Spector Meets Punkin Pie

The Phil Spector murder trial continues – and continues – but one of the more recent witnesses has a unique industry tie-in, working as a promoter at a club co-owned by the late Ian Copeland.

Club promoter Punkin Irene Elizabeth Laughlin, aka "Punkin Pie," a friend of Clarkson’s, testified July 16th that Clarkson was embarrassed to be working for $9 an hour as a hostess at the House of Blues.

"I can’t take it anymore. I’m sick of this town. I want out," Clarkson told her friend, according to Laughlin.

Laughlin didn’t supply these details to police at the time of Clarkson’s death, prosecutor Alan Jackson said, accusing Laughlin of adding them later to try to get a book deal.

"You’re kidding me, right?" Laughlin snapped back. She said there is no book.

Laughlin hosts "Punkin Pie night" on Tuesdays at Backstage Café. Former agent Ian Copeland, who died last year, opened the cozy Beverly Hills bar more than 10 years ago.

The prosecution asked Laughlin if her testimony was biased because Backstage Café is partly owned by David Kessel, a close friend of Spector, according to the Los Angeles Times. Laughlin said she didn’t know much about the friendship and denied any bias.

A celebrity security guard took the stand July 9th, relaying stories of the record producer threatening to shoot women in the head at parties hosted by Joan Rivers in the early ‘90s.

After previously not allowing the testimony, considering it irrelevant and dated, Superior Court Judge Paul Fidler said it was significant when examining Spector’s feelings toward women.

"In this case you have a woman who is shot in the head," Fidler said. "It is highly particularized."

Spector, 67, famous for his "wall of sound" recording technique and for pioneering the ’60s girl group sound, is accused of fatally shooting actress Lana Clarkson, 40, in the mouth February 3, 2003. The defense claims Clarkson was suicidal and shot herself the night she went home with Spector after meeting him at her new job as a hostess at the House of Blues in West Hollywood.

Vincent Tannazzo, a retired New York City police detective, said that while providing security for two parties given by Rivers, he was forced to throw Spector out after the producer pulled a gun.

At the first party he gave Spector a "light pat down" and noticed a gun in his waistband after Rivers’ manager, Dorothy Melvin, who was dating Spector at the time, alerted the guard that Spector pulled a gun.

When Spector made a move for his waist on the way out, "I didn’t know what he was going to do," Tannazzo said. "I told Phil Spector if he pulls out that gun I’ll blow his [expletive] brains out."

Tannazzo said that after he warned Spector, the producer made a comment about women deserving to be shot in the head.

Melvin previously testified that on a separate occasion Spector held her at gunpoint when she tried to leave his home.

At a second Rivers party a year later, Spector again pulled out a gun and the guard walked him out. On the way, Tannazzo said that when Spector saw a woman leaving, "Phil Spector looked at her and said, ‘That [expletive]. I ought to put a bullet in her head right now.’"

After Spector’s rantings against women were revealed, the trial resumed with the defense’s case.

John Barons, a playwright who hired and fired Clarkson to play Marilyn Monroe in a play shortly before her death, testified July 10th that Clarkson had jokingly told him, "If you turn 40 in this town and haven’t made it, you might as well find a bridge."