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Spector's life in the hands of a jury

March 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The fate of music producer Phil Spector is once again in the hands of a jury after five months of testimony.The murder case against Spector was turned over to a Los Angeles Superior Court jury Thursday after the prosecution concluded a rebuttal to closing arguments made by the defense.

Spector, 69, is being retried for the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson at his mansion in Alhambra in the early morning hours of February 3, 2003.

If convicted of second-degree murder, Spector faces a minimum of 18 years in prison.

His first trial ended in a mistrial in 2007 after the jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of a conviction. This time, the jury has been given the option of considering a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, which experts believe will increase the chances of a conviction.

The 40-year-old star of the cult film "Barbarian Queen" met Spector at her job as a VIP hostess at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. Just a few hours later, she died after a gunshot was fired inside her mouth in the foyer of Spector's home.

The defense contends that Clarkson was depressed over her failing film career and used Spector's gun to kill herself, but the prosecution painted a picture of Spector as a man with a long history of violence against women.

In a final argument, a prosecutor asked jurors to imagine what they would say if they were allowed to speak one sentence to Clarkson before she got in Spector's chauffeured Mercedes the night of her death.

"You are all thinking the same thing," said Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson. "You'd say, 'Lana, whatever you do, don't go.'"

Spector has been free on $1 million bail since his arrest in 2003.

Spector is known for creating the "Wall of Sound" recording technique.


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