***Copied from Ahwatukee Foothills News***
"Victim's Daughter Names Harrod"
by Guinda Reeves
November 5, 1997
Deborah Nolan-Luster, the daughter of slain Phoenix socialite Jeanne Tovrea, has identified Ahwatukee Foothills resident James Harrod, 43, as the man she had met as "Gordon Phillips" in 1987-nearly nine months before her mother's death on April 1, 1988.
Asked by Maricopa County's chief prosecutor, Paul Ahler, if she recognized "Gordon Phillips" in the courtroom, Nolan-Luster said, "Yes, I do," and pointed out the defendant, Harrod.
"He's heavier and wearing glasses," she said. And in July 1987, she added, his hair "was parted more on the side."
According to earlier testimony, Jeanne Tovrea had been contacted by a man calling himself "Gordon Phillips" and claiming to be a writer for Time-Life magazine. Phillips reportedly wanted to interview her about her late husband, Edward A. Tovrea Sr., and his experiences as a World War II prisoner of war. Phillips reportedly wasn't discouraged by Jeanne Tovrea telling him her late husband's war experiences occurred years before she had met and married him.
Jeanne Tovrea reportedly agreed to meet Phillips in Newport Beach, California in early July 1987, at the Balboa Bay Club, where she was staying briefly in the apartment of a friend, Tom Fleming.. Jeanne Tovrea had been accompanied by her daughter, Nolan-Luster, and her daughter's future husband, Mike Luster.
Nolan-Luster said while she and Luster stayed on a bedroom at the apartment, her mother at first met alone with Phillips. Then, leaving Luster in the bedroom, Nolan-Luster said she joined her mother and was introduced to Phillips, with whom she talked and whom she directed to some books about Ed Tovrea Sr.'s experiences.
But Phillips "didn't even look at" the books she brought, said Nolan-Luster, and he didn't discuss Ed Tovrea Sr.'s war experiences while she was present. That resulted in her becoming suspicious of him, she testified, and she urged her mother to call a Balboa Bay Club security guard.
During cross-examination by the defense co-counsel Michael Bernays, Nolan-Luster said that despite her "growing concern" about Phillips, she hadn't called Luster out of the bedroom.
Asked by Bernays if Phillips had done anything aggressive or made any threats, Nolan-Luster replied, "No."
"That's true," said Nolan-Luster, when asked about a 1990 statement to law enforcement officials that she "didn't know" if she'd recognize Phillips, whom she said she'd met only the one time.
Bernays also questioned Nolan-Luster about a physical line-up in late 1996, in which she had picked out Harrod, who was No. 5. The defense attorney discussed an earlier composite drawn from her description of Phillips that he said didn't look like Harrod, and two photo line-ups in which she failed to choose Harrod's photo.
And of all the physical line-up subjects, Harrod's was the only photo that Nolan-Luster had seen before, Bernays contended.
After Bernays ran the videotape of the physical line-up, Nolan-Luster agreed that Harrod was "considerably heavier" then the other subjects, and the only one just below the six foot line. She also said she saw the height lines when she came into the viewing room, but didn't really "pay attention" to them.
Of the five other physical line-up subjects, Bernays revealed, two would have only been in their teens in 1987, one had much darker hair and was much shorter, one was much taller although matching other description elements, and another also had much darker hair.
And although No. 5 was mentioned five times during the physical line-up, Nolan-Luster denied Detective Ed Reynolds had prompted her. "He was trying to get me to articulate (better)," she replied to Bernays.
Nolan-Luster also said during cross-examination that she didn't tell Reynolds she was "certain" that No. 5 was Phillips. "I was pretty nervous," she added.
What Nolan-Luster said instead, according to the videotape, was that she "very much felt that No. 5 resembled" Phillips.
Bernays also played a videotape of Nolan-Luster during a session with former Phoenix Police Officer Charlie Hodges, now a Maricopa County Attorney's investigator. She had told Hodges that Phillips "had an off-brand eye color, green or brown," and that she didn't know if she'd recognize Phillips if she were to ever see him again. Harrod's eyes are blue.
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