Thursday, May 19, 2011

Conversation With Detective Mark Lillenfeld - LA County Sheriff's Department

I advise ML that I know Phil Spector and intend to write a book, that will include information about an ex-partner of mine in LA (music industry); and that I intend to present the facts rather than argue my personal belief that Phillip is innocent. I inform him that I want to present a fair and well balanced overview and not the limited view permitted by the trial court.

Mark Lillenfeld:

I'm not the primary guy. There were 10 detectives helping the lead detective. The lead detective is Rich Tomlin. He was the top dog. I was in charge of the scene investigation and played a minor role. Rich Tomlin's number is 323-890-5630. He's a good guy.

KL: Why did the Sheriff's Department handle this investigation? [We discuss the fact that this can give the appearance of a conflict of interest …]

ML: Good question. The Sheriff's Department is the chief law enforcement agency in California under the Constitution. We are mandated to provide other smaller municipalities (with less financial resources) with assistance - such as investigations; bomb squads; SWAT. For almost 100 years, the Sheriff has provided homicide investigations for smaller police departments. We have a lot of expertise as well. We provide that service for many other municipalities - Alhambra, Menlo Park, Sierra Madre, etc.

KL: Are guns normally left at the scene of suicides for the investigators - and not left at the scene of homicides? This makes no sense to me. I explain that I've seen references to this repeatedly on the internet; possibly testimony at the trial; etc.

ML: In any type of death investigation - whether criminal (murder) or non-criminal death, the physical evidence would be reviewed; memorialized by photographs; etc.

KL: Was your mind made up, initially, as to whether this was a homicide vs. suicide?

ML: No. Not at all. When we roll up to a death scene - more often than not ... the information we got from the uniform cops at Alhambra ... is like the game of Telephone. Did you play that when you were young? [Gives me an example - Richard Nixon was a communist ... by the end of whisper down the lane it becomes ... Jane Fonda is a ballerina]. No pre-conceived idea that it was a murder.

We discuss the fact that I know Phillip; have a very good understanding of who he is; and was present for one incident presented at trial – the Carlyle - and know it was fabricated.

KL: I ask ML if the Sheriff's Department basically believes that all of PS's experts testified inaccurately, lied, etc.

ML: The rule of court governing expert witnesses - In California, everything is codified ... and then delineate what is or is not admissible. The Spector case became a battle of the experts. Clearly Mr. Spector's experts were cross-examined well and made [to appear] disingenuous. Since that time, it has been proven the case - [mentions Baden and Lee ... I suggest that we disregard these experts since there are myriad problems here from many many perspectives ... ML asks who I have in mind and I say Dr. Spitz] ... Dr. Spitz is a brilliant guy. He is well respected in his field. There is a minor criminal charge against him in the mid-West. He's well respected. [I note that accusing expert witnesses has become a problem and mention that Jules Zalon, a lawyer I know, raised this as a particularly discerning problem these days. I also note that this could happen to ML]. As far as his testimony in the Spector matter - it seemed kind of disingenuous. Our pathologist, Dr. Pena ...

At this point, I note that there is an Internal Memo at the DA's office (generated with respect to Killer King) essentially stating that Pena is willing to lie for his job/boss; possibly alter documents; and his credibility was seriously called into question. ML is "not familiar" with this memo.

ML: On a professional level, Dr. Pena ... he has been very ethical and bright. I have never had a problem with the guy.

KL: Dr. Pena stated, on the stand, that he could not conclude whether this was a suicide or homicide ... I ask ML for his personal opinion.

ML: I would say that this is a criminal homicide. In my own professional opinion, it is a criminal death. (mentions that this is his area of expertise - homicide).

KL: A lot of people believe Phillip was set up.

ML: [He is aware of this and states that] ... I'm from the mid-West. I'm open minded. I believe in the Constitution. [Notes that weird things happen in LA].

KL: Are Alan Jackson and Pat Dixon professional?

ML: [He believes they are professional ..., "I do"] ... They are human. AJ - I like him personally and professionally. If I was murdered I would want him handling the prosecution. I wouldn't want him dating my sister. [Believes he's ethical, bright, articulate.]

KL: Is Pat Dixon professional?

ML: He is a very bright guy. Seasoned. 35 years. He is professional. He has some quirks that not everyone loves. He's good at what he does ... [I believe ML said he was "beholden" to him but not sure I understand that].

ML and I discuss the Goodwin case for a moment. I note that after reading a bit about it, it is too complicated at first glance and will confuse issues I want to address in my book. I note that, somehow, the case seems dangerous - hit men and all. We discuss the fact that I worked in the music industry and understand artists, the amount of drugs, etc., in LA; my friend who died of drugs/alcohol; Eric's niece who shot herself in the head; etc. ML mentions the tv show "Entourage" and we do discuss excess in LA.

That's basically the end of the conversation. Mark Lillenfeld was professional; forthcoming; seemed entirely genuine; and believes Philip is guilty.

I left a message for Detective Tomlin (323-890-5630) and let him know that I would like to go back and review his testimony before speaking.

NOTE: At some point, ML asks if I was a witness in the PS matter. I explain that, while I was told I was probably a witness, I fought this because I have absolutely nothing to add to the mix … Phillip told me what happened (this is what the experts concluded) and there was no point in my taking the stand to say I liked Phillip. That’s my personal opinion and I cannot address personally what happened at Phillip’s house that night – apart from repeating what Phillip personally told me occurred. ML agreed – there was no point in my taking the stand. I advised him that I have spoken with Brian Bennett and Bill Frayeh – who I ultimately found to be entirely professional although for quite a while we were in adversarial positions.