Spector pal says shooting was an accident. Marvin Mitchelson says the producer did not mean to shoot actress Lana Clarkson

By Gary Susman
Updated March 01, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Record producer Phil Spector will defend himself in the shooting death at his home of actress Lana Clarkson by claiming that the killing was accidental, his lawyer friend tells the Associated Press. ”I believe his defense will be that this was a tragic accident,” said Marvin Mitchelson, who is not representing Spector in this case.

Mitchelson said he has not spoken to Spector since his Feb. 3 arrest, but he said, ”I’ve spoken with various individuals connected with the case, and I’m 100 percent certain it’s not a homicide.” Spector, who was freed later that day on $1 million bond, has been in hiding ever since and has not commented on the first-degree murder charge he faces. Spector’s defense attorney, Robert Shapiro (of O.J. Dream Team fame), the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the Los Angeles district attorney’s office have also declined to discuss the details of the case.

Details have, however, have begun to emerge. One friend of Spector’s tells AP that Clarkson’s body was found slumped in a chair and that she had been shot in the face. And the Los Angeles Times reports that Spector, who had been on the wagon in recent years, had three cocktails in the two hours before he and Clarkson left the House of Blues together around 2:30 a.m. on Feb. 3, about three hours before she was found dead in the foyer of Spector’s mansion.