This Time, Spector Guilty in Clarkson Murder

The first jury, in 2007, deadlocked 10-2, favoring conviction.

Last Updated: April 17, 2009 @ 11:58 AM

Phil Spector was found guilty of second-degree murder on Monday in the death of actress Lana Clarkson in the legendary record producer’s home in 2003.

A jury in Los Angeles Superior Court returned with the verdict after 30 hours of deliberations. The trial, which began Oct. 29, was Spector’s second in the death of Clarkson — the first jury deadlocked 10-2, favoring conviction, in September 2007.

Spector, 69, also was found guilty of using a firearm in the commission of a crime. The two charges could lead to a combined sentence of 25 years to life in prison. Judge Larry Paul Fidler remanded him to jail immediately, with sentencing scheduled for May 29.

Spector did not visibly react to the verdict, tapping one finger as the document was read, but his wife Rachelle Marie Spector.

During a press conference after the verdict, Spector’s attorney Doron Weinberg announced that the famed music producer planned to appeal the ruling. “We don’t believe justice was done,” Weinberg said. “His guilt is not proven, not by a reasonable doubt.”

Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson said the jury had reached the correct verdict and thanked Clarkson’s family for its support. Clarkson’s family has a pending civil suit against Spector.

"We are pleased that the jury rejected the trashing and distortion of Lana Clarkson’s life," a representative of Clarkson’s family said. "Actions have consequences. Mr. Spector has to face the consequences of his actions."

The jury forewoman broke into tears as she addressed the press. “You are talking about another human being. We all have hearts. We all have people we love,” she said of the painful process of delivering a murder verdict.

Three of the jurors owned guns, seven said they had known someone who had committed suicide, and one man said he was a fan of Spector’s music.

Weinberg argued during the trial that Clarkson, an actress and hostess at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip, shot herself while Spector watched helplessly in his Alhambra mansion on Feb. 3, 2003. He maintained the actress was despondent over her dead-end career and financial difficutlies.

Deputy District Attorneys Alan Jackson and Truc Do called Spector a “demonic man” who shot Clarkson in the mouth after she rejected his sexual advances.

The jury heard testimony from five women who said Spector had drawn a firearm on them when they tried to leave his company.

 

Spector did not take the stand during the trial.

The details of Clarkson’s death have remained cloudy throughout both trials. The actress, known for the 1985 B-movie “Barbarian Queen" and small parts in “Scarface” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” among others, met Spector at the House of Blues and was found dead of a gunshot wound in the foyer of his home that night.

Limousine driver Adriano DeSouza testified during the first trial that Spector came out of the house, gun in hand, and said, “I think I killed somebody.”

The defense argued that DeSouza, a Brazilian immigrant, misunderstood Spector. The driver wasn’t proficient in English, and noise from a nearby fountain may have obscured the music producer’s words, lawyers claimed.

Spector was best known for his trademark “Wall of Sound” in the ’60s and ’70s that defined the Ronettes, Ike and Tina Turner and the Righteous Brothers, among others. He later worked with John Lennon, Leonard Cohen and the Ramones, and was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

Stories of Spector and his obsession with guns are well-known in the music industry. According to the 2004 biography “Wall of Pain,” Spector kept a gun in his recording studio, fired a shot at Lennon and pressed a pistol barrel to  Cohen’s neck.