Spector Jury Has Reached a Verdict/ Guilty of second-degree murder


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Phil Spector has been convicted of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of actress Lana Clarkson six years ago.

An L.A. Superior Court jury reached its decision against the legendary music producer after nine days of deliberations. An earlier jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of guilt.

The decision means the 69-year-old Spector, famed for his work with musical acts such as Tina Turner, the Beatles and the Righteous Brothers, faces at least 18 years in prison when he is sentenced. The jury determined that Spector killed Lana Clarkson, a statuesque blond actress, on Feb. 3, 2003, just hours after they met in the Sunset Strip club where she worked as a hostess.

Spector had no obvious reaction. His attorney argued that he should remain free on bail pending the May 29 sentencing but Judge Larry Paul Fidler accepted the prosecution's argument that he be remanded to jail immediately. Spector was led out of the courtroom by sheriff's deputies.

The decision, which comes after nearly 32 hours of deliberations over nine days, will be read at 1:30 p.m., according to the L.A. Superior Courts public information office. Spector faces at least 18 years in prison if convicted of second-degree murder in the death of Lana Clarkson, an actress shot in the legendary music producers Alhambra mansion six years ago. A lesser charge, involuntary manslaughter, carries two to four years in prison.

Over the course of the trial, which began in October, the prosecution portrayed Spector, 69, as a sadistic misogynist who had a three-decade history of playing Russian roulette with the lives of women when he was drunk. A prosecutor told jurors in her summation that by the grace of God, five other women got the empty chamber and lived to tell. Lana just happened to be the sixth woman who got the bullet.

But Spectors defense team contended that Clarkson died by her own hand. They said she was depressed over her flagging career and the accompanying financial worries, and may have committed suicide impulsively after hours of late-night drinking with Spector. In that moment, given all of the things that were wrong in her life . . . can you say she would not have been capable of committing as self-destructive act? defense attorney Doron Weinberg asked jurors in his closing arguments.

The panel of six men and six women includes three gun owners, seven people who reported knowing someone who committed suicide and one man who said he was a fan of Spector. A 2007 trial ended when the jury deadlocked 10 to 2 in favor of conviction.

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