was right all along.
–Beth Karas, In Session correspondent
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